Oedipus the King

I personally really enjoyed reading the story of Oedipus the king. Although this was a story which was written quite a while ago and a story that was written in a different way compared to what we are used to nowadays, I felt that the story line was very interesting which is what kept me interested in the story and wanting to continue reading it. When we initially read the Oedipus was told he was going to kill his father and marry his mother I felt that it was kind of a crazy idea and that it would not actually happen which is why I was very surprised and I became more interested in the story after reading that Oedipus had actually killed his father and ended up marrying his mother. I also feel like the irony used in how Oedipus didn’t know he had killed his father as he was working towards trying to find the person who did , was something which made the story more interesting from a readers point of view.

When Oedipus finds out that he would kill his father and mother he decides to leave and get away from Polybus and Merope before he is even certain that they are actually his parents. in making this decision it is not that Oedipus had bad intentions, or that he realized he would end up killing his actual father and marrying his mother, it is just that he didn’t think through what he was doing before he did it. This is something which I can personally connect to because I sometimes find myself in a situation where I am asking “why did I do that” or “what was I thinking” and often in these situations I just hadn’t really thought about what I was doing before I had done it.

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The rise of million questions without clear answers


Anyone would think that it is easy to write two paragraphs of a small play. The reality is that it is a hard task. Small plays, with small dialogues are fast to read. Although they have hidden meanings underlines, so the reader has to pay more attention and read carefully. In other words a small text has a lot to reflect on. Ant that makes it harder to write just two paragraphs. And you may think, why? Well, while reading, more and more, questions keep rising. And “Oedipus the King” is the best example for this.

With a lot of irony through its pages, in this play the reader is told the tragic story of Oedipus. Throughout the play the audience are introduced to new characters and to their respective personalities. For example, the main character, Oedipus. He is an impulsive and irrational person who looses his temper fast. Creon, the brother of Jocasta thinks Oedipus is that way. Let me be more specific, he says “Not if you see thing calmly and rationally” (p.193) referring that Oedipus is not that way. Even so, it does not matter much what Creon thinks, what matters is what the reader sees. In the play the descriptions of characters’ personalities are not exactly written down, but there are different situations where the reader gets to know the characters based on how they react to those situations. Going back to Oedipus example, there is evidence that he does indeed have this personality. I’m pretty sure most of the readers think that Oedipus is that way too. And here is where questions start rising. Is he a good person? Why if I am similar to Oedipus? Small questions, but at the same time they are really big. And after the questions, the reflection shows up. It is amazing how an ancient play seems to be speking right at us today. The example of Oedipus was just that, an example. But in the play there is more to think about, million more questions, which will have millions of different answers. But still at the end, many of those questions will never be answered, and by trying to due so more questions will apear.

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Personal Response to The Odyssey

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic poem. It begins with the main hero of the poem Odysseus stuck on an island, about 10 years after the Trojan War. He had become trapped on this island after angering the god Poseidon. The gods had, later on, discussed Odysseus’s fate, for what they should do next with his life.

The Odyssey had been created more or less so for listeners rather than readers. In the past, people would listen to poets or Rhapsodes telling the story. The people who would pay to listen to the poem were individuals who already had an understanding of most of the events and how the poem was arranged. The poem is arranged in a way that would confuse someone who is reading it for the first time. For me at least I continuously found myself reading the poem with no understanding as to what I was actually reading. I think this happened due to how boring the book was because it lacked the idea of suspense. The poem had been put together by more than one poet. Various poets had brought together their stories, greek myths songs, and many other things they had heard in their past into the poem. They made sure The Odyssey had a fixed meter throughout, repetition of passages from the past, and certain details in each book about how the gods, beasts, or location within specific parts of the story looked. Through these things, the poets were able to keep themselves attached to the narrative parts of the poem. Like how the chorus keeps themselves attached to the songs within a poem or book.

The gods throughout The Odyssey have the ability to change anything however they like, they can stop and start wars, they can kill and trap people and so much more. Most of the mortal humans within The Odyssey find themselves trying to please the gods in any way they can so that they will be protected and hopefully suffer no harm for their actions. They pray, even bad people pray for the gods to help them. Or at least give an offering to the gods as the suitors did. “As for ourselves, we’ll make restitution of wine and meat consumed, and add, each one, a tithe of twenty oxen with gifts of bronze and gold to warm your heart. Meanwhile, we cannot blame you for your anger” (p. 411).

A question that on many occasions crossed my mind was: what does Odysseus want? At first, when I read about his travels we read about how he stayed in comfort with the witch Kirke for about a year. He slept with her and this made me question whether or not he wanted to get home. Since it seemed as if O did not love his wife Penelope. Another time this question arose within my mind was when Odysseus went to Hades. There he learned that no matter what, life was better than death. In Hades, he saw people in pain, he felt the fire on his skin and eventually noticed that his mother was there. He talked to her and was surprised that she had died. I believe that once Odysseus had realized his father was still alive he wanted to go and visit him and see his wife before she died as well. This reason to see his father must have been why Book XXIV was written.

I found The Oddysey very difficult to understand. I at times became lost as to what I was reading because I had barely any previous knowledge or liking of ancient Greek mythology in my past. I feel that when it comes to individuals who do not have background information about the different parts of Greek mythology then it would be unwise to try to read The Odyssey by yourself. You would most likely find yourself either lost like I was or confused as to what you are reading. I disliked how the places Odysseus had found himself in for example Kirke’s island or Kalypso’s island were only small parts of the poem. The poem does not share much about Odysseus’s experiences within these new places on his journey home. Places like these Odysseus had found himself in could honestly be written individually as small books or poems. If this was done and The Odyssey was written in separate small books or poems then would it be easier to understand the adventures Odysseus had gone through? The Odyssey does not explain enough of Odysseus’s adventures and this brings up many questions we can not answer.

The lack of suspense within the poem made me not want to read it. We knew what was eventually going to happen, we needed to know this however to understand The Odyssey better. Without having this small amount of information about the order of events it would take you a considerable amount of time to understand what is going on and where specific books in the poem are taking place. Nonetheless, the Odyssey is an interesting book that I recommend for someone to read with assistance. Whether a teacher or someone who understands The Odyssey enough to answer basic questions the reader may have about it.

 

 

 

 

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The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a literary and dramatic work created by Shakespeare in the 16th century, in which various topics such as love and money are discussed. One of my favorite parts is the plot reversal in the final trial. When Shylock was about to take a pound of flesh from Antonio, Portia used a logical trap to reverse the whole situation. That is, Shylock must do so without letting Antonio bleed, because the contract does not stipulate that he has any right to bleed. Until the end, Shylock had to accept two unkind conditions from Antonio. All of these are so incredible to me, and I feel a little ridiculous. After all, a logical trap turns Shylock from a strong side to a weak side. But it is undeniable that this is a very attractive clip.

I learn many things from this play. I will specify some points. First thing is the love and loyalty, we can see this clearly from Antonio. Although Bassanio owed a lot of debts at the beginning, Antonio chose to trust him and support him in his pursuit of love, even thinking about the future of Bassanio when his life was in danger. Including the love between Bassanio and Portia is also worthy of our observation. Does Bassanio really love Portia or does he prioritize Portia’s money? In the end, Bassanio gave out the ring he agreed with Portia is actually a good proof. I also learn something about Mercy. As we can see, the conflict between Sherlock and Christians culminates in the question of mercy. Indeed, Shylock’s firm adherence to the law in court and his lack of mercy make the audience think that he is a villain, but are Christians really merciful? In fact, whether it is the Christians’ teasing and discriminating against Jews in the beginning, or the seemingly merciful conditions from Antonio to Shylock in the end, the Christian theory of Mercy seemed very fake. So what is the real mercy and other issues need us to further explore.

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The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice, written by William Shakespeare is a play that that addresses the issues of discrimination, equality and religion directly and discreetly. That is part of what I found the most interesting. Shakespeare’s work is still relevant years after and relevant to today’s problems and beliefs.

The most interesting thing for me is that right now we can empathize and relate to an antagonist that was previously hated. Reading and performing Shylock’s speech made us look things from his point of view, letting us understand his suffering. Watching the play in general was useful, thanks to that we were able to imagine the scene and characters before even reading it making us more sensitive to the small details within the play.

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Merchant Of Venice- Andrea Ita

Something I noticed after reading the play was how Judaism and Christianity are not seen as just religions, they have a meaning behind it, and they give a big importance to it as if they were racial identities. The play shows us how Christians treated the Jews and how it was just all about money, how they used Shylock so that he would lend them money but, after Antonio did not pay him back, they went to court and everything backfired on Shylock. This raises questions for the readers such as whether we should sympathize with shylock as he is seen as a victim for racism. Something that I like about this play is how they Shakespeare emphasizes on the importance of a good friendship, how Antonio and Bassanio are willing to do everything for one another. However, the author makes us wonder if their relationship mis more than just a friendship as Antonio’s sadness could be related with Bassanio, but we never got the answer to this in the play, so I think it is just based on the way you interpret their dialogues.

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WDolan_Odyssey_Reflection

The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer, taking place in ancient Greece. It focuses on the ten year struggle of Odysseus returning home after the Trojan war. During Odysseus’ battles with mythical creatures and the wrath of the gods, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus fight to hold off suitors, who want to marry Penelope, and behold the throne of Ithaka.

The Odyssey should be given credit for its mass amount of geographical information, and use of an attention grabbing theme. It involves a hero and who is trying to make his way home to his family, and throne. The from uses dactylic hexameter, which is a form of rhythmic tempo within poetry. It includes 6 foot lines where every foot has either a long syllable followed by two short ones (this is called a dactyl), or just two more long syllables (this is called a spondee). The first four feet can either be a dactyl or a spondee, and the fifth is usually a dactyl.

I found the Odyssey interesting for it’s form and use of suspense. Many detailed parts of the book seemed like they could have been left out to keep the reader engaged in the action. It took a long time to reach the end goal, and the ending was ruined by the potential of another war. The interruption of Odysseus’ reunion with his family seemed unnecessary to me. The repeating of the characters traits such as: “grey eyed Athena” was irritating. It’s inclusion of themes such as seduction, paradise, death, and temptation were fascinating as they reflect the problems of modern day humanity. The idea that there may never be a paradise that can satisfy every individual therefore being a form of death within itself was engrossing.

In conclusion, the Odyssey is not a horrible book. However, it is not something I would recommend to readers (especially millennials) as it is very extensive, and doesn’t seem to have enough of a connection with the modern world.

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Shakespeare continues to teach through his plays


“The Merchant of Venice” is a play that, despite the time that passes, does not loses its charm. I really enjoy plays in general, it is one of my favorite genders of literature. About this play, I really liked the story, the drama, and the things I learned from it. I learned, since the history at that time, to the words that are no longer used in modern English. When watching the movie and after reading the play, I realized that creating a movie of such a famous play is not an easy task. A lot of people are going to like it and a lot of people are going to disagree with how the director decides to present and add certain scenes. What I mean by this is that because of how Shakespeare writes the play, he leaves a blank space in which the person reading the play can those spaces based on his own perspective. For example, in the film the director shows Antonio as homosexual, in love with Bassiano. Another example is how in the movie the scene of Shylock when he is about to kill Antonio is different from how it is written in the book.
Talking about Shylock, the task of becoming him was not easy. Shylock has suffered from years, and in his speech he expresses all the emotions he has been accumulating over the years. His speech is full of anger and sadness, and it is not easy to fulfill this strong character the right way. Although I think I did a good job and I liked the task. I had never done something similar. It was a good experience.
I learned a lot and I’m sure that I still have a lot more to learn from Shakespeare.

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Personal Response to The Odyssey

Despite being written approximately 3000 years ago, The Odyssey, by Homer, challenges us to question ourselves and our priorities, while simultaneously questioning Odysseus. At the start of his journey, Odysseus longs for action, glory, and excitement. He’s a young man, seeking adventure一something that many young people can relate to. He defends, he fights, he conquers. He builds his reputation, leaving one title for himself: a hero. However, after travelling to Hades and witnessing real death, he aches for life; the mortality of his loved ones, the reconnection with his family, the evasion of death. Odysseus has that life altering moment. He experiences something so significant that he realizes exactly what he wants一needs to be doing. In reality, most of us aren’t fortunate enough to have that momentous experience or realization. There’s no big BOOM!, or if there is, it often blows over quickly, whether that’s positive or negative. Prior to this significant event (Odysseus’ visit to Hades), Odysseus’ personal characteristics and desires are questionable. He allows himself to be tempted by several obstructions blocking his path home, such as the beautiful goddess, Kirke, or the glory of beating the Kyklops, regardless of the effect it would have on his crew. Moreover, Odysseus’ reluctance to travel home to his parents, wife, and child demonstrates how little he prioritizes family. To contrast, after going to Hades, Odysseus’s likeability increases, because he has a sudden shift in his priorities and values. This raises the question, did Odysseus need this profound, life-altering experience to grow? What does that reveal about us? Is personal growth acquired through multiple life experiences, or through one earth-shattering one?

Preceding this event, would we consider Odysseus heroic? Is he a good person? We recognize Odysseus as a hero, but as I was reading The Odyssey, I repeatedly found myself contemplating that. On a spectrum ranging from good to bad, Odysseus is morally grey at best. Yes, he is courageous, intelligent, and brave, but he is also disloyal, hubristic, and hypocritical. During Odysseus’ hard times, I feel sympathy for him. For instance, the scene when he sees his mother in Hades, without knowing she had died, is heartbreaking, because we see vulnerability and tenderness within him. Nonetheless, the brutal deaths of the maids and suitors had me reconsidering my stance on those qualities, due to how rapidly he can turn his compassion on and off.

Throughout this poem, I began to grasp how consistent human nature is. Although we have evolved tremendously on superficial levels, we’re still fundamentally the same as characters in The Odyssey. People still have that unwavering ambition that we see within Odysseus, the wise intelligence Penelope possesses, and the sheer heartbreak Anticlea is pained with. In modern life, we observe Telemakhos’ coming-of-age story retold in many contexts, and we feel ourselves experiencing it. People encounter the same temptations Odysseus does, underneath different, luring facades. The problematic patriarchal society we’re trying to move past is so difficult to conquer, because it’s been rooted in society since before the 8th century BCE. We may think that we’re different to these characters, and in many ways we are. But ultimately, we can see ourselves in them. The reason why we can read a book like The Odyssey and raise questions such as, ‘Why do we suffer?’ is due to the poem’s emphasis on human nature, and our ability to connect with it. As we have discussed in class, it has a different effect on us depending on our life experience and emotional state. The Odyssey was a challenging read, but due to this reason, I’m certain I will one day read it again.

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The Odyssey: Personal Response

The Odyssey is the single most boring book I’ve ever read. It’s full of hidden meaning that would’ve been enrapturing to the Ancient Greeks, and I’m sure is still enrapturing to those who have extensively studied Ancient Greece. However, to me, someone with very little background in this area, most interesting details go unnoticed. For instance, I had no inkling of the significance of Odysseus having “twelve ships in [his] squadron” (p. 149) and it’s connection to the ancient tradition of killing the king. I also have no idea who the dozens of Greek figures mentioned are, and am bored to death during the many long sequences which consist of nothing more than lists of names and feats, such as Book XI, “A Gathering of Shades:” “Now there came before my eyes Minos… And then I glimpsed Orion… And then I saw Tityos… Then I saw Tantalos… Then Sisyphos…” (p. 204). Make no mistakes, each of those “…”s replaces an extensive biography, not simply a short transition.

With the hidden meaning lost on me, surely I could at least enjoy the surface story, you question. I had hoped so too. However, the story is, in both concept and execution, mind-numbing. I simply cannot sympathize with Odysseus, a pathological liar who leaves his pregnant wife alone for twenty years, and doesn’t seem to even bother thinking about them until a decade has passed. It doesn’t help me become endeared to him either when we get to his murder-rampage in Book XXII, in which he, among other things, orders Melanthios “chopped with swords to cut his nose and ears off,” his genitals “pulled off… to feed the dogs,” and his hands and feet ” hacked… away” (p. 424). Beyond Odysseus’ questionable character, there is the matter of the writing style– that is, the “Let me tell you the entire 60-year history of this vase which appears briefly in one scene only” style. For instance, when Helen is about to drug the wine, the author finds it necessary to take a paragraph detour in order to outline how “it had been supplied her by Polydanma” (pp. 59-60), who was the “mistress of Lord Thon in Egypt” (p. 60), and how in Egypt “rich plantations grow herbs of all kinds” (p. 60), so on, so on, so on. I simply cannot imagine who on Earth cares, besides, again, those studying Ancient Greece in depth.

In conclusion, the combination of (personally) inaccessible hidden meaning, the unlikeable main character, and the monotonous storytelling makes for an extremely dull reading experience. This book would be very enjoyable to anyone with a long history of Ancient Greek studies, but all those who don’t have such: beware, it is a long, tedious trudge. It would not be a far exaggeration to say that forcing students to read the Odyssey is a form of cruel and unusual punishment– and this coming from someone who adores reading.

P. S. Yes, I am being dramatic. I deserve to be after reading nearly 500 pages of that. There are, of course, some redeeming qualities, such as the variety of fascinating questions it raises about men vs. women, fate vs. free will, etc.

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Merchant of Venice

Overall I enjoyed reading and watching the movie of The Merchant of Venice. I found it really interesting how Portia and Nerissa decided to dress up and test their husbands to see if they would just give away the rings from their wives. I was surprised by how both Portia and Nerissa were able to trick their husbands into giving away the rings because I would not have expected them to give the rings away with so little thought about how their wives would feel about the situation.
One of the main things which I noticed while reading this play is that the language at that time was very different. Because the language was so different I found it hard to understand what was being said in different parts of the play as I was reading it. With it being challenging to read parts of the play I think that it was really helpful for me to watch the movie as it gave me a better understanding of the language and what was happening in the play.
I think that the large difference in language from the play to what we use nowadays is what made it difficult for me to both memorize Shylocks speech and to portray him as a character. By doing this speech I feel like I was able to gain a better understanding of Shylock as a character as well as what was happening in the play. I found that doing this speech also helped me to better understand the language used in the play because I needed to fully understand what his speech was about in order for me to be able to memorize it.
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The Odyssey: Notes on Fate and Suffering

Prevalent in The Odyssey are the topics of Fate and Suffering. Questions are raised about what forces control our fates, and what the origins of the events that cause our suffering are. The reader is given insights into the common ideologies of the time, and the motivations of the characters to behave in certain ways. Take as example their belief in morals, and how they affected what their fate, i.e., the gods’ opinion about them, were prevalent in the book: (Fitzgerald, 1961) “Young friends, no mortal man can vie with Zeus. His home and all his treasures are for ever. But as for men, it may well be that few have more than I. How painfully I wandered before I brought it home! Seven years at sea . . . But while I made my fortune on those travels a stranger killed my brother, in cold blood,—tricked blind, caught in the web of his deadly queen. What pleasure can I take, then being lord over these costly things? How gladly I should live one third as rich to have my friends back safe at home!” (p.55-56)

This is how Menelaos, richest of the kings at the time of the story responds to Telemakhos’ comment on his splendor rivaling that of Zeus’. He begins by rejecting that statement, then differentiates how he is merely a mortal, rather than Zeus who would live forever. He then states the obvious: he may be the richest man alive, however he contrasts that with the humble sufferings of his life, and how he is no different from any other person who suffers; his wealth comes from the common place of suffering. Instead of using it to widen the social difference between he and poor peasants, he talks about how it was events of the world which led him to being wealthy, and events of the world to which he is forever in debt for his wealth. Through this quote, it can be interpreted Menelaos believes the world is somewhere of unfair suffering, where we are all victims of a malicious culpable world that executes suffering unjustly. Then to ratify this statement, we can see how Odysseus, for no apparent reason except fate, ended up stuck on Kalypso’s island for seven years, or how Paris, son of king Priam, chose to take Helen back to Troy, igniting the Trojan War. Menelaos shows humility in how he understands himself to be part of a much larger and stronger world, of which he has no control. Then, a situation occurs where Menelaos is justified in showing contempt, rather than empathy:

(Fitzgerald, 1961) “Intolerable—that soft men, as those are, should think to lie in that great captain’s bed. Fawns in a lion’s lair! As if a doe put down her litter of sucklings there, while she quested a glen or cropped some grassy hollow. Ha! Then the lord returns to his own bed and deals out wretched doom on both alike. So will Odysseus deal out doom on these. O Father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo!” (p.63)

In his response to Telemakhos’ description of events at the great hall on Ithaka, Menelaos denounces the suitors and threatens them with suffering. Instead of generousity, he conveys anger and repulsion at the notion, and uses demeaning language by reference to as if they were courting a doe’s sucklings, implying that is all they can and are worth to court. Then he appeals to the gods of justice, Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, to be ratified of his own statement. This example of morals—how others should be treated—is very different from the previous example of Menelaos denouncing his own valour, empathizing with the common people. It represents how it seemed just worthy to bear commonality to people who seemed well-intentioned, whilst others deserved scorn. And, arguably, that is still the case in modern times, as we, as people, choose to befriend those who we deem morally similar rather than those who our principles conflict with. However, the stark difference from The Odyssey’s ancient Greece and our own world is how there exists a divine law of the admirable qualities in a person, rather than the unmonitored and unsolidified qualities we, in the modern world, possess.

In The Odyssey, fate and suffering are determined by the will of the gods, as expressed by random events, prophecies and omens, and direct or indirect appearances by the gods. People must conform by the acceptable social standards of politeness, or they are punishable by the gods. In The Odyssey, anyone who acted against moral principle went to the fields of Asphodel, while the good-natured others went to the heavens with the gods. What was determined to be good-natured was rigid and unrelenting. That way, fate was directly based on how people comported themselves in life. Whereas suffering happened even to the best of people, like Odysseus, however it was the response to suffering which could be determined admirable or unadmirable, which in turn determined the person’s fate. If one kept genuinity and humbleness through their life experiences, rather than becoming bitter and revengeful, like the suitors, would likely be rewarded later by the gods, as in Odysseus’ case. In our modern world, though, there is no fate. Our will to behave morally and admirably is instead based on social rules and interpersonal respect. It is less likely our decisions will have as dire consequences as they would in The Odyssey, nor will they condemn us after we die. However, we still suffer identically to characters in The Odyssey, and the only thing we can blame for causing it is the world. Likewise, our approach to overcoming suffering, profiting from our experiences, and sharing kindness to others through everyone’s commonality under this absurd world stays the same. Although the world of The Odyssey is drastically different, holding divine forces and concrete social laws, our world is fundamentally similar, and what issues afflict us, and the basis on which we live among each other, are still the same. Throughout time, even as beliefs change on the source of fate and suffering, these issues are still core to who we are as human beings. It shows how it is impossible to understand: Why do we suffer?, and what is good and what is bad?

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The Merchant of Venice-Angelina blacklaws

My favorite part in this play would be the scene where Portia and Nerissa are disguised as boys and talk with their husbands as they would give up their wives lives and theirs for Antonio. I learned more about the language and how people used to talk in that time.
The speech we had to recite was more challenging than Hamlet because Sherlock is pretty angry and he is much older so it was hard for me to try to be an old man reciting his speech.

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Poison of the Politics

In the essay “Politics & the English Language”, George Orwell shows the ways modern (at the time of the XX century) the English language is misused and unshaped, treated as something that natural growth, and not, a tool. He makes a point that the English language has been turned into a mixture of vagueness and blurriness where concrete claims melt into abstract, especially by and in the field of Politics, which has incorporated its way into every aspect and issue of the human civilization. Orwell connects the decline of the English language with the political and economical causes in both ways, claiming that the effect has turned into the cause, reinforcing the original cause, and producing the same effects (358).

Firstly, the claim I have extracted from the essay is the way Politics is embedded into language, and therefore, everything we interact with, and the other way around, Politics embeds itself into everything we interact with, and, therefore – the language. Politics poisons the language, using several methods that are worth nothing, but to fill in the text with emptiness, making it vague, overcomplicated, and distractive, as water decreases the concentration of a substance. There are several reasons for doing so, for example when a politician has the task of writing a speech, or a campaign text – the sordid type of material. In that case, one of the ways may be to make the text appear larger, and therefore, more important, or to glorify it, and, therefore, make it appear even more important to the reader, using, for example, words originating from a foreign language:

Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus exmachina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, Gleichschaltung, Weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance.” (363)

Another reason, however, to do so, is to soften the text, make it easier on the ears of the common people, who are, perhaps, not ready to hear about coarse events happening “behind the scenes”, at the front of the war, where thousands of people are being forced out of their homes, which are being bombarded by the enemy. Some people are simply not prepared to listen to such brutalities. In other words, another reason for the dilution of the text is to distract the reader and find a defence for the indefensible. Then the cause for such vagueness of the language is Politics, and as the language forms thinking (including Political thoughts), the vagueness of the language becomes the cause for the necessity of even more vague language – the effect has turned into the cause, reinforcing the same effects, proving Orwell’s point. However, whether and how to deal with this issue depends more on the reader’s position, and not the point of this writing anyway.

Secondly, in his essay, Orwell gives a supposed list of methods which can be (and are) used to dilute the language. This list, along with the proofs and examples, is largely helpful as a guide to be consulted when writing, for example, as I am doing it right now, attempting to get rid of meaningless words and overused phrases. Orwell presented the ways used to obscure the text as a list, therefore, I will do it the same:

  • “Dying” metaphors (361) – the metaphors which have been so overused over the years, that they have lost their original meaning. For example: “the hammer and the anvil” (362), used with the implication that the hammer will, at some point, destroy the anvil, wherein real life the situation is opposite. The use of such a “dying” metaphor will result in unnecessary vagueness of the text.
  • Phrases used instead of words (362) – longer phrases used in the text in places, substituting much simpler words. For example: “render inoperative” instead of “break”, “prove unacceptable” instead of “disprove”, “play a leading part” instead of “lead”, etc.
  • Pretentious diction (363) – words such as phenomenon, element, individual, categorical, effective, and words with a foreign origin, when used excessively will result in slovenliness of the text.
  • Overused political terms (365) – terms, previously used in politics, such as “democracy”, which have been so overused, that they lost their meaning and, sometimes, obtain new meaning, such as a sign of good or bad. For example: “democracy” is used by every political regime, and has lost its original meaning. Now, even the totalitarian regimes use this word, because it has a positive effect.

So, how could we improve our writing? The objective is to make the writing more clear, remove all the “bulk” and highlight the meaning of the text. Orwell said that “[Modern writing] consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.” (367) We, then, have to eliminate the overused phrases and not let the word guide our thoughts, but let the meaning do the job. When writing, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. What am I trying to say? (find the meaning)
  2. What words will best express it? (find exact words)
  3. What image will make it clearer? (find correct metaphor)
  4. How could I make it shorter? (eliminate the bulk)
  5. Have I said anything unnecessarily ugly? (eliminate the bulk)

In conclusion, to improve our writing we have to let the meaning guide the text, stop inflating the text with meaningless, overused words, obscuring it behind long phrases and make the text generally shorter, simpler, concreting the idea behind it.

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Paradise and Death

“Paradise and Death: The Temptations of Odysseus” written by Eric T.  Macknight, illustrates the temptations Odysseus faced throughout his journey home. Homer’s Odysseus comes across multiple opportunities to live in comfort rather than in pain. However, these opportunities were never there to help save Odysseus from his pain, rather to slowly bring his life to an end.

These opportunities that are written within The Odyssey as chances for Odysseus to live in paradise are actually chances for him to live in comfort, meaning to live in death. The opportunities are: “the land of the Lotus-eaters; Kirke’s island; the Sirenes; Kalypso’s island’ the three days swimming at sea after his raft is destroyed by Poseidon and Phaiakia” (p. 2).  Why is Odysseus’s life an adventure and how does he make it out of these opportunities for death that are disguised as paradises? It is because Odysseus knows that life is nothing without pain.

“Paradise and Death: The Temptations of Odysseus” is a well-written piece that through examples from The Odyssey and other readings such as: “The greek Myths (Baltimore, 1955)” (p. 10). It helps us to better understand the truth about The Odyssey and how Odysseus is portrayed. The truth is that Odysseus’s life is not quite different from our own.

“In our ‘magical islands,’ we have manicured lawns, gleaming automobiles, tastefully landscaped homes. Inside are wall-to-wall carpeting, double-wide refrigerators, cable TV, and centralized climate-control systems. Like Phaiákia, these paradises promise comfort and pleasure—a refuge from the harsh realities. Suburban life offers all the temptations that beckoned Odysseus. Like the Lotos Eaters, we consume drugs to escape from reality. In our glorification of youth, our denial of death, and our frequent refusal to honestly confront the future, we hearken to the Seirênês song. Like the Phaiákians, we lose ourselves in trivial pleasures and amusements. And our alarming rate of suicide, especially among the young, shows how strong is the temptation to “sink beneath the waves, let go, and die.” (pp. 16-17)

After reading this we can better understand how the temptations Odysseus’s faces are very similar in fact to certain temptation within our own lives. To escape the reality we tend to choose the easy path and live in comfort. But this path will never make us happy. Odysseus chooses pain over comfort because he knows that if he does not feel the pain he would not be living.

“Odysseus rejects a life of indolent leisure as he rejects death itself. Why? He knows that to live consciously is to recognize our limitations-our flaws, our feialties, our ignorance, our mortality-and struggle against them. To deny these limitations-to seek an illusory escape from them-is, in effect, to die.” (p. 17)

Our limitations are needed for us to live. Denying them we would find ourselves living a life that will end in death rather than in happiness. Accepting your limitations and removing comfort from your life is what you call living consciously. But when you choose to deny your limitations and live in comfort is what you call living unconsciously, which is not living at all.

“For Odysseus, for everyone, unconsciousness is death, and the only life worth living is that peculiarly human life, that life which ‘is pain’; that life in which joy and happiness are not given, and are never permanent, but are dearly bought, always temporary—and thereby unspeakably precious.” (pp. 17-18)

People tend to underthink what life is. Happiness never lasts, it is only temporary but within the moments you can feel it throughout your life is when you are truly living. “Paradise and Death: The Temptations of Odysseus” exemplifies through well-asserted paragraphs, clear and thoughtful use of words through each paragraph, and supporting evidence from The Odyssey and other similar reading how life should be understood. I have learned that pain is needed to live consciously within life. That without pain, we would be living unconsciously, which is living life surrounded not by happiness but rather by death.

 

 

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What Can We Learn From George Orwell’s “Politics and The English Language”

One of the main things we can learn from George Orwell in Politics and the English Language is the way we sub-consciously cause ourselves to write in a foolish way. We use language for our own purposes, in fact it is quite selfish. Orwell mentions this at the beginning of this essay, “the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.” p.358. It is common for us to choose simple language for the majority of our speech. In reality, this is giving us a disadvantage. If we chose to speak in a “proper” way as one did back in the 1800s, the result of our writing would be in a much more formal matter. Typically when you are writing an essay of some sorts you want your writing to be more formal than your regular speech because that will intrigue your reader.

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Reflection on Paradise and Death

Paradise and Death by Eric Macknight talks about Odysseus’ journey after the 10 year Trojan war. It but it really talks about the brutal journey Odysseus had to go through suffering through all the pain and trying to find happiness while at the same time, facing the gods and losing all his men.

I learned how much pain Odysseus had to really go through especially after seeing his mother in the underworld. I also registered how many tragic events he had to go through. He was responsible for the death of his crewmates, and him discovering his mother died from missing Odysseus. You can tell the impact it made on him.

From the text, I learned that expressing emotion can catch the reader’s eye, and to be more descriptive and getting deeper into text, but not getting sidetracked and losing the topic. Another thing I learned that ties into the last part are to be more clearer with writing and make sure the text makes sense in your head.

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English Language as a tool

Orwell starts a discussion in his essay with the idea that an English language is a tool. The English Language is becoming more hypocritical and more useful as propaganda. To make his point more clear, Orwell uses five different pieces of literature that contains unclear and too complicated writing. Afterward, he shows the readers how is it suppose to be. He clarifies that people who write in this manner are trying to make the case about one thing and they are not even interested in the topic and not paying attention to details.

What I found really interesting in ‘Politics & the English Language’  is how after translation from Ecclesiastes to modern English shows that the meaning gets modified and even lost because of not a proper use of language.Orwell explains that sentences had lost their actuality in today’s world English.

Orwell gave some rules that could be applied to improve essay writing, such as:

  • “Do not use a metaphor, simile, or figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.”
  • “Do not use a long word where a short one can do.”
  • “Cut a word out if it is possible to.”

These are the “rules” that have helped me to improve my writing and make my texts more understandable for those who read them. However, even if you take a note and learn those “rules” that George Orwell suggested in his essay, you can still write in “bad English.

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WDolan English Paradise and Death

There are many things I learned about the Odyssey from the ‘Paradise and Death’ literary analysis.  There is a restless dissatisfaction with the pleasures of paradise and the inability to fully experience every fantasy life in paradise brings.  I observed and made note of how the author starts explaining the meaning and significance of the title right at the beginning.  This is a great tool for writing, as it is important for the reader to gain a summarized approach to the literary analysis first, to keep them engaged.

I learned about the main aspects included within the definition of death in the Odyssey. I liked how the author explains the meaning of each word included in the title. He begins with paradise, and then debunks his points with contradictory comments about death. I was amused by the way he was debating with himself about his previous mentions of paradise and death, and making sure to look at all viewpoints on the topic he was analysing.

The author also mixes the theme of paradise and death by mentioning how certain aspects of death do not exist without paradise since paradise is a form of death within itself. He references how Odysseus is in paradise when he sees his mother, but is really dead since she vanishes when he goes to hug her.  This situation strongly references the story of Sisyphus, and how every time he rolls the rock to the top of the hill, it suddenly rolls back down the hill, causing Sisyphus to start over again. I re-learned how good writing requires extra emphasis on important points, to persuade the reader to believe the statements you make. A great example of this is when the author returns to the subject of how death requires paradise, and writes about how living in the past is a form if death within itself, since we would not be able to experience other pleasures in the future.

I learned how Odysseus takes Penélopê for granted since she is mortal. He also uses Kalypso as a sort of medicine for his feelings, and would not be “so dissatisfied” with her if Penélopê was immortal. This then transitions into the thought of a paradise where we can love anyone we want.

I observed how paradise and death were linked again through the mentions of how to live forever would be to not live at all, and how paradises are a form of death when they pretend adversities don’t exist.

I liked how the conclusion mixes Homer’s world with our current world, and how human nature has not changed over the course of 2000 years. All paradises have their conflicts and forms of death. Our modern world contains pleasures such as technology, but when used offensively against others, it causes a physical and mental death.

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DP English Literature 1 – Reflection on “Paradise and Death”

“Paradise and Death”, written by Eric MacKnight, expresses how the main character, Odysseus, pursues the goal of happiness in the book “The Odyssey” (by Homer). MacKnight brings up many points about how “The Odyssey” is a compelling series of books in how it makes you reflect on life and what its meaning is. All good literature contains big questions, and MacKnight’s essay talks about the big question “Who are we?” and provides evidence how this big question makes “The Odyssey” a compelling and insightful book, even to us, in the modern era.

MacKnight talks about how there were “…six opportunities to [for Odysseus] escape from his troubles: the land of the Lotos Eaters; Kirkê’s island; the Seirênês; Kalypso’s island; the three days swimming at sea after his raft is destroyed by Poseidon; and Phaiakìa.” (P.2) He then goes on to explain how each scenario offered a different way for Odysseus to spend the rest of his life. He explains how the Lotos Eaters offered a drug-induced euphoria, Kirke’s island offered a life of banquets and sleeping with Kirke, the Seirenes offered a life of living in the past, the three days at sea offered death, Kalypso’s island offered immortality, and Phaiakia offered a life of comfort and splendor. MacKnight then elaborates how each scenario offers a form of death, as a certain form of pain would be eliminated from Odysseus’ life and because we need pain to feel happiness, Odysseus would cease to be happy. A life without happiness, he argues, is a form of death.

My greatest takeaway from “Paradise and Death” is that underlying literature there are regularly big questions that you wouldn’t realize are there. I would never have thought that Kalypso’s island was a place of death until the class discussion we had talking about how all the plant life on the island was symbolic of death. It also would never have crossed my mind that Phaiakia would be a form of death, even though I understood Odysseus’ reasoning to go back to Ithaka (to see his home). I think MacKnight’s writing is excellent because, even though it uses simple vocabulary and sentence structure, it explores really compelling and resonant ideas that I would never have thought of before. These ideas are put plainly by him in his essay, and they benefit from that because they make you clearly understand what “The Odyssey” is really about.

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Paradise and Death

Paradise and Death: The Temptations of Odysseus, by Mr. MacKnight,  raises and explores each of the major questions we consider while reading The Odyssey. Whether they’re discussed directly or indirectly, this essay highlights the connections between  each question. In The Odyssey, we travel alongside Odysseus as he encounters gods and monsters, suffers through pain, faces dangerous temptations, and grows as an individual. This analysis connects those adventures with current societal issues, as well as deep-rooted flaws in human nature.

The first question, the nature of the Greek gods, is raised in the discussion about immortality and what gives our lives meaning. As Odysseus encounters the Greek gods and goddesses (Kirkê and Kalypso) he’s tempted by paradisiacal islands and beautiful women. However, after being offered eternal life, he realizes that immortality would render his life meaningless. In Mr. MacKnight’s words,

. . . he longs for Penélopê precisely because she must die. If Penélopê (and Laertês and Telémakhos) were immortal, Odysseus would not be so dissatisfied with Kalypso, so impatient to get home; there would be plenty of time to do everything, without suffering any loss. . . It is because we mortals die that our lives are precious and our actions significant. (p. 9)

This introduces the following question, ‘Why do we suffer?’. Through broadening my literary knowledge, I have recognized a recurring trope that I noticed in this essay and in The Odyssey. Pain shades your life— it makes happiness better and sadness worse. It deepens your understanding of yourself and of the world. It keeps you connected with your emotions, and is imperative to hold onto, 

[Odysseus] wants to live fully, which means living consciously. He doesn’t want to suffer, but when suffering comes he wants to feel the pain the pain of losing his mother, of being separated from his family, or growing old and facing deathbecause only if he is fully conscious of life’s sorrows will he be fully conscious of its joys[.] (p. 14)

This quotation reminded me of an impactful line said in a monologue of a film, “Right now there’s sorrow. Pain. Don’t kill it, and with it the joy you’ve felt.” (Call Me By Your Name) Odysseus’ character and desires have shifted, because he has realizes that repressing the pain is not an option. He doesn’t want to live a life where he is numb to his emotions, like the Phaiákians. Pain is inevitable. We all suffer. It hurts, for some more than others, but it’s essential. This is exemplified when we compare pain to it’s emotionless alternative,

Living in their protected world, the Phaiákians never really suffer, but neither do they feel the unsurpassed joy, the inexpressible relief that comes when suffering ends. And neither do they have that intense appreciation of life that comes from recognizing its brevity, and the inevitability of loss and sorrow. (p. 14)

We suffer because it makes us human. We suffer to feel happiness. We suffer to acquire emotional depth— love, joy, grief, and passion, rather than liking, comfort, suppression and apathy. While visiting Hades, the land of the dead, Odysseus experiences death (without actually dying), which prompts his reconnection with life. He develops a new desire to travel home; a new appreciation for everyone and everything. His motivation is restored, and he wants to return to his family. Like suffering, death has allowed Odysseus to appreciate the alternative. 

In this essay, I observed clear, specific assertions, well-structured paragraphs, literary evidence to support the assertions, and further exploration. I saw a combination of analysis and links to society/human nature, which I admire. The language wasn’t flowery, but the points were insightful and powerful. This taught me that embellished language is unnecessary for impactful writing—something which I will attempt to improve going forward. 

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What did “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell teach me

George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language was a non personal essay about how language is used mostly incorrectly. He points out other writers common errors and things we should not be doing while writing. While doing this however, if we pay close attention we can also learn a lot about his writing techniques and by mimicking his writing we can learn to do things correctly.

The layout of this essay follows the basic essay construction. It starts with an introduction of what he is talking about and gives specific examples that we can refer to and he refers us to further along in the novel so it makes sense (pg. 359b-360b). Directly after that he explains why those examples are relevant to what he is explaining (361t).

After that it moves onto his body paragraphs. Each paragraph is a main point or idea that we should not be using in our writing. In his paragraphs, he includes an introduction for the idea, specific examples of what we shouldn’t do. He then explains those examples and gives us examples of what we should do. Before concluding the paragraph by explaining the significance.

After that he links his body paragraphs to to the first examples he gives us, and finishes it off with a conclusion.

Paying attention to all the details in his writing we do not only learn about the points he is essentially force feeding us. We also learn about essay formatting, how to link in examples, how we should write paragraphs, introductions and conclusion and how to make the essay flow.

 

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It is easy to fall into the mistakes of Modern English

“Politics & the English Language” made me realize that I am not as good as writing in English as I thought. There are several mistakes I make when writing in English. Here are three examples of the ones I usually do:
First of all, the form of the essay. The way he organizes the texts so that the reader understands it better. He starts by giving his point, then giving examples. And this is something most of the time I do not do.
Another mistake I commonly do is to exaggerate what I write to make it sound “sophisticated”. As Orwell said, “Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as respect to, having regard to, ….., and so on and so forth” (Shooting an Elephant p. 362). The next quote explains better the mistake I mentioned before:“It is easier- even quicker, once you have the habit- to say In my opinion ….. than to say I think.”(Shooting An Elephant p. 367).
Another mistake I commonly do is the lack of precision. I do not write directly my point, and I use words that do not need to be there. By adding words I just make the reader confuse. “Meaningless words….. it is normal to come across long passages witch are almost completely lacking of meaning” (Shooting an Elephant p. 364). “As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into abstract…” (Shooting an Elephant p. 361). This mistake also connects with the second one I mentioned at the before, because
trying to show an extensive vocabulary, I fall into the errors of modern English, in which my only achievement is to confuse the reader.
I will have in mind “Politics & the English Language” before writing my next essay, and I am sure it is going to help me improve my writing.

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The Odyssey: Paradise and Death

“What did you learn from ‘Paradise and Death’ about The Odyssey, and what did you learn from it about good writing?”

Eric MacKnight’s “Paradise and Death” illustrates Odysseus’ journey through constant temptations, and makes the argument that his trip to Hades gives him the strength to resist these. The essay contends that before Odysseus visits the underworld, he views home as a place of immortality– an unchanging relic in his mind. As a result, getting home quickly is of no priority to him– no matter when he returns, things will be the same. However, his encounters with Antikleia and Akhilleus change this view. When he leaves Ithaka, his mother Antikleia is alive, perfectly healthy, and so finding her shade in Hades is a great shock to him. It makes him realize that his friends and family are not, in fact, immortal and unchanging, and gives him the drive to return home to them before it is  too late. Similarly, his discussion with Akhilleus makes him realize that he is also not immortal. Odysseus claims that things can’t be that bad for Akhilleus, after all, Akhilleus is a legend among the living and a king among the dead. Akhilleus tells Odysseus that this view is naïve, and that even life as a slave would be better than death as a hero. Thus, after meeting with his mother and Akhilleus, Odysseus realizes that neither he nor his loved ones are immortal, and that returning home in haste is far more important that he previously thought it to be. From this, too, we can realize that the Odyssey concerns many of the unpleasant realities of the human condition– only through suffering can we experience bliss, and only through understanding death can we appreciate life.

In terms of demonstrating good writing, “Paradise and Death” makes clear, concise assertions in an organized manner. Each thought leads into the next; each sentence and paragraph has a clear beginning, middle, and end; nothing is embellished for the sake of fanciness; and each assertion is backed up with literary evidence.

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Politics & the English Language – Josefa

In the essay Politics and the English Language Orwell states that the normalization of bad writing leads to political oppression. He talks about using long and sophisticated words to make your words sound more important, he says that doing that makes your work unprofessional, stating that this is inflating prose caused by vagueness, instead of thinking carefully about your words you just use a sophisticated word for It to sound better, I can say that I do that all the time on my work so I think that reading this has helped me to try and stop doing that.

He also talks about using too much words to take space from your works, Orwell states that this makes your work seem boring and it may distract the readers, I accept I tend to do that a lot too. He recommends to use as few syllables and words as possible. This makes sense, that way the work is more precise and it can be understand better.

Thanks to reading this essay I can say that I will be changing the way I work and write and it has helped me to understand what to do and not to do.

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How to write decently

On several occasions, I have used words that have no other objective than making my work sound more sophisticated than it really is. As Orwell states “Words like phenomenon, element, individual … are used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality” (Shooting an Elephant pp. 363). This language has no other objective than glorifying your own writing. Making your text sound unprofessional. Something that I am guilty of too, is using complicated words or lengthening a sentence pointlessly. Instead of saying “I was in the process of moving to Guatemala”, say “I was moving to Guatemala”. According to Orwell “Never use a long word where a short one will do”. (Shooting an Elephant pp. 374) This not only will make it easier to understand, but it will also give your words more relevance.  By doing this, your writing will look more polished as well. Finally, I consider that something very important is cutting out unnecessary words. Orwell says how “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out” (Shooting an Elephant pp.374). This is crucial to keep the reader engaged. Unnecessary words will bore the audience and it will make them lose interest easily.

I believe that implementing these changes in my writings will improve my writing skills and allow me to create better works.

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Politics and the English Language

While reading “Politics and the English Language”, I learned that the English language is full of bad habits. Orwell gives many examples of meaningless bad writing, and that helped me see what it is like to write poorly. “I am not…Shelley had not become,” (359) I found that sentence confusing because of all the negatives. Orwell writes about dying metaphors. A dying metaphor refers to a metaphor that is not so much in use anymore and is becoming obsolete.  “a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness” (361). Descriptive metaphors are essential to create imagery in a piece of writing. If one uses “dead” metaphors, that would only hinder the effect of the piece of writing. Another convention of writing that Orwell addresses is called “Operators” or “Verbal False Limbs”. They “pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry…Render inoperative, militate against, prove unacceptable, make contact with..etc.” (362) I believe that these two writing conventions will help me better my writing by making it more vivid and descriptive. If I can get out of my bad habits of run-on sentences and using filler words that will help as well.

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Antigone, “Who Is The Tragic Hero”

Sophocles’ Antigone focusses on the conflict between Creon a great almighty king, with all the power to do basically whatever wants. All of this against one willingly girl Antigone. Antigone’ is fighting for the “higher law “and does not abide or believe in Creon’s overpowering laws. Now, this issue of visibility in many examples of politics in history and modern-day history. There will always be the issue of someone having a higher bracket, influence, or just plain power over others.

For most people their preconceived idea of what a hero is our strong individual who overcomes a problem. Although the truth is heroes don’t always have to be courageous, strong, and always find justice. For example, Martin Luther King’ fought for black rights and got shot in the process, yet he still made a massive impact on society then and today.

when I read his play personally, I find it obvious who the hero could be yet still have trouble putting it into words. Mostly everyone in this play worships Creon because of fear. For example, at the beginning of the play (P1, L28) Ismene says “they mean a great deal to me, but I have no strength to break the laws made for the public good.” You can see in this quote how much Creon has almost brainwashed the public citizens. Everyone in they’re right mind would never question Creon’s laws, understandably.

Antigone to me in this play is immediately a hero in this play to me showing how she would rather die a martyr then ignore it.

“If you say so, you will make me hate you, and the hatred of the dead, by all rights, will haunt you night and day . But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this dreadful thing. I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.”  (Antigone P 64)

Antigone expresses through this quote how she feels it is more necessary to honor her brother, then to die without glory knowing what she could have done. The fact th=at she wet up against the insane law and fought for what she thought was right was very hero-like. maybe she didn’t get to carry on her life, but she died in glory as a martyr and stood up for hat she believes. I’m sure others in the city of Thebes realized how sickening the laws were. you can see the effect of Antigone’s decisions through the death of Eteocles and healed who both realized how cruel these laws were.

I believe Antigone was a strong individual who stood up for what she believed in until the very end as a tragic hero.

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Antigone: Modernism, Law vs. Individual

Modernism? We prefer to create public order as a political tool, a philosophy that helps us to control the brutal forces of nature that threaten us. In this sense, a reductive instrument that helps prevent us from being overcome by the overwhelming complexities of human social life. Such demarcations are much less simple than all characters imagine. Creon suppresses the requests of the nether gods, one-sidedly stressing his devotion to the town and rejecting his duty as a dead member of his kin to Polynices. Not only does Antigone reject Creon ‘s public rule as the only way out of confusion and suffering, but also the private role of Creon as the head of the integrity she wants to protect. For both, the distinction of public and private is the basis for more separations of friend and adversary, spiritual and mortal, just and unjust; as it turns out, however, their one-sided solution to these problems tends to be at least partially defective, when both Creon and Antigone close their eyes to substantial details and situations that escape their schematic ways of thought.

With that being said, the defeat of the main characters of the play does not decide that it is with wrong to ‘separate rule.’ The imaginary divisions and demarcations of law are, for the Greeks as for us, the only manner in which law can expect to bring order to the anarchy of nature. The goal set by the Chorus is to look for the virtues of separative law while remembering that the art of division of law itself is a natural force. Separative law may be an invention of man, but it does not mean it is not a natural occurrence. In his valiant attempts to transcend nature and better the human condition, we undoubtedly say women too, man and as moderns. These contrivances have given us immense advantages but can also result in our demise. As artificial law takes on an unnecessarily rationalist nature, the dangers of our greatness loom big, not only drawing more or less artificial lines and categories but absolutizing its artificiality and fully ignoring its own identity as a natural power.

One-sided resort to separative law’s artificial divisions and generalisations ruins human existence even when it attempts to protect it from other powers’ devastation. No feasible solution is offered by an unbalanced focus on contextual particularity; a legal structure that depends unilaterally on unreflected personal morality is required to collapse in its coordinating role. It would eventually be important to negotiate with the remains of justice. The play leads us ever less to any unheroic ‘middle path’ in which human grandeur is rejected in lieu of a life in the shadows that is wretched and insignificant, preserved by the gods but unseen by posterity. Instead, the Antigone of Sophocles makes us mindful of our precarious state in which we are bound to make use of law and politics as rationalistic instruments that elevate us at once but threaten us in that elevation. To support us in our human lives, managing and nurturing wild nature and shielding us from its harsh powers, we founded our legal orders and cities. We are continually and ultimately at risk of losing ourselves in our hurried efforts to become the rulers and possessors of nature, now guided by the complex legal and political systems we built to assist us in the first place.

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Oedipus and Antigone: Men vs Women

As Ismene said, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” (page 62) She believes that women must be ruled by men because they are weak. Ismene made it clear that women are second class citizens compared to men who rule everything. Antigone’s reaction to her sister was powerful. Antigone said “But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this – dreadful thing. I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.” (page 64)In these aspects, Antigone made it clear that what matters is standing up for what is right. Gender issues are not just about making sure you have a strong faith. For Antigone, it means the ability to know that no matter what the consequences are, you must fight for your beliefs and pursue it all the way to the end.

Sophocles takes the reader through ancient Greek, a patriarchal society dominated by men. “What? You’d kill your own son’s bride?” Ismene (page 89) then Creon replied with “Absolutely: there are other field for him to plow.” He is denying Antigone’s emotional value for Haemon. He is proved wrong as Haemon really loves Antigone, not only because she is his fiancé, but that he is madly in love with her, that’s the reason why she is irreplaceable and why Creon was wrong about objectifying women.

 

 

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Antigone: Tragedy

The story of Antigone is a tragedy. Aristotle believes that “Tragedy is an imitation, not of  men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality.” (ch.6) There is more behind the conflict between Creon and Antigone, no matter if politically significant in Sophocles’s time or not.

Antigone’s actions can be controversial from her character. Although determinedly burying her brother out of hatred towards her destiny and disappointment to the city,  at the same time, she passionately believes that “I was born to join in love, not hate—that is my nature.” (p.86) She desires to be loved, to feel like she belongs, yet she rejects the opportunity. For example, when Ismene offers to die with her, Antigone tells Ismene to “never share my dying, don’t lay claim to what you never touched.” (p.87) In the end, she feels as if she is entirely alone. She cries,

“I go to my rock bound prison, strange new tomb—always a stranger, O dear god, I have no home on earth and none below, not with the living, not with the breathless dead.” (p.103) 

But she was never alone. Her conscious mind persuades herself to believe in a truth different from reality, and it leads to her suffering.

The same goes for Creon. As readers, we may have a negative impression on Creon and easily side with Antigone, but Creon is justifiable in his own way. He carries heavy responsibilities as the King of Thebes.

“Never at my hands will the traitor be honoured above the patriot. But whoever proves his loyalty to the state–I’ll prize that man in death as well life.” (p.68)

Having said that, putting his words into action produces a different effect, especially when the majority disagrees with his actions. And at last, Tiresias tells him, “You have no business with the dead, nor do the gods above–this violence you have forced upon the heavens.” (p.115) Creon used to be a calm and logical thinker, who used to say ” Who in his right mind would rather rule and live in anxiety than sleep in peace? (Oedipus the King, p.193) But it all disappears once he ascends the throne.

Did Creon change as a character? It isn’t necessary to say that Creon now thinks higher of the state’s law over the Gods. In Ancient Greek, it is a part of a citizen’s right and duty to contribute to a polis, a state. It could be viewed as faithfulness towards the gods, but it is also a form of monism. I’ve concluded that Creon does respect and fear the gods, but those gods are the gods of the polis. He isn’t displeasing the gods by ordering the corps to be left bare, because Polynices was a traitor, and a traitor has no rights to be a citizen nor deserving a burial.

Opposite of Antigone, Creon is the embodiment of order and logical reason in the play. But he is punished for his “wisdom” and his pride. The Chorus remarked at the end of the play:

“Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy, and reverence toward the gods must be safeguarded. The mighty words of the proud are paid in full with mighty blows of fate, and at long last those blows will teach us wisdom.” (p.128)

But he was never entirely wrong. Creon represents more of a human to me than Antigone would. In the end, he calls himself “A rash, indiscriminate fool!”(p.127) which he indeed was a fool, but there’s nothing wrong with being foolish. I disagree that Haemon and Eurydice’s deaths are the direct causes of Creon’s foolishness. However sorrowful their endings may be, it is very arrogant for Creon to think that he alone caused their deaths. In Antigone, every character’s tragedy builds upon another’s and accumulates into a collective pain that if enlarged into a greater scale, that the entire human race suffers from.

But these large-scaled sufferings are the pains that we have trouble explaining. It is the pain from our conscious minds, which we take pride in as humans. The pains that we do notice are the small and insignificant ones. It is the basic karmic tragedy, where one suffers because of one’s faults. The tragedy in Antigone is that one is being punished for pursuing righteousness. Isn’t there something beautiful about suffering? I’d like to believe that at least in literature, the tragic story is always the most sincere story.

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Antigone: Who is the protagonist?

Antigone is a story about our moral code and how it can play a major role in our lives. It is about how she went against all odds for what she believed to be for the greater good. However, I believe that Antigone is not the main character of this play.

In the beginning, we are introduced to Antigone and her sister, Ismene. Antigone is announcing her plan to honour their brother’s burial to her sister, however, we never see her carry out her plan. Instead, the play cuts straight to Creon, Antigone’s uncle, and the dialogue occurs mostly around him describing Antigone’s actions.

In the end, Creon was the main character. The connection I made with Oedipus and Creon is that they both had miserable endings and both of their loved ones killed themselves. Therefore, Creon was left to suffer alone forever, questioning his actions that brought death onto his loved ones.

In conclusion, Antigone’s story is told by Creon all throughout the play making him the main character on stage, and it is his story which becomes the tragic ending of the play.

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Why do people Change?

Creon changed for the worse over the years from having everything he ever needed to losing everything he had. In Antigone, written by Sophocles we often find ourselves asking questions about what was the cause and reason for a certain event. A question such as how some characters have changed for the better and others for the worse. Why do people change? This question is quite bland, isn’t it? Why don’t we tie it to one of the main characters in the story like Creon? Creon had made appearances within Oedipus the King and in Antigone. In Oedipus The King we noticed the kind of person Creon was from the way in which he acted during certain scenarios. “Never–curse me, let me die and be damned if I’ve done you any wrong you charge me with.” (p. 196). After Oedipus continuously blames Creon for being the murderer of king Lauis Creon stays kind to himself and does not talk back in a rash way. He was calm and spoke nothing but the truth, which showed how caring and loyal he was as a person of Thebes. However this loyalty or so-called truthful characteristic of Creon changed completely in Antigone. . .

So why did Creon change in Antigone? After Oedipus’s exile and after Oedipus’s two sons had killed one another Creon became the king of Thebes. Before being a king Creon had everything he had ever needed. He had a family, a home, and money. However once he had taken a step forward from his comfort at a young age, now being king, he began to act in a less truthful and noble way. He decided that Polynices, who was one of Oedipus’s sons, was to be left out in the open to be eaten by the crows and dogs. However, Antigone, one of Oedipus’s daughters, thought that her own brother was being treated rather unjustly and she buried her brother in love. Did Antigone bury her brother for love or for glory? When Creon had found Antigone guilty for the crime he became frustrated with her for disobeying him. . .

“Never! Sister’s child or closer in blood than all my family clustered at my altar worshiping Guardian Zeus–She’ll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death. Yes, I accuse her sister of an equal part in scheming this, this burial.” (p. 83)

When Creon said this he no longer related to his original self. His original self being a kind and honest, not at all self-centered man. However, now that he is king he is becoming more dishonest about himself. You would be able to relate him more to Oedipus rather than his own son Haemon. When Haemon saw how Creon was acting towards Antigone in such a harsh and unreasonable way he decided to side with Antigone. This made Creon even more irritated because first of all Antigone was speaking up as a woman and Creon had to defend himself as a man. Secondly, his own son was siding with the enemy, or at least who Creon thought to be his enemy being Antigone.

What makes us change? Or maybe in another sense what makes us human?  Is it to do with the individuals we surround ourselves with or is it something else? Maybe it is the way we act and think with ourselves? How do we or can we relate to Creon or Antigone’s situation? One is fighting for themself while the other is fighting for the entire kingdom of Thebes. Who is supposedly right in this situation? The person who wants everything in order? Or the person who wants to do what is right not only for themself but for everyone who feels they are being judged unfairly?

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Antigone (Sep. 27, 2020)

Sophocles’ Antigone focuses on the conflict between Creon, the authoritarian leader of Thebes, and Antigone, a willful girl intent on following the “higher law” of the gods (or, otherwise put, morality). Their debate– that of societal reformation versus societal stability– can be found throughout all of historical and present day politics. The question we now set out to discuss, however, is not one of broad terms, but rather which of these two specific people– Creon or Antigone– is most justified in their actions.

The story could be said to favour Antigone– the play is named after her, she appeals to our sense of morality as the greatest good, and in the end, Creon is punished most harshly for his actions. This may lead one to believe that Creon is nothing but a cruel dictator; the stereotypical antagonist. To better understand him, we must examine his beliefs and what has led him to form them as such. Creon saw what happened to Thebes when it nearly succumbed to the sphinx’s plague, when king Laius was murdered, and when the city learned of king Oedipus’ terrible backstory.  All of this disorder nearly tore apart Thebes, the great city which Creon loves. Now, when Polyneices and king Eteocles have just murdered one another, the city is set to devolve back into chaos. “Anarchy–” (l. 751) Creon exclaims, “show me a greater crime in all the earth!” (l. 752). He cannot bear to watch Thebes live through another period of disarray. And how can he achieve order? Through the complete obedience of his citizens. He believes that “that man / the city places in authority, his orders / must be obeyed, large and small, / right and wrong” (ll. 748-751) in order to ensure stability. Were everyone to constantly question the king’s orders, none of them would be followed in any efficient manner, and thus the city would effectively be left without a ruler; without someone to keep order. Creon can imagine no worse fate. In his mind, Polynices represents dissent and treachery. By allowing Polynices a proper burial, he would be honouring those qualities, and thus encouraging others to exhibit them. Likewise, when Antigone goes against his orders, he feels it is his duty, and in the best interests of Thebes, to kill her, for if he didn’t, others would see that disobeying the king’s laws has no consequence.

Antigone, however, views Creon’s actions in a far different light. To her, Creon’s decree that Polynices’ body is to be denied proper burial violates sacred religious practices. She describes Creon’s actions as “dishonor[ing] the laws / the gods hold in honor” (ll. 91-92). She believes that no man’s “edict [has] such force / that [they], a mere mortal, could override the gods” (ll. 503-504). What she refers to as the “law of the gods” we now usually call morality– the higher “good” we all seek to abide by, that which no legislation can supersede. Some modern governments forbid certain types of dissention among their citizens, for dissention can often lead to riots, destruction, and even wars. These things (riots, destruction, and wars) are obviously bad, but sometimes they are way to institute the reform of a morally bad government into a (more) morally good one. For instance, a lot of blood was spilled in the long fight to gain equal rights for people of colour, but it’s quite likely that without that bloodshed, those people would’ve never gained those (very important) rights. That being said, those extremities should only be turned to when all peaceful options have been exhausted.

All of this digression is to say that both Antigone and Creon are right in some ways. Too much chaos can destroy a city, and laws must be upheld. However, when the laws themselves don’t do a good job of representing moral goodness (whatever that means), then someone has to speak up. Antigone probably could’ve gotten far better results if she had gone about it in a more diplomatic way– for example, consulting the citizens, and bringing their collective concerns to Creon– but the intent behind her actions was a reasonable one regardless. Likewise, the beliefs that led Creon to act how he did were justifiable, but he probably should’ve considered the opinions of his citizens before acting so harshly towards Antigone, and definitely should’ve reevaluated when Haemon told him how the citizens felt.

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English 11: Antigone- Who is the protagonist of the play?

This play had many characters who have could’ve been the main character. There was Antigone, Creon, and even Chorus, but I believe the protagonist was Creon. Even though the play was named after Antigone, Creon had more screen time and was left with the bigger decisions throughout most of the play. Though Antigone did the “heroic” act, Creon suffered the most during the timeline of the play by losing his wife, Antigone, and others close to him. Finally, the play was mostly centred around him and his perspective.

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Conflicts representing Antigone: Men vs. Women

Throughout Sophocles’ play,  Antigone, we encounter the recurring conflict between men and women. Although the dispute between Creon and Antigone could emphasize many existential issues, a primary one we are met with is the dominant ideology of patriarchy. Whether enforced by women or by men, the inequality between them is abundantly clear, and equally harmful.

The first demonstration of the societally induced gender roles is Ismene’s line, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” (p. 62) Ismene has made herself and other women inferior to men, because that is what she has been conditioned to believe. She then goes on to refer to women as, “underlings, ruled by much stronger hands,” (p. 62) which reveals the “damsel-in-distress” literary trope we are so often shown.

Later, we develop a sense of Antigone’s opposition to this ideology, when she raises herself onto Creon’s level, rather than making herself subservient to him. She says that she is not going to break the laws of the gods out of fear for, “some man’s wounded pride.” (p. 82) In this quotation, she is creating equality between the two of them, rather than succumbing to their patriarchal society. This, along with her strength to stand up to the man in power in order to defend her beliefs, are few of many reasons why Antigone is still regarded as an early feminist. 

Despite Antigone’s efforts of equality, Creon’s oppression against women is definitely prevalent.The line, “she is the man” (p. 83) insinuates that when you’re brave, accomplished, and successful, you’re a man, and when you’re the opposite, you’re a woman. Why is it that we still use words such as “manly” to replace the words brave and courageous?  

On a slightly more obvious note, when talking to Ismene, Creon says, “there are other fields for [Haemon] to plow,” (p. 89). This is incredibly degrading, objectifying, and upsetting. It affirms that women are just objects used to please men, and are therefore expendable. Creon also advises Haemon, “I warn you… a worthless woman in your house, a misery in your bed.” (p. 93) Is this really how women were regarded? Their only purposes were to carry children and to satisfy men. In so many respects, we are incredibly fortunate for the change that has occurred in this area. And yet, there is still a tremendous number of residual issues from these times, which is concerning due to the amount of time that has passed since this was written. 

I like to point out all the areas in which Creon is a sexist, misogynistic man, but could I expect anything else from people at that era? It was just the way it was, which is appalling, but true. It’s interesting that Sophocles wrote such a powerful, modern woman (Antigone), and such a despicable, sexist man (Creon). I wonder if Sophocles was purposefully speaking on the inequality between men and women, or if he was simply writing a realistic situation, which we now perceive as unjust…
Through all of this, I must ask, why are we defining the conflict as men versus women, when that enforces the segregation between them? We must discard the harmful, antiquated notion that one gender is superior, and we must replace it with actions supporting the claim that we are equal.
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Reflection of Questions about Sophocles Antigone

My question is 2. Who is the protagonist (main character) of the play? The main character of the play is Creon. He is the main character because he is the catalyst in many ways, just like Antigone. When he is the catalyst the things he did includes: leaving Eteocles body unburied which turned into Antigone burying it and getting in trouble which turned to being exiled into a cave, once her soon to be husband found out, he went over to the cave, which then he realized that she had killed herself then once Haemon (soon to be husband) saw this he killed himself as well which turned into deep sorrow and loss for Creon, then once Creon’s wife heard about her son’s death, she killed herself too, which then caused more pain for Creon, in turn banishing himself. So in reality Creon is the catalyst, and it is solely him that brought it upon himself.

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Antigone: A Convergence of Exclusionary Righteous Opinions

No one, I am convinced, has ever been able to be totally correct in their opinion. Our entire lives, we strive to correct our existential perspective to align with whatever we consider the most ‘authentic’, however such ideology is always ill-founded: we revise what we previously considered affirmative, or yet what we perceived as the truth is refuted by most other people and their respective ideologies. No one can say, ‘it is best to try and achieve our highest potential, becoming the best person we can be,’ since such a statement might be ill-founded with the makeup of our existence/universe. Perhaps, we would achieve a higher flow state, where we receive higher enjoyment (for reasons unknown, some greater energetic force perhaps), by releasing our life aspirations and living with what is around us, seeking happiness not from achieving greatness, however from the everyday sights and simple tasks of a ‘free’ life. Who knows? But what is for certain, the human psyche is perpetually self-correcting, drastically or minutely. And that, I believe, is the underlying theme for Antigone.

As an opinionated person, I naturally sided against Creon, whom I deemed a ‘fool’. It is interesting, I admit, how easily one can write off another’s opinions. Creon was ever so rash as to place sturdy empirical evidence behind his own intentions, firstly accusing his sentry of treason, then to firmly wish his niece dead, and accuse the other niece likewise, or to disavow the gods, brush off Tiresius’ prophecies, to not sense the heart of his people the citizens of Thebes, or to be as satanic as throw away his son’s true love. Whereas I may use a word such as ‘satanic’ to describe his actions, it is impossible to contradict one’s sense of justice. Creon likely considered his law was best for running Thebes, as it benefitted his personal biases and that as he was the best man to rule his country, being all ‘selfless’ and ‘sympathetic’ as any king should, his personal biases were what was best for his state and anyone had ought to obey him. That is my best guess. How he arrived at such a conclusion, I would assume perhaps he had lost touch with his moral senses, and as being king with no colleagues to receive advice from, he had never learned how to run a kingdom and what kinds of actions were just/unjust. In any fashion he achieved his outlook on life, this proves people can form severely distorted views of reality from others.

In the essence of not writing too much, I will not explore Antigone’s personality (nor Ismene, even the Chorus), however assume her situation is similar to Creon’s. Just like Creon, I believe Antigone foolish, however knowing I am judging the characters’ opinions, I am unable to provide an explanation for my standpoint on the matter. Perhaps I would adopt certain ideas of equality from Antigone, yet retain other protectionist from Creon. One can’t always appeal to the common good, neither flaunt their own opinion in public. Regardless, Antigone is best described as a conflict of interest, where different ideas on the world with different laws to adhere to converge.

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Oedipus & Antigone, Men VS Women.

Oedipus and Antigone written by Sophocles, are plays mostly about loyalty. One of the key conflicts brought up frequently is that both plays represent an unjust environment for women, this also means a state where men are considered as prevalent.  Women in the plays are treated unfairly, there is a lack of gender equality. Women’s empowerment, in the real world, has turned into a global issue for this generation.

The lack of fair treatment of women is portrayed clearly in both plays. “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” Ismene, (II 74-75). Girls were taught not to argue, not to speak up, and be afraid of men. “If fall we must, at the hands of a man ⏤ never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (II 759-61). This quote by Creon illustrates a male superiority and it aligns masculinity with dominance whereas it aligns femininity with subordination.  Referring to Oedipus, “But my two daughters, my poor helpless girls…” (I-1602). Oedipus makes it seem like women/girls are powerless, they should get married or have children to be ensured, they must be with a man to be protected, women without men are hopeless. I think everyone is their own individual, a lady does not need to be with a man to characterize herself.

This points to the inferior power position women hold in the society, and the pressure placed upon them from previous generations. Pressure referring to being unable to stand up for themselves and sustaining societal reforms. The issue of ‘women empowerment’  is steadily being brought more into light. Society needs to overcome their ignorant and chauvinistic ways, and accept and respect everyone for who they choose to be.

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English Blog Post September 27th 2020

My chosen question is:

 Does Antigone match Aristotle’s description of a tragedy?

 

There are many elements an author has to cover in order to make a successful tragedy. In order to write in the  correct form for a tragedy, you need the information as follows:

  • Play must have catharsis (purification and exclusion of emotions)
  • A tragic hero
  • A change in destiny within a character
  • Must be poetic
  • Needs to take place in a single day
  • Obtain in one location
  • All events are required to be closely related to one other

There are many components writers ought be aware of when creating a tragedy, but the main focus is to exhilarate two emotions: Pity and Fear.

Within the words pity and fear, you may be able to understand why tragedies occur in on place, or develop in one day. If a character (i.e the tragic hero, or protagonist) is afraid of meeting their fate, they may not want to leave their current location.  If a character is pitying a loss over someone committing suicide (which happens frequently in tragedies) then they may also commit suicide to add more drama to the play.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways to write a play. This  comprises of the theme, location, etc. The most important element for a tragedy is to keep the structure the same as Aristotle’s definition.

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Edna Pontellier

Chopin was one of the first to introduce into public literary discussion the issue of women’s choice of a purpose other than the role of wife and mother, showed a certain variety of female roles. In the novel ‘The Awakening’ we see a strongly developed character who isn’t afraid to break the role selected to her by society Edna Pontellier. With great interest and growing empathy readers observe the “awake” from the character, she has a “thirst for life”, the growing desire to know her self, only in order to meet the tragic result of this “awakening”. Sometimes I thought that I was reading a certain version of “Anna Karenina”. Both women are quite young, both are happily married, both are mothers and they both fell in love, and because of these feelings discovered themselves. Only, in my opinion, Tolstoy’s created a great presentation of the psychological struggle of his character, which led to a sad end. But Chopin does not leave a hint to the reader, and only on the last page, we understand what happened.

Reading this story, I understand perfectly why it had a shocking effect on readers. The morality of that time did not allow the idea of a young, married woman with children who decided to live and die for this love. Naturally, all moralizers immediately pounced on this work and considered it immoral. That explains why society treats Edna as a selfish character, but in today’s world, we have a right to choose our way. No one wants to become part of society where everything obeyed the only possible course.

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Is Edna Pontellier selfish?

There is no absolute answer to this question. If we focus on her awakening to herself, she is not selfish because she constantly advances on her way to discovering her true identity that is to try to be independent of her husband and children. Besides that, I think she might be selfish to some extent.

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle…They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.

(p. 9)

Here her image has been clearly pointed out that she is not a mother-woman (normal woman), which means that what she did is out of keeping with the social standards of the time. After the experience on Grand Isle, her desire and passion for art, freedom, sexual satisfaction and so on has been awakened. So she begins to have varied fantasies and continuously chase them, but she almost never consider the consequence of her actions and needs of others. Marital infidelity thus becomes a solution to her desire not to become her husband’s possession. And she does not hesitate to leave the child to the nanny for her own needs. All these decisions  represent her way of being independent are selfish.

She began to do as she liked and to feel as she liked. She completely abandoned her Tuesdays at home, and did not return the visits of those who called upon her…so far as she was able, lending herself to any passing caprice.

(p. 67)

This passage also directly demonstrates her impractical behavior for her own desire. Likewise, abandoning housework becomes a way to become independent. Doing whatever she wants has also become her current motivation. Regardless of the feelings of others and the constraints of social moral standards, do everything you think is interesting and right. Perhaps this is literally a selfish explanation.

Anyway, in her pathway of looking for her identity, most her behaviors reveal this selfishness. Perhaps suicide is the best relief for herself, but is it not a selfish act to end her life in this way?

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Is Edna Pontellier Selfish? – Eloise Richardson

Is Edna Pontellier selfish?

In Kate Chopin’s Novel, The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is beginning to discover her meaning as a person, as well as her position in the universe (pg. 15). The way women are treated is more like objects rather than people. Husbands see their wives as their property. “‘you are burnt beyond recognition’ he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of property” (pg. 2). From Enda’s perspective, getting out of the marraige was not selfish. She was doing what she had to for herself as she realized her worth.

Her actions also affects how Mr. Pontellier raises his children. At the beginning of the novel, Mr Pontellier says it is the mothers job to take care of their kids (pg. 6). This was after he had already been gone all night leaving Mrs. Pontellier to feed the kids and get them to bed. Without her being there, will force him to take more responsibility.

The only part about Mrs. Pontellier that is selfish, is the way she does things. She was having an affair with Robert while still being married to her husband. There isn’t enough communication between them for a healthy loving relationship. However, the lack of communication was on both parts, Leonce often leaves to the bar and not tell her when he would be back or if he would be needing dinner upon return (pg 3). This caused extra strain on Mrs. Pontellier.

Other than the poor method choices, Mrs. Pontellier was not selfish, she is just practicing self growth.

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Is Edna Pontellier Selfish?

It is arguable that Edna Pontellier is very selfish and that is the reason she does not want to oblige to her family, however that would only be a reflection of her emotional immaturity. In the time setting of the novel, there were countless obligations that were socially expected of a woman. Caring for their family, their household, and doing endless tasks for their children and husbands. However, Edna does not do any of these things. In chapter 3, Mr. Pontellier is sure that one of their sons has a fever and insists Edna should check on him. Edna insists the child has no fever as he fell asleep perfectly fine. However, after much prodding from her husband she goes to check on the child. Her initial neglect of her ailing child is a reflection of her selfishness as well as a lack of desire to be the motherly figure that is expected of her. Although she does not seem to be interested in being  mother or a wife, I do not believe that is her being selfish but simply going against social standards of women in her time. It would be overwhelming having so many obligations and not being able to socially express yourself and I believe that is why Edna is perceived as selfish.

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Is Edna Pontellier Selfish?- The awakening

From reading about Edna Pontellier, there is a fine line between knowing what you want and then only caring about what you want. If I had to say, Edna is not selfish but could come off that way. When Edna begins to see the world with a different perspective, she starts to forget who she is and the things expected of her. She is just a woman who knows what she wants, I don’t think that is selfish, but powerful.

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Edna Pontellier, Selfish? -Kelvin M.

A question always discussed when mentioning Kate Chopin’s iconic novel The Awakening would be whether the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is selfish. Though there would never be a definite answer to this question, I would still try to look in the text for some evidence and reach a conclusion.

Many consider Edna selfish from her acts contradicting the common image of a mother in a patriarchal society. This argument is quite true, considering how Chopin describes her in parts of the novel:

“She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them.” (p. 21)

Within Edna’s character, she has chronic neglect towards her children, often unconsciously choosing to unsee them. This act is a grave indication of her selfishness, or rather, irresponsibility. And this is not only the role of a mother but a father too. As a parent, the act of unseeing their children must be criticized. At this point, Edna’s character gives an impression of ‘selfish.’ Later in the novel, an argument breaks out between Adele and Edna, one representing the ideal mother and wife in such a society, and the other an ‘awakened’ women unwilling to tend to the rules of patriarchy:

“ I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (p. 56)

This statement, for me, redeems Edna. This statement is ‘The Awakening’ for me. She would give anything for her child, likewise for any parent, but she would not sacrifice her individuality and rights to pursuit her own happiness. To this point, I believe Edna is irresponsible, but not selfish. Selfish, is when one sacrifices others in pursuit of personal gain and pleasure, but Edna pursuits her basic rights as an individual.

From this on, I search through the novel not for when Edna acts ‘selfish’, but for justification that her rights are oppressed by this patriarchal society. Many can be found instantly, such as how the ‘perfect husband’ Mr. Pontellier habitually views Edna not as a human being, but merely as a piece of furniture:

“You are burnt beyond recognition,” he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.” (p. 2)

This was Edna to Mr. Pontellier, a piece of furniture. An expensive and valuable piece of furniture, but still furniture nonetheless. The list drags on how the patriarchal society of 1899 mistreats women like Edna, forcing upon them responsibilities and roles while stripping them of their individuality. Under this circumstance, should an individual fighting for her own rights as a free human be criticized as merely ‘selfish’? I think not.

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Is Edna Pontellier Selfish?

One of the biggest topics in this story is about how Edna is trying to discover herself and her new identity. In some situations I think that she could potentially just be acting different because she is trying to change and discover herself, in theses situations I don’t think that it would be considered that she is selfish. Although there are some situations where she isn’t being selfish, there are still multiple situations where she is acting selfish. One example of where Edna is being selfish is when she mentions that she would give up pretty much anything except for herself.

“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it clearer; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.” (P. 56)

I think that this quotation shows how she is mainly worried and focused on herself. When she says that she would give up pretty much anything else it makes me think that she feels she is more important then the things she is willing to give up. This passage from the story shows how she can be selfish because he main concern and worry is about herself. Another example of when Edna acts selfish in the story is when she is refusing to go to her sisters wedding.

“Edna and her father had a warm, and almost violent dispute upon the subject of her refusal to attend her sister’s wedding” (P. 83)

This quotation also shows how Edna Pontellier can be selfish because it seems like she is so focused on what she wants, and what will make her happy that she is not even thinking about her sister. I think that if her sister was inviting her to the wedding she should have gone because it is what her sister would have wanted not what she was wanting.

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Is Edna Pontellier Selfish?

In my opinion, Edna Pontellier is not selfish. At times, she does seem like she is being selfish, like when she does not take care of their children while Mr. Pontellier is out, but I think this is just her being unhappy with her situation. She does not seem to want to follow the societal norms of that time, when women stayed at home and cooked and took care of their children. However, I do not think this is her being selfish, I just think she is trying to discover who she is and how much potential she has as an individual, not just a wife. Also, I do not think her husband treats her as an individual, but as a possession. For example, on page 2, it says:

” ‘you are burnt beyond recognition’ he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of property”.

This shows that he did not think of Edna as an individual, which is why I do not think the way she acts is selfish, because in my opinion Mr. Pontellier does not treat her very well.

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The Awakening- Is Edna Pontellier selfish?

Kate Chopin’s The awakening is all about Edna Pontellier discovering her new identity. This made her act out of the social convention, surprising the other character. This is why we ask ourselves is she really is selfish. Is it selfish to act upon what you believe?  Or, to what extent can someone do what they really want with interfering with others.  I think that this passage of the book is really interesting since we see how she acts as she believes she should.

I suppose this is what you would call unwomanly; but I have got into a habit of expressing myself. It doesn’t matter to me, and you may think me unwomanly if you like.

In this part, she makes Robert uncomfortable, which I found really interesting because at the time (in the 1800s) it was wrong or uncommon to have women behaving as Edna did. After all of this, I concluded that she in fact was somewhat selfish.

The children appeared before her like little antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into soul’s slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them.

She understood that her decision had affected his sons, but also knew that if she does what is best for them, she will be giving up on herself. I think it was okay for her to go out of the social standards, but she did so only thinking of herself. And prioritized her identity over everything else.

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Edna Pontellier – Selfish?

Edna Pontellier can be perceived as selfish when she refuses to go to her sisters wedding. “Edna and her father had a warm, and almost violent dispute upon the subject of her refusal to attend her sister’s wedding” [83]. Here, Edna is only thinking about herself and not her sister who, I would imagine, would like edna attend to her wedding. If Edna was not selfish, she would attend her sisters wedding. Later, when she meets a man at the horse races, she realizes something about her marriage. “her husband seem to her now like a person whom she had married without love as an excuse” [91]. Edna realizes that she has married her husband not because of love but because of his wealth. This is selfish as Edna was only thinking of herself in the marriage not her partner as well. From these two examples we can clearly see that Edna is Selfish and thinks only of herself.

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is edna selfish? Josefa Ortega

The book “The Awakening” takes place in 1899, that was the year when the feminist movement was beginning, yet it was still obliterated by the society. During that time women were expected to take care of their children and husband as if it was their only task in life, so when we read the novel it is expected to think that Edna Pontellier is being selfish for not taking care of her  children specially when she is being compared to other women who were more idealized as to what she should have been, for example in chapter IV when it is being said that her children would not go to her if they fell it says

“In short Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-woman seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle” (Ch. IV, P. 9).

The other mother-woman who are mentioned are described like this, 

“They were women who idolized her children, worshiped their husbands and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels” (Ch. IV, P. 9).

As we read the book we see that Edna is nothing like this, I think that she is not selfish, I believe she was very oppressed by her husband and society and because of that she wanted to experience something different, it is true that she was somehow rude to her family to just neglect them but for me it is understandable. The author wanted for women to feel independent Edna started to become just that in the book, in chapter XVI, Edna and Adele argue about what a mother owes to her children and Edna says

“ I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (Ch. XVI, P. 59)

and I believe that this can sound selfish but we don’t think as how she was being controlled for most of her life without thinking of her own wishes and what she wanted to do with her life.

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Selfishness

Since the beginning of the book, we can clearly see how Edna’s only purpose is to fulfill her biggest ambition of pleasing no one but herself.  “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn’t give myself. I can´t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning  to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.” (XVI, 56). It is clear how she does put herself before her children, and despite it being extremely rebellious at those times, it still would be nowadays.

Closer to the end, Edna rids herself of any responsibilities and duties within her daily life and her household. “She began to do as she liked and to feel as she liked. She completely abandoned her Tuesdays at home and did not return the visits of those who called upon her. She made no ineffectual efforts to conduct her household en bonne menagerie, going and coming as it suited her fancy, and, so far as she was able, lending to any passing caprice.” (XIX, 67) Not only she became careless but she also kept treating herself whenever she had the chance to.

The fact alone that she sees her own children as a burden and blames them for her condition is not only selfish but immoral. Afterward to leave her children and husband alone.

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Is Edna Pontellier selfish? -Andrea Ita

In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin we see how the main character Edna Pontellier can seem selfish for her actions throughout the story. But is she selfish or is she just self -centered?  I think that she is not selfish, all Edna wants is independence, and she realizes that she is not maternal or the perfect wife, thanks to his husband’s actions, she comes to this realization right at the end of the book. But  Edna’s personality might be confused with her being selfish because she just wants to find herself and she has a lot to face because in one side, she starts experiencing a lot of passion for the first time in her life, but also a lot of pain, so all she really wants is to be alone. An example of this is when she says

“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it clearer; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.” (P. 56)

I think it’s also because of how her husband sees her, his character can be perceived as a little bit misogynist because of how women were seen at that time, he expects her to be the perfect wife, but she realizes that she is not maternal at all. For example, when he says,

“if it was not a mother’s place to look after children, who’s on earth was it?” (P. 6)

I think Edna is struggling with finding her identity because she is being labeled by society on her having to be the perfect mother or the perfect wife. I think that this also has to do with the title of the book, she is not selfish she is just experiencing the awakening of her real identity and true self.

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Is selfish another word for confused?

 How does Edna’s actions in the “awakening” at the start, contribute to how we foresee her. When I was reading other posts about Edna, I saw that lots of people giving the same examples, yet telling both sides of the story. In my opinion, I can not see how others find her unselfish. She focuses solely upon liberating herself from boundaries that constrain her and she achieves almost all that she desires. Her affair, treatment of others, and suicide were completely uncalled for and singleminded. Although Edna consistently acted selfishly, she was never denied support from anyone who she was acquainted with. 

Edna has two young boys who yes, she does love, yet she does not feel attached to them. Raoul, age four, and Etienne, age five, were treated in the opposite manner, “if one of the little Pontellier boys took a tumble whilst at play, he was not apt to rush crying to his mother’s arms for comfort; he would more likely pick himself up, wipe the water out of his eyes and the sand out of his mouth, and go on playing” [7]. This shows that Edna was disconnected from her children and it is further emphasized when Chopin wrote, “in short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman” (8). This further emphasizes how Edna is not a woman who has motherly qualities, as further demonstrated by this excerpt:

“She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. The year before they had spent part of the summer with their grandmother Pontellier in Iberville. Feeling secure regarding their happiness and welfare, she did not miss them except with an occasional intense longing. Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself. It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her.” 

In the book, even Mr. Pontellier’s mother is worried about the Pontellier children. As Mr. Pontellier travels frequently,  Edna is left to care for the children Edna should not have had children if she knew she was not able or willing to take care of them. Edna herself acts in a very childish and improper way, as she simply gives her children to their nurse if she is not in a caring mood. 

Edna again acted more selfishly when she and Robert LeBrun were deeply in love with one another and having an affair. This was made clear throughout the book, especially when Mademoiselle Reisz is having a conversation with Edna regarding Robert’s letters. Mademoiselle Reisz says to Edna, “It’s because he loves you, poor fool” (80), and she questions her, “are you in love with Robert” (81)? She simply replies, “yes” (81). However, as Robert and Mr. Pontellier are gone, Edna discovers another person for whom she can share her passions with, Alcée Arobin. This relationship demonstrates how weak and selfish Edna really is. She is not in love with Arobin, as she still loves Robert, but she still cheats on Robert until he returns home. At their first encounter when he returns, she remains with Arobin, as Robert is not willing to say whether he loves her or not. However, as soon as Robert says that he loves her, Arobin completely disappears from Edna’s life. She is a married woman who cheats on all of her lovers because she is self-centred.

Toward’s the end of the novel, Edna’s actions prove her selfishness even further. Her suicide and dismissal of her own children, husband, and lovers show how she is far too self-centred to have any long term relationship. Right before committing suicide, Edna thought about her husband, Raoul, and Etienne: “They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could posses her, body and soul” (116). She has little concern over their wellbeing but rather discovers a reason to commit suicide. Her final thought was about Robert, “He did not know; he did not understand. He would never understand” (116). She has not considered breaking her dear lover’s heart, but rather how he had never understood her. Edna had abandoned every person who she had cared for and relied upon, without much thought. With all this in mind, Edna, in my opinion, is a very selfish person. Having a relationship while still in a marriage, committing suicide without any thought, and others are the reasons why I think Edna is selfish. However, a theory that I have is that Edna never put any thought into her life at the start or was scared of what was going to happen. When she met Leonce, she jumped to the idea of what she thought she wanted, as that seems to be the just of what others at the time thought of him. As stated at the start of the book, “ Mr. Pontellier was a great favourite, and ladies, men, children, even nurses, were always on hand to say goodbye to him” [8], Edna could have seen that other liked and wanted a man like Mr. Pontllier, and as she was described as good looking, ended up with him very easily and never truly had figured out what type of person she wanted to be with. But, regardless of that, I can not get over what Edna has done and therefore, I will say she is a very selfish person. 

 

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Is Edna selfish? [The Awakening]

Is Edna really being selfish for choosing herself over others? The answer varies. With the setting being in the 19th century, women’s main priority should be to take care of their children. On the other hand, Edna is described as not a “mother-woman”. During an exchange of argument about what a mother owes to her children, Edna proclaims that her individuality is more important than motherhood,

“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn’t give myself” (p. 57).

Edna’s adolescence pushes her to strive for self-discovery, resulting in her neglecting responsibilities such as maternity. 

 

Edna betrays the trust of Leonce Pontellier, whom she’s married to when she confesses her feelings towards Robert. Mademoiselle Reisz questions Edna,

“Are you in love with Robert” (p. 81)?

As Edna replies with a simple,

“yes” (p. 81).

Although, while both her husband and Robert are gone, she finds another person to share her passion with, Alcee Arobin. This demonstrates her selfish ways as she is not in love with Arobin, nevertheless, she still keeps him around for her own desires of affection. However, soon as Robert professes his love for Edna, she abandons Arobin. Edna’s way of cheating, both on her husband and Robert, reveals to us that she is egotistic. 

 

Approaching the end of the novel, Edna shares her final thought about Robert before she commits suicide,

“he did not know; he did not understand. He would never understand” (p. 116).

Instead of contemplating how she would break her dearest companion’s heart with her final act, she only reflects on how he had never understood her. Edna deserts everyone who had cared for her and who she had relied upon, without much consideration. 

 

Edna’s actions can be justified with social standards today. However, She did them all in aiming to fill the void in her miserable life, where she had no control over anything without the approval of a man. Edna sees more to her life, potentials, and dreams, although she never had the chance to proceed as she could not handle the consequences it came with. As a mother and as a lover, Edna is selfish. As an individual, her choice of putting herself first in any circumstances and to control her own destiny makes her almost admirable.

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Is Edna selfish?

In the book The Awakening, we see two sides of the story which leads me to be undecided. Edna’s naiveness and reliance on her husband’s income had made me conclude her selfish. And yet she chose her family before love interest and herself which shows a side of she’s not selfish.

“The acme of bliss, which would have been a marriage with the trage-
dian, was not for her in this world. As the devoted wife of a man who worshiped her, she felt she would take her place with a certain dignity in the world of reality, closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams.” (Act7, 22)

Society in 1899 holds traditional values such as women catering the child and men go to work. Due to these values, women are expected to be responsible for house chores and tend their husbands. Women are being scolded by men when they voice their own opinion.

“You ought to feel that such things are not flattering to say to a fellow.”… “Should our whole intercourse consist of an exchange of compliments? Ma foi!”…“It isn’t pleasant to have a woman tell you—” (Act8, p24-25)

We could understand why Edna would be perceived to be selfish as she is irresponsible as a mother.

“She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” (Act7,p23)

Although it is rude to neglect her own children to live in her own terms, society in 1899 would not allow women to be in charge of their own life. It is understandable that she wants to change her fate. It is debatable if she is selfish or not because she is a woman who wants to take control of her life, but she has established a family already which makes it difficult for her to be free without having complications and consequences.

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Duality of selfishness

Selfishness is the opposite of altruism, meaning being concerned excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others (from Wikipedia). In Kate Chopin’s book “The Awakening”, she tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young, married lady with two children, who’s life views change completely throughout the summer vacation. The book shows the process character development, spicing it with the obstacles that Edna has to get windward of, arguing the position of women in the society, criticizing established norms towards women and questioning love, and the institute of marriage as a whole. However, to answer the question “is Edna Pontellier selfish?”, we have to look closer, from different angles and perspectives.

My observation starts right on the first pages of the book, where Edna Pontellier is introduced as a happy, married woman. She is at her cottage, talking to a young man called Robert Lebrun, after bathing. The picture of an ideal life where nothing happens is drawn. Yet, one thing in this almost utopian chapter gives away the alarming set of actions that await for the reader:

“You are burnt beyond recognition,” he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.
(Chapter I, pg. 2)

This unhidden message left by the author sets the first concerning thought about the plot. Kate Chopin describes the way Edna’s husband looks at her as if Edna was nothing more than a valuable object, property of Mr. Pontellier, however, Edna does not show any reaction to that. She continues to laugh and enjoy her chat with Robert. Edna is happy and joyful, at least so it seems, despite the way her husband treats her.

However, this illusion is harshly and quickly broken, when Mr. Pontellier repeats this type of behavior straight after, at the start of Chapter 2:

He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?… [Mr. Pontellier falls asleep]… She began to cry a little, and wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her peignoir… She could not have told why she was crying. Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life… An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish…
(Chapter III, pg. 6-7)

In this part, Kate Chopin shows what is “behind the scenes” of what at first sight looks like a happy life. Edna is unhappy, even though her husband cares her with kindness and money, he also depresses her with allegations about her suggested carelessness towards children and housekeeping to the point where she cries. Here, there are two ways of looking at the situation. One might say that Edna is being oppressed by her husband, that she does not deserve this kind of treatment and she must stand up for herself, making her the victim. However, someone might also settle with Mr. Pontellier’s position, claiming that while he brings all the money home and pays for all expenses, Edna is weak and irresponsible in the ways of housekeeping, making her the cause of the problem. In my opinion, both sides of the argument are right but need to be combined to achieve the answer. While Edna is affected by the way her husband treats her, she did accept him and marry him, therefore as a responsible human being, should have forethought. However, Edna Pontellier is not responsible at all:

Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident… He fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with an earnestness and an ardor which left nothing to be desired. He pleased her; his absolute devotion flattered her.
(Chapter VII, pg. 21)

As with the children, Robert and all changes she makes, Edna does not think things through, her thoughts are full of emotions, much like a teenager who is trying to sort out their life not knowing what knob and where to tweak. So when Robert shows up, Edna gets a grasp of intoxicating freedom which throws her mind around in her own head. Therefore Edna is the one responsible for the consequences of her actions.

As the story progresses, Edna Pontellier starts building and developing her character, partially thanks to Madame Ratignolle who is portraying a person opposite to Edna and helping her out with life advice and emotional guidance, and Robert Lebrun, who shows her that what Leonce Pontellier has to offer is not everything and she does not have to be a housewife. He caresses her with sweet words and respect, and in the end, she does give up to it. Edna opens up and starts to realize that she is not satisfied with her life, that she is not her husband’s dog to control, and starts making changes. She picks up painting, confronts her husband, and makes some changes around the house. These changes seem to be for the better, she looks to be happier than before:

“How handsome Mrs. Pontellier looked!” said Madame Lebrun to her son.
Ravishing!” he admitted. “The city atmosphere has improved her. Some way she doesn’t seem like the same woman.”
(Chapter XX, pg. 72)

However, while she is doing so, she forgets about everything else. She moves into a different house, she gives away the children to their grandmother and hosts a big evening for her friends, while her husband pays the bills. So again Edna is in a difficult position in the question of selfishness. She tries to improve her life, but that comes at the expense of her family and relatives. Previously I made a point that Edna is selfish because she acts irresponsibly while being responsible for the consequences of her actions. That point can be applied here as well. Whatever Edna is doing, for the sake of her own happiness or not, her past actions have resulted in a family, children, relationships, and she should forethink what her actions will cost her, as any of them will have an effect on others (including her children), and for any of them, she may be held responsible. However, in the end, she cheats – by killing herself. This is a very sensitive subject that involves more questions that are subjective to each person, such as what is the value of human life? My view on it is that Edna, high on the intoxicating freedom of choice and feelings forgets about all other lives she affects, such as her own children (in the book Edna does admit she would not sacrifice herself for her children though) and makes critical actions.

At this point, some might expect me to conclude calling Edna selfish. Howbeit, I have to acknowledge that Edna’s character is fictional, it has been created and developed by the author to prove a point, which is not to show that Edna is selfish. So the answer to the question really depends on the prism through which we shed the light of this story. If we inspect Edna’s character, her inability to evaluate her own past and forethink her own actions does mean she is selfish. However, if we are ready to let this skip for the sake of authors point, then no, Edna is not selfish.

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“At the ‘Cadian Ball”and “The Storm”

In the passage of “At the ‘Cadian Ball'”, because of Alcee‘s rejection, Calixta accepts Bobinot’s love directly and promises to marry Bobinot, which makes Bobinot feel overjoyed. Obviously, emotions dictate Calixta’s decision at that time. In contrast to Calixta’s attraction to Alcee, Alcee truly loves Clarisee. Because Clarisee gradually begins to like Alcee, plus Alcee’s final cajoling of Clarisee,  which makes them finally together.

For The Storm”, Calixa and Alcee  are not really happy in their respective marriages. If Calixa is truly happy in her marriage, she will not have sex with Alicee. Likewise, Alcee is able to experience new pleasures while having sex with Calixta, a sign that his love life with his wife is not full. We can say that the various limitations of marriage deprive Calixa and Alicee  of their sexual pleasure in their respective marriages, so that they will have extramarital affairs in the context of storms. In the passage, such disloyalty on the part of both of them in the storm makes everyone happy in the end. Furthermore, author even reflects that sexual satisfaction outside of marriage is not negative and can increase the strength and happiness of the relationship between two people (As far as I am concerned, I cannot accept such behavior).

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June 1st Independent reading journal

In the Part 1 chapter 10 of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, we can see that the idea of stealing comes to Richard after he finds that the savings he is saving every day mopping the hotel floor are too low.
In his hesitation he also ponders the link between racism and theft. Before that, Richard keeps changing jobs, like under the constant threat of racial discrimination, he often made mistakes that cost him his job. For example, on the way out of a hotel he complains about the wrongdoings of a black woman who has been harassed by a white man.

The southern whites would rather have had Negros who stole, work for them than Negroes who knew, however dimly, the worth of their own humanity. Hence, whites placed a premium upon black deceit; they encouraged irresponsibility.                                                                                                                                       (p. 200)

I like this passage because this is probably a true relationship between racism and black theft. White people encourage black people to commit stealing or other unethical behavior in order to support their theory that black people are inferior. As Richard is trying to reflect, the reason why white people encourage irresponsibility of black people is to support the lie of black inferiority. Like once black people show a normal human face or show all the true values of a human being (do right things), white people will feel scared because they are afraid that their own unjust positions will be untenable.

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June 1st IRJ

The book Candide by Voltaire starts off about the life of a boy named Candide who lives in a castle in Westphalia. He kicked out of the castle and sets out on an adventure, Candide believes that everything happens for a reason.  About halfway through the story they reach the land of EL Dorado. This land seems to be imaginary because of the way Voltaire discribes it.

 The old man received the two strangers on a sofa stuffed with humming bird feathers and served them various liquors in diamond goblets (p. 57)

This quote is important to the story because the Land of El Dorado is a main event in the story. It is also one of the most interesting parts because of the imaginary aspect which which helps develop a clear picture the scene mentally.

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Great literature does not send messages! It raises questions and explores possibilities.