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Faust and Frankenstein
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Goethe in Faust and Shelley in Frankenstein, wrap their stories around two men whose mental and physical actions parallel one another. Both stories deal with characters, who strive to be the übermensch in their world. In Faust, the striving fellow, Faust, seeks physical and mental wholeness in knowledge and disaster in lust. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein struggles for control over one aspect of nature and disastrously, through the monster, nature controls him to a much greater degree. Many powers are much too mighty for mortal souls, a lesson that Frankenstein and Faust learn by the end of their tales. While...
lack of maturity which Frankenstein contains but also the thoughtlessness that he has toward his creation. Frankenstein reveals, through his running, fainting and the coma that he had not thought of the ramifications and responsibilities that his creation entailed.

Before they created, Faust and Frankenstein thought that the mere creation and use of a magic-like powers would imediately bring joy to their lives. However, when their magical creations became reality and brought them more pain they removed themselves from the situation. It can be seen then that using these magical powers in order to gain material objects is destructive

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Several conflicting frames of mind have...Several conflicting frames of mind have played defining roles in shaping humanity throughout the twentieth century. Philosophical optimism of a bright future held by humanity in general was taken advantage of by the promise of a better life through sacrifice of individuality to the state. In the books Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 clear opposition to these subtle entrapments was voiced in similarly convincing ways. They first all established, to varying degrees of balance, the atmosphere and seductiveness of the "utopia" and the fear of the consequences of acting in the non-prescribed way through character development. A single character is alienated because of their inability to conform "“ often in protest to the forced conditions of happiness and well being. Their struggle is to hide this fact from the state's relentless supervision of supposedly everything. This leads them to eventually come into conflict with some hand of the state which serves as the authors voice presenting the reader with the 'absurdity' of the principles on which the society is based. The similar fear of the state's abuse of power and technology at the expense of human individuality present within these novels speaks to the relevance of these novels within their historical context and their usefulness for awakening people to the horrendous consequences of their ignorance. In these novels the main characters are, or become, unable to conform to the society's standards. These characters represent the authors' view of the 'utopia' as they see it with the veil of ignorance removed. In 1984, for instance, we start out with a character, Winston, who is constantly observing the ironies of the world about him. Through his job at the ministry of truth, he becomes a hand of the state, creating fiction to support its endeavors: "Comrade Ogilvy, unimagined an hour ago, was now a fact "¦ he would exist just as authentically "¦ as Charlemange and Julius Caesar." 1984, p54 As the book progresses he becomes more aware of his individuality and eventually is unable to hide it. Similarly in Fahrenheit 451, Montag becomes aware of problems with his society, but not logically - emotionally. It disturbs him greatly when a medical team that helps his wife appear and disappear within a matter of minutes: "There are too many of us, he thought. There are billions of us and that's too many. Nobody knows anyone." F451,p14 He becomes further agitated when a casual encounter with an 'antisocial' normal by our standards youth asks him if he's really happy. When these and other questions weigh upon his mind he begins to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with the world he is living in. In Brave New World the main character, Bernard, is set apart from society by physical differences, which, in a society of 'engineered' people is extremely inhibiting. It is these 'defects' which cause him to look for a deeper meaning than the drug induced happiness forced upon him. These characters, although alienated in the novels, are believable and rational. The acts of their questioning in their search for the truth and real emotion persuade the reader to do the same thing. It is in this manner that the utility of these novels becomes apparent; through the demands they make of the reader personally - a superior social commentary, one that demands interaction, is born. The characters' struggles to hide their newly found individuality is a futile one. In Orwell's interpretation of the totalitarian state of 1984, the society is technically and urbanly engineered to spy on and perceive people's very thoughts. The society justifies these invasions by eliminating the importance of the individual. The constant barrage of information regarding the greatness of the state and Big Brother's supremacy over the common man forces everyone in good mental health to accept these as the only unchanging facts. Any deviation from these beliefs would be immediately noticeable, and almost impossible to hide. This is what Orwell feared, from experience. After the world wars he surely couldn't help but realize the extent to which the public had been vehemently directed against the 'ultimate enemy' and the common propaganda techniques of getting the public to seek out spies amongst themselves. When individuality itself becomes the crime the horrifying dystopia ensues. Fahrenheit 451 accomplished a similar effect as Montag struggled to hide his guilt over the fact that he possessed books, which were illegal. His incrimination seems imminent as he notices many subtleties that suggest the authorities are onto him. This is especially apparent as he is complaining about the mechanical hound threatening him at the station "“ then makes the possible connection: "Montag "¦stood thinking of the ventilator grille at home and what lay behind the grille. If someone here in the fire house knew about the ventilator then mightn't they 'tell' the Hound "¦?" F451, p25 As in 1984, this novel attempts to instill in the reader a sincere fear of the loss of their individual freedoms as well as the ability of such a technologically advanced society to find deviants. Eventually all the alienated characters come before some prophesizing hand of the government who is ready to rationalize the right and duty of the government to posses such control over its people. In 1984 this is during the torture of Winston for his crime of not loving Big Brother. Orwell then reveals the horrors of an advanced dystopia through O'brien such as the death of the individual: "Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind"¦ only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal." 1984, p261 As well he goes into great depth as to the advancement of the parties strategy against its enemies: "We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them." 1984, p265 Beatty, the fire chief in Fahrenheit 451 discovers Montags affinity for books. As a result, he explains that books were made illegal because they always offend somebody. The new society, as he explains, allows all people, rich and poor, stupid and smart to "get a sense of motion without moving" F451, p56 In this sense, the diversion of otherwise competent people into useless tasks and past times is the particular concern and fear of the author. Finally, in Brave New World , John, a 'savage' not raised by the society asks the world leader, Mustapha Mond, why they do not show films like Othello. Mustapha cites that not showing that kind of film is the "price we have to pay for stability." As well, he speaks of the necessity for different classes of people to be in operation, even though more efficient methods through science exist. The prime directive of all these 'utopias' is to pacify their public and either thrill them with the collective being of a nation, or sedate them with excitement and drugs. The authors therefor saw the 'utopian' societies to be a trap for weak minded publics, and that once in place, such systems would be able to perpetuate indefinitely due to the efficiency at which they protect and propagate themselves. Through fear, diversion and sedation the utopia can maintain a strong grip on the people it encompasses before anyone realizes the sacrifices made. The popularity of these books does rule out the possibility of such a society coming into existence in the future, however. The state of people is not about to change, and their ignorance will continue regardless of the harshness of the wake up calls issued.   

Several conflicting frames of mind have played defining roles in shaping humanity throughout the twentieth century. Philosophical optimism of a bright future held by humanity in general was taken advantage of by the promise of a better life through sacrifice of individuality to the state. In the books Brave New...

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One of the many fascinating themes...One of the many fascinating themes in the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye," brings us face to face with a jarring assault not unlike road rage on modern society and serves as a wake up call to each succeeding generation of its readers. J.D. Salinger, speaking through the protagonist Holden Caulfield, exposes the bogus standards and false values and the insensitive, sham relationships we face in our pretentious modern society. Alone, Holden stands tall against those counterfeit standards and the flagrant hypocrisy that surrounds us in the most casual and innocuous of life's endeavors"”a simple conversation, and all from a quixotic yet desultory view of society. It is almost ironic that we learn this from the first person point of view. Salinger popularized the interior monologue in this novel. This approach helps us to understand Holden, observing a society he cannot accept, forever the outsider desperately clinging to the garish, ostentatious red hunting cap that is emblematic of a childish security blanket or a badge of honor. What is a phony? Webster's Collegiate defines it as someone or something that is fraudulent or spurious. When Holden uses the word "corny," he means fake or artificial, as in a false character or appearance. Holden sincerely believes that society in general claims an appearance of importance not justified by the thing's value or the person's standing. Holden seems obsessed with the concept since he uses it on pages 52, 77, 84, 86, 100, 142, 151, 172, and 205. In Chapter One, Holden describes Pencey's ad campaign as "strictly for the birds." He tells Spencer that he was "surrounded by phonies" in an earlier prep school. Even the headmaster discriminated against "funny-looking parents" on visiting day. Holden labels teachers and administrators phonies because they are less than perfect. He even dismisses his brother, D. B. as a phony for selling out to "Hollywood". He criticizes the disciples for being human, yet he is the atheist. In Chapter Three, Holden continues his view of phoniness in the business world when he talks about the dorm named for Ossenburger. Most of the novelthen focuses on earnest but futile attempts by Holden for a close encounter of the third kind or to reach out and touch someone. One wonders whether Holden would have availed himself of 911 or help hotlines that were not in vogue then. But then telephony is not his strong suit, what with only 3 phone numbers in his address book. Unfortunately, these cacophonous dialogues end in hostility. He seems to self-destruct in his mission impossible chats with Ackley, Stradlater, the 3 women, Sally Hayes, and Carl Luce. Comedienne Joan Rivers could have stolen the line, "Can we talk?" from Holden. Others like Lillian Simmons, Ernie the piano player, the people in magazine stories, and even the ministers in all his prep schools are putting on airs, a façade, a persona. This failure to communicate is mostly his fault, though. It's almost as if he lashes out at himself in a self-flagellating ritual. Whether Holden's society fails him at home, in school, in religion, or in extraordinary interactions with ordinary people, the fear of a "phony" imperfect and inconstant society, in the end, overwhelms Holden. Is he justified? In Holden's mind, indubitably. Will he"apply" himself or revert to shadow boxing with his nemesis once he leaves the rest home? Only J. D. knows the answer to that question, and he absconded to the "woods" and isn't talking. But Holden does leave us with a few context clues, if you know how to read between the lines, that lead one to believe that he sees the light at the end of his tunnel vision.   

One of the many fascinating themes in the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye," brings us face to face with a jarring assault not unlike road rage on modern society and serves as a wake up call to each succeeding generation of its readers. J.D. Salinger, speaking through the protagonist...

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Oedipus' life is revealed during the...Oedipus' life is revealed during the hours on stage. It is difficult to think of another play in which unity of time as a formal property of the drama contributes more to meaning. Every step Oedipus takes to solve the old murder mystery, every new confrontation with those he summons to appear with pieces of the past, every one of their chance disclosures, brings him closer both to the solution he seeks and to the self discovery he does not foresee. When the last piece falls into place the detective becomes the criminal, his success his doom, his happy ignorance tragic knowledge, and the evil without the evil within. Such a summary description of the plot points to heavy ironic nature. Dramatic irony operates whenever the audience is aware of some circumstance in plot or character that gives meaning beyond or at odds with that which the speaker consciously intends, or changes a situation with the significance unsuspected by the character caught in it. The more hostile the covert significance is to the unwitting ironist and the farther he is from realizing it, the more poignant the irony. Dramatic irony first begins with the appearance of Oedipus in his Kingly robes and with his first words, "I myself come hither, Oedipus, famous among all men". The pitiful towns people have appealed for aid to the one who is in reality the cause of their woe. Teresias is the blind man who sees, Oedipus the seeing man who is blind. Oedipus welcomes the information Creon brought him from Delphi. His optimism, his zeal to carry out all the commands of Apollo and to punish the murderer of Laius is ironical. In Oedipus' words to the citizen supplicant in scene 1 "sick as you are, not one is as sick as I," we hear not just the King's concern for his stricken people and his self-involvement in their fate, we also perceive the dreadful accuracy of himself. Our perception depends on our knowledge of the outcome in the persistent pattern of ironies "“ Oedipus cursing Laios's murderer, promising to avenge the dead king " just as though I were his son", and berating Teirsias for his arrogance, mocking his blindness, and accusing him of complicity in the murder. Far from being inept, premature giveaway of the plot, Sophocles' method engages our interest in the dramatic form as an image of the frailty of man's defenses, the folly of his feeling of security and power "“ hubris is the Greek word "“ and the strange inevitability of his fate. Our suspense concerning the manner in the ironies will complete themselves in the unraveling of the directed past is of a subtler kind than that produced by ignorance of outcome. If we miss the grim geometry in all this, the plot will seem only like a set of brutal facts manipulated for shock effect "“ not so much an irrelevant as an inadequate response. Oedipus even goes further by exhorting them in the search for the murderer of Laios, he proclaims his curse on the murderer with dreadful irony, interdicts him from concourse with Thebans and emphasizes his own zeal in the cause. Irony is a rhetorical device for holding different or opposite truths in suspension, for focusing on the discrepancy between what seems to be and what is. It is therefore properly the sustaining mode of a tragedy of self-ignorance. At the beginning of the play Oedipus has a clear and single purpose: to find Laios 's murderer. When he later begins to pursue his own parentage the obvious irony is that wise and self assured man doesn't' realize that his purpose has changed. The deeper irony is that it hasn't really changed, since the answer to the question of whose son he is also the answer to the question who killed Laios. Pride motivates both quests.   

Oedipus' life is revealed during the hours on stage. It is difficult to think of another play in which unity of time as a formal property of the drama contributes more to meaning. Every step Oedipus takes to solve the old murder mystery, every new confrontation with those he summons...

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