Related Keywords

No Related Keywords

Register NowHow It Works Need Essay Need Essay
Shelley began writing 'Frankenstein' in the company of what has been called 'her male coterie', including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and particularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: '[The] characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect . . . Shelley's conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her.' Certainly the male characters in 'Frankenstein' are more developed that those of the females. Elizabeth Fay has suggested that the female characters are 'idealised figures' in much of Shelley's work, particularly in the descriptions of Caroline and Elizabeth, the two mother figures in the novel. Caroline is, on surface value, a perfect parent, together with her husband, which renders Victor's irresponsibility in abandoning the creature more unforgivable. She 'possessed a mind of uncommon mould' which was also 'soft and benevolent'; she is compared to a 'fair exotic' flower which is sheltered by Alphonse; she drew 'inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow' on Victor, and her 'tender caresses' are some of his 'first recollections'. She is the idealised mother, a figure that Shelley viewed wistfully, as her own mother died when she was ten days old to be replaced by a disinterested stepmother. Caroline's parenting provides the care that Frankenstein might well have lacked, had he been left to his father alone "“ his father dismisses Agrippa's work without explanation, thereby setting Victor on his course towards 'destruction'. This is the first introduction of a theme that continues throughout the book, that of the necessity for female figures in parenting and in society. Without a mother figure and left only with Frankenstein who subsumes both parental roles, the creature's life is blighted by his imperfection and lack of companionship. However, Caroline is also the trigger to Alfonse's chivalry, thus presenting him in an improved light and allowing his character to develop at the expense of her own weakness. This is a feminist comment from Shelley, whose mother Mary Wollenstonecraft was a notorious feminist and an important influence. Justine, too, is an 'idealised figure', described during the trial as having a countenance which, 'always engaging, was rendered, by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful.' She is the archetypal innocent, being beautiful, weak and entirely accepting of her fate to the point of martyrdom. She would doubtless incense feminists now, accepting death with equanimity ' "I am resigned to the fate awaiting me" ' at the hands of misjudging and dominant men. She is a somewhat two-dimensional character, being compliant in all things, enduring the mistreatment by her mother and not objecting to the injustice of her condemnation. In this sense she serves merely as a plot device, used to introduce the evil of the creature and to show Frankenstein's cowardice in refusing to defend her in time. Here she is another feminine figure used to further a male character's development, just as Caroline was used to develop the character of Alfonse. She is also a vehicle for Shelley's attack on the contemporary judiciary system, which explains her name. The character of Safie is used by Shelley as a direct attack on sexism. Safie is a stronger character than the other women in the novel, as she defies her father in escaping to join Felix. Shelley comments upon the state of 'bondage' inflicted on females in Islamic society at the time, which Safie objects to, encouraged to 'aspire to the higher powers of intellect, and an independence of spirit' by her mother. Shelley, in applauding this determination and self-respect on the part of women, is condemning a society which oppresses females and upholds males as superior. However, Safie is not merely used for this; she is also presented as a contrast to the creature, who is similarly separated from the De Laceys by a language barrier, but who can never be accepted by them because he lacks her 'angelic beauty'. She is an example of man's intolerance towards ugliness, as her beauty transcends the barrier of language whereas the creature's benevolence cannot. Elizabeth is the most 'idealised figure' of all the women in the novel, afforded the following romantic description: 'The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful home . . . her smile, her soft voice, the sweet glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there to bless and animate us. She was the living spirit of love to soften and attract.' She is here made to transcend ordinary mortality to become 'celestial' and 'saintly'. This makes her death more appalling and triggers Victor's active fury, whereas the suffering of the innocent Justine did not. The base murder of 'the living spirit of love' can be said to be the creature's revenge against humankind, as the killing of something so natural and integral to humanity kills happiness with it. But whilst Elizabeth is assigned this pivotal role in the novel, she is in herself two-dimensional as a character, having no friends outside of the family and no interests save 'trifling occupations' within the household. She is content to wait for Victor, despite his long absences and frequent and serious depressions. She is the idealised woman at the time of the novel's setting, being submissive, supportive and beautiful. However, the character of Elizabeth can also serve a further purpose. It has been argued by several critics that Elizabeth is the creature's opposite, that she and he together make up Victor. She is his good half and the creature his bad. Both characters are orphans and heavily dependent on Victor. Elizabeth is beautiful, good and female, whereas the creature is ugly, evil and male. The blending of the two create Victor, who has robbed himself of gender by assuming both parental roles. It has been suggested by one critic that Victor has feminine characteristics, being 'sensitive, passionate about literature . . . and becom[ing] enamoured with [other men's] voice[s] and feelings'. This theory can be supported, in that Victor attributes to Elizabeth the ability to 'subdue [him] to a semblance of her own gentleness'. By contrast, the creature unfailingly enrages Victor, causing him to lose self-control and become violent. Whilst the feminine roles are flat and manipulated to affect the character and actions of the male roles, the latter are considerably more defined. As Elizabeth Fay writes, Shelley shows the 'realistic weaknesses and frailties' of men in the novel. Walton is presented as sexist and selfish, mocking his sister's fears for his safety in his opening sentence: 'You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.' Margaret is an unsatisfactory audience, as he desires a companion 'whose eyes would reply to [his]'. This companion must necessarily be male, for how could a female possibly communicate adequately with him? However, despite this wish for male companionship, Walton possesses certain feminine characteristics, such as his distaste for violence: ' . . . my best years [having been] spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage, has so refined the groundwork of my character that I cannot overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality exercised on board ship'. He writes adoringly of 'the stranger's' 'conciliating and gentle' manners, 'unparalleled eloquence', nobility and 'cultivated' mind. Walton's ambition to discover 'uncharted territories' is arrogant, as he desires to acquire 'dominion . . . over the elemental foes of our race'. He craves idolatry and power. Shelley introduces this here so that Walton's later failure towards the close of the novel is celebrated by the reader, who has understood that Victor's arrogance has caused devastation, whereas Walton has paid little heed and is bitter in his failure. Shelley is commenting on the stupidity of male hubris, which she 'sensed in the scientific ambitions of Romantics such as her husband,' as the critic James W. Maerten has suggested. Maerten writes also of Anthony Easthope, who has drawn: 'a circular fortress as a model of the . . . masculine ego. Ego . . . is entrapped in its own defences, unable to escape the barriers it has raised against a universe [which is] an enemy . . . The most praised . . . in our civilisation are those who can contain and control the most monstrous powers: biological pathogens, nuclear fission, toxic waste, vast armies. Such Promethean desires are ultimately the illusions of Icarus.' Victor's ego causes him to desire 'a new species' which would 'bless [him] as its creator and source'. He cannot control the monster that he creates, thereby losing his essential masculinity. His attempt to defy Nature and steal God's power for himself is as fatal as Icarus' stupidity in trying to do what man cannot. This male arrogance is introduced by Alphonse, who assumes the care of Caroline and renders her submissive in gratitude. The blatancy of the strong male and weak female roles here has been condemned by some, who suggest that the imposition of a male role on Victor is a form of filicide. This is responsible for his insecurity which in turn leads to his 'overreaching ego inflation'. A critic has argued that: 'Victor Frankenstein is compulsively self-destructive, driven by forces he cannot recognise to create a son by his own efforts and without the troublesome involvement of a woman . . . [upon which] he is horrified . . . and rejects the creature totally, thereby turning the son into the very monster whose existence he has always denied in himself.' It is possible to corroborate this view to some extent, as Victor's feminine qualities conflict with his identity as a man. Shelley was concerned with the issue of gender, as in her novel 'The Last Man' she created an essentially genderless character, Lionel Verney, and discussed how he only acknowledged his gender when he viewed himself in a mirror. His reflection told him that he was an English gentleman, but without this empirical perception he had no such identity. Elizabeth Fay writes of him that he is a 'feminised ideal', 'combining masculine and feminine traits in such a way as to confute traditional notions of gender'. Robert W. Anderson writes that: 'Frankenstein's creature embodies gender transgression on two levels . . . the first being [his] status as being a surgically constructed male, the second being Victor's non-gender transgression in co-opting the female trait of reproduction, transforming his laboratory into a virtual womb.' The creature has no real gender, despite being created physically as a male. He is denied male dominance over females by Victor, who has made him too ugly to be accepted into human society and then destroys the female mate that he had partially made for him. The creature, like Victor, has feminine characteristics, being profoundly affected by literature and nature, and being sensitive to emotion. He is made male only so that there can be no sexual overtones in the relationship between himself and Victor, and the battle between them can be physical and violent as well as rhetorical. The absence of femininity in the making of the creature is its integral flaw. Despite all of Victor's efforts to make the creature perfect, it will ultimately be ugly, because it is unnatural for a male alone to reproduce. Beauty cannot result of only masculinity. Shelley is condemning a single father in this. The death of her mother left her to the care of her father, whom she adored. He often neglected her, leaving her feeling unwanted. The lack of grief on the part of her husband as their babies died augmented this conviction in men's inability to care for children alone. This reinforces her message throughout the novel of the necessity for women in society. Shelley was forced to ask her husband to claim to be the author of the novel, as women were not accepted as writers at the time. Men alone in science and education are fallible, as she suggested in making Frankenstein's experiment so disastrous. Therefore the oppression of women at the time was irrational and arrogant. Frankenstein represents flawed masculinity, as an example of a society without women. Shelley manipulated masculine and feminine gender identities in her novel to try and persuade her audience that men alone cannot create, whether it be children or art.
0 User(s) Rated!
Words: 2083 Views: 247 Comments: 0
Shelley began writing 'Frankenstein' in the company of what has been called 'her male coterie', including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and particularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: '[The] characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect . . . Shelley's conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her.' Certainly the male characters in 'Frankenstein' are more developed that those of the females. Elizabeth Fay has suggested that the female...
necessity for women in society. Shelley was forced to ask her husband to claim to be the author of the novel, as women were not accepted as writers at the time. Men alone in science and education are fallible, as she suggested in making Frankenstein's experiment so disastrous.

Therefore the oppression of women at the time was irrational and arrogant. Frankenstein represents flawed masculinity, as an example of a society without women. Shelley manipulated masculine and feminine gender identities in her novel to try and persuade her audience that men alone cannot create, whether it be children or art.

Become A Member Become a member to continue reading this essay orLoginLogin
View Comments Add Comment

What Causes Cell Phone Radiation and...What Causes Cell Phone Radiation and How Does it Effect Your Body? What is so popular with young teenagers today? Cell phones. Walking around on campus to walking around at the mall with your cell phone may seem fashionable and trendy, but did you now that it might be causing you to get a cancer? Ninety percent of cell phone holders do not realize it and it should be something everyone should be aware of. It may seem a bit unusually how a cell phone can cause a child or an adult to get cancer, but it is true. New evidence is growing fast about health risks from mobile phones "“ electromagnetic radiation. These devices can be used to make telephone calls from almost anywhere. Symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, burning sensations on the skin were more common among those who make longer phone calls. At the same time there are a growing number of unconfirmed reports of individuals whose health has been affected after chronic, frequent use of mobile phones, presumably from radiation effects on cell. There are two types of phones, one has the antenna mounted on the handset and the other has the antenna mounted on a separate transmitter or, if the telephone is installed in a vehicle, mounted on the roof or rear window. Communication between a mobile telephone and the nearest base station is achieved by the microwave emissions from the antenna. Concerns have been raised about the type of mobile telephone that has the antenna in the handset. In this case, the antenna is very close to the user"s head during normal use of the telephone and there is concern about the level of microwave emissions to which the brain is being exposed. Those telephones that have the antenna mounted elsewhere are of no concern, since exposure levels decrease rapidly with increasing distance from the antenna. Cordless telephones, which need to be operated within about 20 meters of a base unit that is connected directly to the telephone system do not have any health concerns associated with their use because exposure levels are very low. . Media reports have claimed that up to 70 percent of the microwave emissions from hand- held mobile telephones may be absorbed in the user"s head. This is not supported by the evidence, but nevertheless leads to speculation that hot spots may be created in the user"s brain, thereby raising concerns that the telephones may be a health risk. Other reports have indicated that mobile telephone users suffer localized headaches when they use their telephone. At this stage, it is difficult to evaluate the evidence supporting these reports, since they have not been published. This work on human subjects follows other phone studies in animals suggesting that radiation from mobiles may cause brain tumors, cancer, anxiety, memory loss and serious birth defects. An Australian study found that mice exposed to pulsed digital phone radiation over 18 months had twice the risk of developing cancers. An American study found that learning and short term memory were impaired after 45 minutes exposure to radiation from phones in rats. And other studies of electromagnetic radiation on pregnant mice suggest that high exposure can affect intra-uterine development, confirmed recently in chicks. The effects in humans are unknown. In Britain a 27 year old woman with a brain tumor is taking a mobile phone manufacturer to court who she blames for her tumor. A biologist, Roger Coghill has also been given permission to bring a case against a provider of mobile phone equipment for failing to warn people of radiation hazards. A wide variety of electrical devices contribute to electro smog, ranging from computers, to phones, TV sets, radar transmitter and transformers. However mobile phone radiation is certainly intense, as evidenced by the effects on aircraft navigation systems, or more obviously on a nearby conventional telephone or a music system. The brain cancer reports originated in the USA where a number of lawsuits have been lodged against mobile telephone manufacturers and suppliers. These claims for damages allege that the microwave emissions from mobile telephones used by the claimants caused their brain cancers. Those few cases that have been tried have been dismissed for lack of supporting evidence. Microwaves are but one type of electromagnetic field of the ways that these fields are described is by specifying their frequency. The range of frequencies that are useful for telecommunications include microwaves. Some public concern about mobile telephones is erroneously based on media attention to the possibility of adverse effects from exposure to power-line electromagnetic fields, which have a much lower frequency than the microwaves emitted by mobile telephones. The physical properties and biological effects of these fields are very different from microwaves and it is meaningless to extrapolate the results of those studies to the subject of this Information Bulletin. The current Australian exposure Standard is based on the well-established thermal effects of exposure to microwaves. That is, when tissue is exposed to sufficiently high levels of microwaves, the tissue is heated and damage may occur. The exposure limits are set well below levels where any significant heating occurs. The Standard also sets limits for pulsed radiation that are intended to eliminate possible effects where heating is not evident. All mobile telephones marketed in Australia must satisfy the regulatory requirements of Austel the Australian Telecommunications Authority, as well as that part of the Australian Standard that sets limits on the power output of a mobile telephone. Therefore, use of a mobile telephone is not expected to cause significant heating in any part of the body, including the brain. Some research has indicated that non-thermal effects resulting from low-level microwave exposure also occur. However, the existence of these effects has not been sufficiently established to allow for them in the Standard. A few animal studies suggest that exposure to weak microwave fields can accelerate the development of cancer. Further studies are required to establish their reproducibility and the existence or otherwise of a dose-response relationship. Whether these results are relevant to users of mobile telephones is not clear. In any event, these results cannot be dismissed at this stage. The very few studies that have been conducted on human populations epidemiological studies do not provide any direct information on possible mobile telephone hazards and hence are of limited value. The results of these studies are difficult to interpret because exposure levels were either not measured or impossible to determine from the data provided. In general, however, this type of study will be useful in identifying possible links between mobile telephone use and cancer risk. Complementary cellular and animal research is required to establish any cause-and-effect relationship and the biological mechanisms involved. The Australian Radiation Laboratory continues to closely monitor the research being conducted in this area. On the specific issue of brain cancer occurring in users of these telephones, it is important to note that such cancers existed before the introduction of mobile telephones. It is simply not possible to identify the cause of any single case of cancer. Long-term studies to investigate whether mobile telephone users have a greater incidence of, say, brain cancer than the general population have not been completed. The Commonwealth Government has established the Electromagnetic Energy Public Health Issues Committee to examine and advise on the adequacy of health exposure standards, compliance procedures, local and overseas research results and the potential for further research, all with respect to mobile telephone use, among other things. The Committee includes representatives from the Department of Health and Family Services, the Department of Communications and the Arts and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Mobile telephone companies and service providers are not represented. Late in 1996, the Commonwealth Government announced that $4.5mil would be provided for an Australian research and public information program over the next 4-5 years. The National Health and Medical Research Council will manage this research program. There is no evidence that microwave exposure from mobile telephones causes cancer, and inconclusive evidence that such exposure accelerates the growth of an already-existing cancer. More research on this issue needs to be carried out. Users concerned about the possibility of health effects can minimize their using a mobile telephone which does not have the antenna in the handset or using a "hands-free" attachment. There is no clear evidence in the existing scientific literature that the use of digital or analogue mobile telephones poses a long-term public health hazard. There are five ways to reduce the risk of radiation going in your body. One is to have shorter conversation. Try to avoid speaking for long periods on the cell phone; furthermore, try to plan your calls in such a way that you use ordinary phones for long conversations. Second, don't sit in the car. Speak as little as possible inside the car because it amplifies the radiation. If you have to speak a lot from the care, get a roof antenna. Third, protect your baby. Don't place a turned-on mobile phone in the baby carriage. The mobile phone produces microwaves even if you don't speak in it. Fourth, avoid waist. Don't carry the cell phone in the belt round the waist. It is unnecessary to expose the deposits of bone marrow in the hips, and the testicles to the microwaves. Earlier there have been warnings against placing the phone next to the heart. This is now regarded as being less dangerous, unless you have a pacemaker. The best place to carry the phone is in a military trousers leg pocket. And finally, direct the antenna. Always pull out the antenna when you use the phone and direct it away from the head, not upright in parallel with the head. It may be a marginal difference, but it reduces the radiation into the head somewhat.   

What Causes Cell Phone Radiation and How Does it Effect Your Body? What is so popular with young teenagers today? Cell phones. Walking around on campus to walking around at the mall with your cell phone may seem fashionable and trendy, but did you now that it might be causing...

Words: 1644 View(s): 276 Comment(s): 0
Man"s fundamental bewilderment and confusion, stems...Man"s fundamental bewilderment and confusion, stems from the fact that man has no answers to the basic existential questions: why we are alive, why we have to die, why there is injustice and suffering, all this serve as the impetus for such a thinking. Man constantly wonders about the truth of life and realizes that the more you expect from it, the more it fails you or may be the more we expect from ourselves the more we find ourselves engaging in a futile battle with the odds. May be the truth is the realization of our limitations and the potency of these odds that press you down with their brutal truths"¦."¦.brutal?, can the truth be brutal. But the truth is the God, ourselves, the destiny that rules us and fashions us, after a strange decree which we fail to unravel. "What do I know about man"s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes." -Samuel Beckett Concerning itself with such questions is the genre of literature is the movement called 'THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD'. The Theatre of the Absurd 50"s draws on the existentialist writings of Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Camus adapted Dostoyevsky"s The Possesed to the stage 1959. Mostly, his writing was concerned with the dilemma of individuals who believe that values are relative but who cannot live without moral commitment. Camus argues that humanity has to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying rational explanation of the universe is beyond its reach; thus the world must ultimately be seen as absurd. The underpinnings of the Theatre of the Absurd are derived from these existentialist ideas that led to Absurdism. Absurdism teaches, much like Camus, that, that which cannot be justified in a rational manner is absurd. Since religion requires a "leap of faith"Kierkegaard it is absurd, just as life itself is absurd. The Theater of the Absurd refers to tendencies in dramatic literature that emerged in Paris during the late 1940s and early "50s in the plays of Arthur Adamov, Fernando Arrabal, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean Tardieu. A term coined by the critic Martin Esslin, "The Theatre of the Absurd" refers to the work of a number of playwrights, mostly written in the 1950s and 1960s. Its roots lie in an essay by the French philosopher Albert Camus. In his "Myth of Sisyphus", written in 1942, he first defined the human situation as basically meaningless and absurd. The "absurd" plays by Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter and others all share the view that man is inhabiting a universe with which he is out of key. Its meaning is indecipherable and his place within it is without purpose. He is bewildered, troubled and obscurely threatened. Seeing man as the very center of the universe an then finally realizing that his position in this vast godless arena is as petty as his existence. Thus the whole idea becomes sheer absurdity"¦.is God for man? Or man for God?. Absurdism is more than just a movement it is an idea, which is commonly associated with existentialism. Beginning in the 19th century, mainly through the influence of Soren Kierkegaard, religion was often described as absurd because it could not be justified on rational principles; rather, it was considered as based on what Kierkegaard called "a leap of faith." In their discussions of consciousness, Martin Heidegger and Jean Paul Sartre described the human consciousness as facing an apparently absurd world--absurd because it finds itself at the crossroads of Being and Nothingness, baffled by the meaninglessness of the human condition. Sartre"s ideas of absurdity, anguish, and disgust are expressed in his plays and novels, especially in Nausea 1938; Eng. trans., 1949. A philosophical basis for the modern theater of the absurd has been established by other existentialists, such as Albert Camus, Karl Jaspers, and Gabriel Marcel. The Theatre of the Absurd does not show man in a historical, social, or cultural context, it does not communicate any general views of human life. It is not concerned with conveying information or presenting the problems or destinies of characters that exists outside the author"s world they are created by author, but have their own created life. It is not concerned with the representation of events, the narration of fates, or the adventures of characters. It is instead interested in the presentation of an individual"s basic situation. "It presents individual human being"s intuition of his basic situation as he experiences it". No doubt that the term 'theater of the absurd' derives from the philosophical use of the word absurd by such existentialist thinkers as Albert CAMUS and Jean Paul SARTRE, but far from concerning itself with the rather nerve straining philosophical studies of abstractions it encompasses in its domain hard and concrete entities of life such as pain, misery, tears, fears, and the never ending desire of man to seek the answers to all the questions; Camus, particularly, argued that humanity had to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying rational explanation of the universe was beyond its reach; in that sense, the world must ultimately be seen as absurd. To the absurdists the whole idea of struggle appeared as the most ridiculous thought. They saw man struggling in sheer hopelessness to get a glimmer of the world that he had dreamt of in some part of his life. All the religions, faiths, beliefs, superstitions; have tried to solve the question that why is there all the imperfection? And sadly enough by reflecting on the situation that prevails around us one can come to a very despondent question-has God failed? And where do we find the answer; alas nowhere! Apparently the absurdists may appear as atheist or agnostics but in reality they were probing into those facets of humanity that concerned itself with self-faith. Their focus might have been on the fact that self-belief leads to faith in God. They were concerning themselves with the question that why has the belief in God and His omni potency disappeared from human minds? Thus the Theatre of the Absurd also seems to have been a reaction to the disappearance of the religious dimension form contemporary life. The Absurd Theatre hopes to achieve its aim of presenting this idea of vanished faith in the self and God by shocking man out of an existence that has become trite, mechanical and complacent. Though at times it may appear masochistic at times but it is felt that there is mystical experience in confronting the limits of human condition. And the absurdists hope to draw the solution of desperation that man confronts from this mysticism drawn from the realization of human limitations. The Theatre of the Absurd was undoubtedly strongly influenced by the traumatic experience of the horrors of the Second World War, which showed the total impermanence of any values, shook the validity of any conventions and highlighted the precariousness of human life and its fundamental meaninglessness and arbitrariness. The trauma of living from 1945 under threat of nuclear annihilation also seems to have been an important factor in the rise of the new theatre. Thus while presenting the brutal realities of life in their most blatant form Absurd plays assumed a highly unusual, innovative form, directly aiming to startle the viewer, shaking him out of this comfortable, conventional life of everyday concerns. The playwrights loosely grouped under the label of the absurd endeavor to convey their sense of bewilderment, anxiety, and wonder in the face of an inexplicable universe. They rely heavily on poetic metaphor as a means of projecting outward their innermost states of mind. Hence, the images of the theater of the absurd tend to assume the quality of fantasy, dream, and nightmare; they do not so much portray the outward appearance of reality as the playwright"s emotional perception of an inner reality. The Theatre of the Absurd diverted human interest from nature and directed it at man and his thinking. This interest in a subject, individual human thinking, and the individual"s situation corresponds with the philosophy of existentialism Heidegger, Jaspers, Camus, Sartre..., which is focused on the subjective, individual"s experience in a concrete fatal situation. While the philosophers deal with the absurdity of human existence rationally, using philosophical language; the absurd dramatists express it in concrete dramatic pictures. They offer us the opportunity to not only think about absurdity, but to feel it and experience it simultaneously with the actors and the author, who transforms his mind into a symbolic dramatic language. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot is probably the most famous absurd play to date. The characters of the play, are absurd caricatures who of course have problems communicating with one another, and the language they use is often times ludicrous. And, following the cyclical pattern, the play seems to end in the same state it began in, with nothing really changed. And that is perhaps the reality of life itself that it will keep on going round and round till we perish away. At the end the truth that these absurdists presented was that at the end of the road nothing really matters. Eugene ionesco remarked "The universe seems to me infinitely strange and foreign. At such a moment I gaze upon it with a mixture of anguish and euphoria; separate from the universe, as though placed at a certain distance outside it; I look and see pictures, creatures that move in a kind of timeless time and spaceless space emitting sounds that are a kind of language I no longer understand or ever register."   

Man"s fundamental bewilderment and confusion, stems from the fact that man has no answers to the basic existential questions: why we are alive, why we have to die, why there is injustice and suffering, all this serve as the impetus for such a thinking. Man constantly wonders about the truth...

Words: 1639 View(s): 206 Comment(s): 0
Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of... Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz certainly provides a stark contrast to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. While Fitzgerald epitomizes descriptive writing techniques, Richler is far more reserved and subtle in terms of description when juxtaposed. However, both writers are able to successfully reveal the precarious journey of, essentially, the same character. Richler's Duddy Kravitz and Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby, exemplifies the accomplishments that result from pursuing a dream. Kravitz obediently follows his grandfather's advice: "A man without land is nobody" Richler, 49. Meanwhile, Gatsby follows his heart and pursues Daisy Buchanans' unrequited love. While there are parallactic views on whether each character's actions are inspiring or denouncing, the similarities between the two are blatantly obvious. The psychological structure of Kravitz essentially parallels that of Gatsby because both rise to prominence from meager existence, both attempt to conceal their inauspicious past, both pursue their goals through questionable means, and both base their entire existence on a dream which ultimately proves to be their downfall. A common past may partially be responsible for the close psychological similarities between Kravitz and Gatsby. During their initial portion of life, both characters were confronted with similar problems. Due to their impoverished state, both characters appeared bound to a lifetime of mediocrity. As Richler describes, "Where Duddy Kravitz sprung from the boys grew up dirty and sad, spiky also, like grass beside the railroad tracks." 45. Kravitz's background is further exposed when he claims, "He's a hack and he picks up extra money pimping. My father's a pimp"¦That ought to be good for a laugh. My old man's a lousy pimp." 105. Certainly, Kravitz was never brought up under ideal conditions, and neither was Gatsby, who encounters much of the same problems. "For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed." Fitzgerald, 95. Fitzgerald further reinforces this fact, "A young major just out of the army and covered with medals he got in the war. He was so hard up he had to keep wearing his uniform because he couldn't buy some regular clothes"¦Start him! I made him...I raised him out of nothing, right out of the gutter." 162. Undoubtedly, both characters begin their journeys with similar challenges. While Kravitz desperately attempts to avoid a lifetime of "nothingness," Gatsby struggles to overcome his status as a "poor boy, who can't marry rich girls." In essence, poverty is the major contributing factor responsible for the irrepressible desire exemplified by Kravitz and Gatsby. Thus, it is vital that each character experience it. Since Kravitz and Gatsby are exposed to the same challenges during their childhood years, both are able to develop similar psychological characters. Thus, the resounding desire possessed by each as a result of poverty, proves that Kravitz and Gatsby possess the same psychological mindset. Kravitz and Gatsby have essentially created a mythological past to obscure their inauspicious backgrounds. Both characters demonstrate an overwhelming sense of arrogance, which partially forces them to conceal their backgrounds. Kravitz has created a fictional brother, who had, Run away to the States at fifteen, lied about his age, joined the air force, and sunk three Jap battleships in the Pacific. They were going to make a movie about his life, maybe. After the war Bradley rescued an Arizona millionaire's beautiful daughter from drowning, married her, and bought a ranch. Richler, 12. Richler later reveals the falsehood of this statement: "Familiar with all of Bradley's exploits the boys also suspected that he was a fictional character, but nobody dared accuse Duddy of lying." 12. In addition to creating a fictional past, Kravitz also greatly exaggerates his position in life. "He told her about his brother Bradley and that the Boy Wonder, an intimate of his father's was willing to back him in any line he chose." Richler, 89. Much like Kravitz, Gatsby also creates a mythological past to conceal his mysterious background. I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West-all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition. My family all died and I came into a good deal of money. After that I lived like a young Raja in all the capitals of Europe- Paris, Venice, Rome- collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, things for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to me long ago." Fitzgerald, 64. Partially fueled by their arrogance, both characters obscure their past in order to satisfy their conscience. As a result, it can be concluded that Kravitz and Gatsby hold the same vision of themselves. Both are unwilling, or unable to accept their past, and thus, feel obligated and entirely justified to create a self-molded image of themselves. Kravitz chooses to hide his background among the other boys at St Agathe, while Gatsby creates his past in order to rid himself of his previous status. Thus, because both characters create a mythological past, whose creation is fueled by similar factors, Kravitz and Gatsby share identical psychological characters. Kravitz and Gatsby use highly questionable, and at times, immoral means to obtain their goals. Kravitz's struggle to avoid "nothingness," and Gatsby's hunt for the illusive "green light" compels them to perform questionable actions throughout their journeys. Kravitz was willing to lie, cheat, and swindle those closest to him. Yvette claims: I've seen you do lots of dishonest things, Duddy but never in my life did I expect you to cheat a boy like Virgil"¦I never thought you were such a bastard"¦Do you mean to say that knowing how grateful he'd be for a job-any job- you managed to swindle him out of his thousand dollars? Oh, Duddy. Richler, 253. Kravitz believes he is entirely justified in doing such things. It's their fault, he thought, they wouldn't help me, they're forcing me into it. Pushing me, he thought, and he went into Virgil's room. The check book wasn't even hidden"¦He forged the signature by holding the cheques and a letter Virgil had signed up to the window and tracing slowly"¦I'll wait for an hour, he thought, well three-quarters anyway, and if they show up before then I'll tear up the cheque. If not-Well, they shouldn't leave me alone for that long. Not in my desperate condition. Richler, 364. Kravitz's philosophy to place his ambitions above all else is essentially equal to Gatsby's belief of the "green light." Likewise, he uses dishonest schemes to achieve his wealth. She's not leaving me! Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring he put on her finger"¦Who are you anyhow? You're one of that bunch that hangs around Meyer Wolfshiem- that much I happen to know. I've made a little investigation into your affairs- and I'll carry it further tomorrow"¦I found out what your "drug stores" were, He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't too far off. Fitzgerald, 127. Gatsby does whatever is necessary in order to attain his love for Daisy. His extra marital relationship with her signifies to what extent he is willing to reach. Gatsby does not realize, nor does he care, about the eventual repercussions of such relationship, much like Kravitz's disrespectful relationship with of Yvette and Virgil. Both Kravitz and Gatsby use dishonest and shortsighted means to achieve their goals. In addition, both are unable to realize the moral limits of attaining such goals. Therefore, Kravitz and Gatsby's inability to realize the moral limits of pursuing their goals clearly reveals the psychological parallels of each character. The uncontrollable desire exemplified by Kravitz and Gatsby ultimately proves to be their downfall. Both fail to realize the importance of the things around them, and thus are unable to clearly differentiate between good and evil. Their uncontrollable desire has blinded them. Kravitz is unable to evaluate the seriousness of the statement: "A man without land is nobody" Richler, 49. Thus, he needlessly pursues a goal that is hypothetically preposterous. In the end, Kravitz is unable to distinguish good from evil, allies from foes. When Dingleman offers a proposal, "It's going to cost you a fortune to develop this land"¦You're going to need lots of money, Duddy. A fortune"¦Alone, you'll never raise the money you need. With my help we could turn this into a model resort town in five years." Richler, 371. Kravitz is unable to see the seriousness in Dingleman. In addition, he also fails to realize the importance of Yvette and Virgil's friendship. In the end, Kravitz looses his friendships, but most importantly, he looses Simcha's faith. "I can see what you have planned for me, Duddel. You'll be good to me. You'd give me everything I wanted. And that would settle your conscience when you went out to swindle others." Richler, 373. Therefore, Kravitz can be considered a failure because he is unable to control his overwhelming desire to avoid "nothingness." Gatsby, however, suffers a more tragic ending. Much like Kravitz, Gatsby based his entire existence on fulfilling his dream. He became infatuated by what he lacked, instead of what he possessed. This is evident when he finally gained his vast amounts of fortunes he so desired, yet, he still feels unfulfilled without Daisy. Thus, as Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby puts it, He had come along way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Fitzgerald, 171. Thus, Gatsby is unable to realize his accomplishments because the idea of continually pursuing his dream has essentially blinded him from reality. Therein lays the psychological parallel between Kravitz and Gatsby. Both base their entire existence on pursuing a dream, and it is the very essence-the desire that they possess, which eventually isolates them from reality. Kravitz is unable to realize the importance of Yvette and Virgil, much like Gatsby has failed to bask in his own glory. Both have envisioned a "perfect" life, but yet, lose what they have achieved. Thus, Kravitz and Gatsby's parallel philosophy of placing dreams above all else proves to be their downfall, but more importantly, demonstrates their similar values and morals. The rise from meagre existence, the creation of a mythological past, the pursuing of a dream through questionable means, and basing an entire existence on a dream are all similar virtues possessed by Duddy Kravitz and Jay Gatsby. Thus, Kravitz and Gatsby can be considered the same characters on the same overall journey. However, there is an extreme sense of irony when observing Kravitz and Gatsby. Kravitz desires wealth, land, and social status, while failing to realize Yvette's love for him. He is surrounded by people who care for him, and appreciate his qualities. Gatsby, however, has accomplished what Kravitz yearns, yet he lacks what Kravitz takes for granted: love. Thus, there certainly is a paradox about the belief that Kravitz and Gatsby are the same character. Both live two opposite lives, yearning for what the other takes for granted. Yet, their journeys are eerily similar. Perhaps Richler and Fitzgerald are not criticizing the idea of pursuing a dream. Perhaps they are revealing the fine equilibrium that must be reached in order to avoid destruction- a man without desire is a nobody, but a man without anyone to appreciate his desire is also a nobody.   

Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz certainly provides a stark contrast to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. While Fitzgerald epitomizes descriptive writing techniques, Richler is far more reserved and subtle in terms of description when juxtaposed. However, both writers are able to successfully reveal the precarious journey...

Words: 2042 View(s): 561 Comment(s): 0
ODYSSEUS: A MERE MORTAL, BUT PURELY...ODYSSEUS: A MERE MORTAL, BUT PURELY MORAL In Homer"s Odyssey, he uses the stories of Calypso and Circe to give a reader a glimpse at Greek values. Odysseus is a "perfectly" moral man by Greek standards. In the Calypso episode, Odysseus demonstrates the value of faithfulness, and in the Circe episode, he illustrates Greek values in general. While both goddesses seek Odysseus to be their husband, Odysseus responds as a perfect Greek hero. During the Calypso episode, Homer teachers that one must remain faithful in their hearts. The Circe episode shows the loyalty between a commander and his troops, burial rights, hospitality, and the relationship between host and guest. The Calypso episode explains how a man must be faithful to his wife in his heart. The Calypso scene opens with a description of how beautiful her island of meadows and flowers is and how "even a deathless god who came upon that place would gaze in wonder, heart entranced with pleasure" 154. The story proceeds to describe the goddess as having a "breathtaking voice" 154 and being "lustrous" 155. Yet, when the story describes Odysseus, he is "wrenching his heart with sobs and groans and anguish" 156. Even though, Odysseus resides on a beautiful island with a goddess who takes care of him, he still wishes to be at home. Odysseus recognizes that fact that the island is beautiful, but he still longs to be at home. Additionally, Odysseus remains faithful to Penelope, not by modern day standards, but he chooses Penelope over the goddess. When Calypso questions Odysseus, he recognizes that fact that Calypso is more beautiful. Odysseus even mentions that Penelope "falls far short" 159 of Calypso, but yet, Odysseus's heart is with Penelope. Next, Odysseus must build a raft himself. Yet, he finds this labor minimal since he is given a chance to return home. He even realizes that he may become shipwrecked or die on the voyage, but he is willing to take these risks to return home. The final temping offer to make Odysseus turn away from his home and his wife is when Calypso offers him immortality to stay with her. Again, Odysseus chooses his land and his wife. In modern times, sleeping with a goddess would be considered unfaithful, but Greek values allow this if and only if the man still wishes to return home and return to his wife. Thus, one of the highest values for a Greek was to be faithful to their home and their wives in their hearts. The stories involving Circe describe several values. The stories describe hospitality, the loyalty between a commander and his troops, the relationship between host and guest, and burial rights. When the story begins with an analysis on how guests ought to be treated. Circe is an enchantress who welcomes some of Odysseus's troops into her home for food and drink. Then, she made a potion that would clear their memories so that when she struck them with her magic wand, they turned into pigs. Zeus or Hermes must have witnessed this episode because Hermes came to Odysseus with a "potent drug" 239 that would counteract Circe's potion. Since Zeus is the god of hospitality, Circe was in the wrong by harming her guests as she did. So, Odysseus went to Circe with the drug, and when she attempted to do the same thing, Odysseus was able to triumph over trickery. Thus, another important Greek value is to be kind to strangers, treat them as guests, and follow the hospitality etiquette. The next event demonstrates that the commander must be loyal to his troops. Circe offers Odysseus marvelous food with "appetizers aplenty too, lavish with her bounty" 242, but her refuses the food saying that "any man in his right mind" 242 could not accept food "before he'd freed his comrades-in-arms and looked them in the eyes" 242. So, Greek soldiers must be loyal to each other. This is further demonstrated when Circe sends for Odysseus's ship to come closer to shore. Eurylochus hesitates and is mutinous against Odysseus's order to bring the ship about. Odysseus, though, still remains loyal to him. Even though he "had half a mind to draw the sharp sword from beside my hip and slice his head off"¦But comrades check me, each man trying to calm me" 244. This event offers another important value: the soldiers must be loyal to their commander and heed every order. So, Homer demonstrates how troops and commanders ought to be extremely loyal to each other. While the troops and Odysseus are at Circe's palace, they each respect each other as hostess and guest. Circe tries to make them comfortable and joyful as she says, "no more tears now, calm these tides of sorrow" 244. She hosts Odysseus and his troops for a year. Odysseus graciously accepts Circe's kindness and is good to her. When Odysseus requests to leave, Circe grants him his desire, and she even helps him. Here, Homer demonstrates that it is necessary to give the host warning when planning to leave and even ask the host for leaving rights. Circe tells him to visit Tiresias in the Kingdom of the Dead for advice on how to get home safely. Then, on their final departing from Aeaea, Circe gives them food and drink to take on their voyage as well as a swift wind. She gives them several gifts as expected by a hostess when her guest leaves. Therefore, while host must be gracious and giving to guests, the guests are expected to be respectful of their host. Finally, Homer tells how the dead are to be given their rights. Before departing Aeaea again, the troops must mourn the Elpenor, give him a funeral, and bury his body. The fact that Odysseus and his troops returned all the way back to Aeaea shows that the burial right of the dead is extremely important. Therefore, the Greeks held the right of services and burial to be a significant value. Homer portrays Odysseus as a nearly perfect man with nearly perfect Greek values. Hence, the reader is able to get a glimpse of Greek values by using Odysseus's decisions and action as a guideline. The Calypso story shows that Greek values require a man to be faithful to his land and to his wife no matter what the temptation is. The Circe episode shows the loyalty between a commander and his troops, burial rights, hospitality, and the relationship between host and guest.   

ODYSSEUS: A MERE MORTAL, BUT PURELY MORAL In Homer"s Odyssey, he uses the stories of Calypso and Circe to give a reader a glimpse at Greek values. Odysseus is a "perfectly" moral man by Greek standards. In the Calypso episode, Odysseus demonstrates the value of faithfulness, and in the Circe...

Words: 1083 View(s): 205 Comment(s): 0