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Herman Melville: Similarities in Claggart and Captain Ahab
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Herman Melville was a struggling writer in the mid-1800s, who spent a few years of his life as a sailor and crew member of whaling ships in the south seas. These experiences greatly influenced his writing, causing there to be many similarities among his novels. In two of his works, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, Melville seems to have created two characters, Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick, and John Claggart from Billy Budd, who both share some very comparable qualities and experiences. The most prevalent characteristic that links them together is that in their stories, they both possess an unrelenting and somewhat...
feel toward that individual. Their envy is rather complex, but can be simplified in that the reason for Ahab hating the whale Moby-Dick, and Claggart hating the sailor Billy Budd, is that Moby-Dick and Billy both exhibit qualities of magnificence and strength, that Ahab and Claggart do not. Then, in the end, the strength of the whale and Billy of which they both abhor, is ironically the cause of both of their deaths. It is with these connections of spirit, personality, and experience in Captain Ahab and John Claggart, that best display the similarities between these Herman Melville characters.
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"Et tu Brute?" Caesar's simple statement..."Et tu Brute?" Caesar's simple statement sums up Brutus' round character in the development of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Brutus was thought no threat and an ingenious right-hand man due to his nobility and his loyalty; however, these qualities are precisely why the story is such a catastrophe. What stemmed from these traits is the last expected outcome. Caesar's surprise was so immense, he could only mutter these last few words. Brutus' honorable nobility, his loyal patriotism, and his naïve and idealistic manner outline Shakespeare's tragic hero. Honor is an underlying foundation of Brutus and can be clearly seen during the play's dramatic speeches. Brutus himself makes his honor apparent in his orations. After the assassination of Caesar and during the funeral speech, Brutus asks the people of Rome, "Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him I have offended" act III, sc ii, ln 29-32. This in Brutus proves he is noble as he cares and protects the welfare of the people and Rome as a whole. He is torn between his sense of duty with Rome and his friendship with Caesar. In the end; however, he must rationalize his actions to save face and conform to both sides of his conflict. Furthermore, Brutus tries to prove his nobility to virtually everyone. When Brutus utters his last words, he tells Caesar his intentions, "I killed thee with half so good a will" act V, sc v, ln 50-51. His honor is always persistent and never fails to prevail at even the most taxing and awkward situation. Brutus considers his honor in every aspect and choice in his life and often rules over his own accord. Accordingly, many people, including his enemies, were very much aware of his honor. When he witnesses Brutus' dead body at the battleground of Philipi, Antony states he is the "noblest Roman of them all" and "all the conspirators save only he, did that they did in envy of great Caesar; he, only in a general honest"¦" act V, sc v, ln 68-71. Brutus' honor is so strong and visible even his enemies witnessed his astonishing nobility. Antony knows Brutus would only do such an act with true vindication, although the other conspirators, while still noble, would not hold true to the high standard Brutus' created. Brutus' nobility was clarified with his speeches and made easily seen due to others awareness of this strong support of his character. Also unmistakably obvious is Brutus' loyal patriotism to his country. Brutus knows his own loyalty and values it above almost anything. Brutus illustrates his great patriotism by comparing it with death, "If it aught toward the general good, Set honor in one eye and death i'th' other"¦as I love the name of honor more than I fear death" act I, sc ii, ln 85,86,89. Brutus values Rome above anything else and would be willing to give his life for the "general good." Brutus claims he will be loyal to the end, due to his great love for Rome. Likewise, Brutus' patriotism covers every aspect of society. Brutus discusses the killing of Caesar with his fellow conspirators and claims Caesar's "death is a benefit" and also says they now should cry "Peace, freedom, and liberty!"act III, sc i, ln 103,110. Brutus wishes to celebrate all of Rome's triumphs and is especially proud to be a part of his country. Brutus allows Rome to be the most pertinent factor in his life and its successes are his successes. Additionally, Brutus wants the people of Rome to know what is important and what his intentions are. He conveys this feeling during his funeral speech when he states, "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more" act III, sc ii, ln 21,22. Brutus shares his patriotism with the people of Rome and wants them to share his views. For Brutus, the welfare of the nation takes precedents over that of the individual. Brutus practices a high level of loyalty and he exercises much devotion to Rome in his thoughts and speeches. Equally important is Brutus' overly idealistic and naive nature, which is shaped from his nobility and patriotism. Brutus has a stubborn attitude when others try to sway him away from his beliefs or his plans. Cassius believes Antony must be killed along with Caesar because the fear he has due to his "ingrafted love he bears for Caesar" act II, sc i, ln 184. Brutus is wrong, oblivious, and misinformed in his decision to ignore the valid requests from Cassius. Brutus is naive in thinking Cassius is wrong because Cassius has a remarkably accurate argument that should not be shunned. Consequently, Brutus has an idealistic outlook on the world, especially when dealing with people. After Antony discovered Caesar's death, Brutus pleads with him and asks, "O Antony, beg not your death of us! Though now we must appear bloody and cruel, as by our hands and this our present act you see we do, yet see you but our hands. And this the bleeding business they have done" act III, sc i, ln164-169. Brutus comprises an exaggeratedly idealistic outlook and attitude when dealing with people. This is demonstrated when he aims to befriend Antony. This in Brutus is a tragic flaw; his optimism often spoils his proper judgment. Brutus believes everyone to be as strong willed and honorable as himself, which causes an artificially manifested and false trust to be placed in others. Also, Brutus' naive nature skews and impairs his judgment. Cassius pleas with Brutus to withhold Antony's pressing request to speak at Caesar's funeral, "You know not what you do; do not consent that Antony speak in his funeral. Know you how much the people may be moved by that which he will utter" act III, sc i, ln 232-234. Brutus has an incredibly naive reflection, which fashions an unfortunate stubbornness. He will not allow himself to recognize others' points of view and has an overly optimistic view with his actions, which makes for his idealism being a tragic flaw. Brutus boasts an exceedingly naive and idealistic approach when dealing with others; this is flaunted throughout the play by means of Brutus irrationally refusing such sound ideas. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus has many of the quintessential characteristics to compose an archetypal Shakespearean tragic hero. Brutus has many interconnected facets to his being that, although they structure his strong traits, ultimately are his downfall. His high moral code and his dedication to Rome produce his untimely faults and distort his judgment. In conclusion, a number of positive attributes can combine and form a poor and demeaning trait to one's identity. Brutus' character can be best categorized with his honor, his loyalty to Rome, and his naive and idealistic disposition.   

"Et tu Brute?" Caesar's simple statement sums up Brutus' round character in the development of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Brutus was thought no threat and an ingenious right-hand man due to his nobility and his loyalty; however, these qualities are precisely why the story is such a catastrophe. What...

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In reading Shakespeare's well-known play, Macbeth,...In reading Shakespeare's well-known play, Macbeth, one will always notice the many influences that Macbeth encounters before his downfall. Each one of these may have had some bit of impact on the final outcome. The three most controversial and popular causes of the tragedy of Macbeth are the main character's ambition, the witches' fateful prophecies, and Lady Macbeth's dominance. Each one of these can be argued as the main source of influence on Macbeth for muderdering so many people. Some people would argue that the main source causing this tragedy was his wife, Lady Macbeth. However, this would not support all of the events that took place in Macbeth. Other people might argue that Macbeth's own, personal ambition is what led to the bloody death of so many people, but in this case, it is obvious that there was some other force behind him that helped him to change from a respectable, trustworthy man, to a deceiving murderer. In his encounters with the witches, Mabeth was introduced to that fact that he could have more power, and in hearing what he had to do to earn it, he was scared. However, with the witches making this power sound so grand, he was eventually convinced that his dignity was no longer essential. The witches, therefore, were what caused the legacy of Macbeth as a heroic individual to lead to his ultimate death and destruction. In the play, there are many interesting sections that concentrate on the suspense and the involvement of the supernatural. With the sense of the supernatural and interference of the spirits, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are led to dangerous, tempting things. The three witches are introduced right at the beginning of the play, on Macbeth's way home from fighting in the battle for his country. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies. The first is that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, the second is the Thane of Glamis, which he already was titled as, and the third was stated by the witches as: "he shalt be King hereafter". These prophecies, two of them being very new to him, introduced Macbeth to new ideas of greatness. And, in knowing that in this time period, it was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things, Macbeth knew that he should be suspicious of the words of the Wëird Sisters. This scene brings into the play the idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play. One can ponder on whether Macbeth ever had a chance of doing what was right after he met with the witches, because of how strong their words were, and because of how many great things they were promising to him. After the prophecies were given to him, Macbeth had a very strong reaction to what was stated: Act 1. sc. 3 ln.147-155 ""¦If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smothered in surmise, And nothing is but what is not." Obviously, Macbeth is not yet sure of himself as an evil man. Immediately after hearing the witches' prophecy that he will be king, Macbeth thinks that he must kill the current king, this being King Duncan, in order to take over the throne. Although he is not sure that he can follow through with this, he wants nothing more in the world than to have the amount of power and respect that he knows he will receive if he takes over the position. So, in returning home, and with the help of persuasion and instigation from his wife, he kills King Duncan. Prevoiusly to the murder and immediately after, Macbeth's "heat-oppressed brain" caused him to see images floating in the air, specifically the dagger that became bloody right before the bell rang as a signal to kill King Duncan. These images may have been messages from the witches, as yet another cause of Macbeth's insanity. However, the witches made Macbeth believe that he was on the brink of becoming the most powerful, respected and dignified man, and they convinced him so well that he continued to end the lives of others to achieve his goal. After killing Duncan, Macbeth is aware of some people who might be too suspicious of him, and of others that he has to kille in order to be the individual who inherits the throne as a result of King Duncan's death. One of these men is his partner in war, Banquo. Macbeth hires three men to kill he and his son. Later on in act three, Macbeth and Lady Macbath are hosting a dinner when Macbeth notices the appearance of Banquo. Later on, it is discovered that instead of it being the deceased Banquo, it is his ghost, and only Macbeth can see him. Macbeth knows that the witches are trying to get the best of him, and as a result, Macbeth decides to make another visit to the witches to find out what is going on and to decide what his future actions will be. In his visit to his witches in act four, scene one, Macbeth is given four apparitions by the witches which include a floating head with a crown on it, a bloody baby, a child with a crown on its head, holding a tree branch and a series of kings who all resemble Banquo, one of the people that Macbeth assigned to be killed. Each of these apparitions has obvious symbolism and is the witches next attempt in showing Macbeth his superiority and his inevitability. By the beginning of act four, the witches have a strong enough hold on Macbeth that whatever they tell him to do in order to get what he wants, he will do it. Macbeth has become so power-hungry that he begins to change as a person. He is no longer a pushover or easygoing, he is more demanding towards the witches, and in hearing these new apparitions, he becomes even more greedy, and eventually over-confident. The following quotes show Macbeth's confidence take over: Act 4. sc. 1 ln 93-97 "Then live, Macduff; what need I fear of thee? But yet I'll make assurance double sure And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live, That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, And sleep in spite of thunder." Act 4. sc. 1 ln 108-110 "That will never be. Who can impress the forest, bid the tree Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements, good!" The second two of these apparitions given to Macbeth tell him that he doesn't have to be scared of any human that was not born of a woman, and that he is not in danger unless the forest surrounding his castle comes and knocks on his door. In this case, the witches were once again a source of Macbeth's downfall because, by the witches boosting his confidence, they convinced him that he could do anything, and would not get in trouble for it, which caused him to want even more, and to feel that he could do anything to get at that point. After this scene, Macbeth returns home and no longer worries about what he has to come because he was originally worried that Macduff would kill him. Now he simply decides that Macduff was born of a woman. These apparitions are good news for Macbeth. The witches encouraged him to believe he was indestructible. He has found protection in the strength of the spirit's words and having possession of all the confidence in the world, he fears no one. Nearing the end of the play, Macbeth's castle is invaded by Macduff and Malcolm's army. Each person is carrying a branch from a tree, to form an illusion that they were a moving forest. Macbeth becomes nervous, because remembering the apparition, he knows that at this point, he has something to fear. Macbeth also discovers by asking to fight a man who was not born a woman, and suspecting that no man would speak up, that Macduff was not of woman born and that he was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb. This causes Macbeth to go into great shock. He is now positive that he will be killed. The end result of Macbeth's life could have been different, but the witches convinced him that he was safe and that no harm was in his future. All of the events following Macbeth's second meeting with the witches show the interference of the witch who tell Macbeth what his future holds. Even in his final uttered words before his death, Macbeth refers to two of the witch's apparitions, these being the second and third apparition concerning the Great Birnam wood knocking at his door and his inevitability to anyone born of a woman: Act 5. sc. 8 ln 35-36 ""¦Though Birnam wood become to Dunsinane And thou opposed, being of no woman born" This quote is great proof that the witches are what brought Macbeth to his ultimate destruction. The witches were referred to throughout the play, right until the end, and even when Macbeth had only seconds to live. From the start of the play, Macbeth began to change as a character for the worse. He became completely different from the brave soldier and changed into an evil king and then to his tragic death where he discovers humility. In my thorough examination of certain scenes of they play, I noticed that the supernatural was definitely a major factor on the play's tragic conclusion. The killing of Duncan started an unstoppable chain of events that ends with the murder of Macbeth and the suicide of Lady Macbeth. Macbeth, in the beginning had all of the qualities of an honorable gentleman who could become anything, but he took the wrong path to becoming what he wanted. Although Macbeth may have questioned the validity of the witches' prophecies, he was tempted and refused to listen to his own reasoning. When the apparitions the witches give to Macbeth start to show their faults, Macbeth is right to blame the witches for deceiving him with half-truths. The witches are responsible for introducing the ideas to Macbeth, which, in turn, fired up Macbeth's ambition and led to a disastrous and unnecessary tragedy. Although there are other things, which contributed to the tragedy of Macbeth, such as Lady Macbeth's dominance, and his own personal ambition, without the witches there to convince him to commit these evil crimes in order to gain power. It would have never happened. Perhaps the witches were such a strong influence to Macbeth, that they became a part of his brain and worked with his own thoughts to form his new insane character.   

In reading Shakespeare's well-known play, Macbeth, one will always notice the many influences that Macbeth encounters before his downfall. Each one of these may have had some bit of impact on the final outcome. The three most controversial and popular causes of the tragedy of Macbeth are the main character's...

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