05 Sep 2009

Sample Essay: The Ineivitable Cycle/ The Abuse Of Power…And The Cycle It Creates

Tragic heroes

Man’s prideful ambition makes him dauntless and audacious; it enables him to disregard warning signals of the immorality of his actions and to pursue his desires despite his imminent destruction, which inevitably causes the suffering of innocents.

Introductory remarks

Right from the time Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they signaled the prideful ambition that man possess even today; disregard for the warning signals that can bring about his imminent destruction. There was to be no religion, color-differentiation or creed, yet man, for all his worth, was bound to instigate credence to his existence, and rightfully pursue a course from where there was to be no return. If only the warnings were heeded to, man today wouldn’t be facing the uncertainties he does.

It happened on the night of the Last Supper. Jesus was eating with His disciples and at the same time, teaching them. As their last hour quickly past,Jesus suddenly called out to Simon Peter:

“Simon, Simon behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat!” Peter answered, “Lord with you I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”

Jesus replied, “I tell you Peter, the rooster will not crow until you have denied three times that you know me.”  (Luke 22:31)

Simon felt ashamed that Jesus would say such a thing about him. He kept telling the Lord that he would never deny Him.  After the meal, Jesus took the disciples to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. For the rest of the night Peter let the devil suggest fearful thoughts to him. Three times he denied to the people standing outside that he knew Jesus. Just as he was saying he did not know Jesus for the third time he saw the soldiers leading Jesus out of the house. As he walked past, Jesus turned and looked at Peter with a gentle but grieved look on His face. A rooster started crowing. While the devil kept Peter fearful all night, he sifted his heart, and Peter went out into the dark and cried. What makes Peter who he is today? How do we come across him now?  Peter was a Godly, servant-leader, the most important of the twelve disciples; (Matthew 16:18) and a responsible man. However, he had a flaw: pride. Pride forces us to think we are capable of doing something we really are not capable of doing.  The Webster’s dictionary definition of pride is: “inordinate self-esteem or conceit”.  It is what tells us what we would never commit “that sin” only to commit “that sin” later. Inherently, pride is self deception.  When Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times, Peter proclaimed that even if everyone else stumbled he wouldn’t. In his arrogance, he declared he would die before that would happen.  In essence, he denounced the Son of God and his pride blinded him from reality.  In every tragic hero, pride proceeds their fall. They are consumed by their own desire to do what they know is immoral. In Frankenstein, both Dr. Frankenstein and the creature have tragic flaws that lead to their destruction. However, it is Frankenstein who is a tragic hero because of his belief that the quest for knowledge against great odds will lead to immortality. Thus, his pride prevents him from seeing reality.  While in the midst of pursuing desires, is a tendency of tragedies to also disregard any warning signals that might save them from their spiral of destruction. In The Crucible, John Proctor is the tragic hero in several of ways. One of these is when he chooses to sleep with the servant girl Abigail Williams before considering the ramifications of his actions. The disregard of warning signals and pursuit of selfish desires leaves nothing but the suffering of innocent people. In the Shakespearean play Macbeth, Macbeth brings about his own destruction as well as that of innocent people murdering families and servants.  In To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee reveals the human side of her characters. From a romantic and affectionate beginning to a rotten, prejudiced society, Lee shows the readers the true flawed characters that influence society. It revolves around three major themes; education, bravery, and prejudice. Through the protagonist Atticus, Lee illustrates why education is necessary for human beings to act civilized and refrain from acts that could cause irreparable damage.

II. Man’s pride makes him fearless and over-confident

Dan-forth compromise power; divine right The Crucible

In one scene Danforth states that he would ‘hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law and an ocean of tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes.’ Dan is the almighty, the man with the supreme power to control all those in his Salem. Whatever he said was law and anybody who disobeyed it would be punished by him, for Thomas Danforth was one of the three judges in The Crucible.

does not want to admit defeat

When confronted with the question of his actions, Proctor refused to answer the question, saying:

‘As I would not violate what on the spur of the moment as I said was my sense of myself.’ Proctor was a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of his time, but against his own vision of decent behavior. People in Salem respected and even feared him.

Mary Warren, Proctor’s servant can barely speak out of embarrassment and fear.

Mary:              Oh, I’m just going home, Mr. Proctor.

Proctor:          Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you leave the house, did I not? Why shall I pay you? I am looking for you more often than my cows!

Mary:   I only come to see the great doings in the world.

Proctor:   I’ll show you a great doin’ on your arse one of these days. Now get you home; my wife is waitin’ with your work!

Condemns one, must condemn all, and must not show defeat.

Proctor has slept with Abigail, and when Elizabeth, his wife, comes to know of it, he claims that she is a witch. While Proctor wants to save himself from the clutches of public abuse, he now turns to Abigail to say that all girls in question were seen dancing naked in the woods, and did so to conjure up spirits. This led to accusations of the girls as witches. To escape punishment both Proctor and Abigail accuse other women of the town of being witches, including Elizabeth Proctor, his wife. The finding of a doll in the house becomes an overwhelming evidence to prove that Elizabeth was indeed a witch.

Proctor then gets Mary Warren to testify against the girls. When Mary Warren enters the court room, Abigail and the other girls start to scream saying that it was she who was sending her spirit upon them. Mary then turns against John Proctor, and accuses him of sending his spirit out upon her.

iii. Only cares about himself

“She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly.  God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat.  But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it”

Proctor, in his last attempt to save his wife and prove the dishonesty of the girls in court says that he made the mistake of flirting with Abigail, and she now wanted to see Elizabeth condemned (Act III, page 110)

“Spoke or silent, a promise is surely made”

Elizabeth knows that Proctor had used them all to protect himself and now, having got her attached to him. Abigail would continue to pursue him. Having slept with Abigail, Proctor had made a commitment to her, at least in her eyes (Act II, page 61)

Creation of life Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein, a student at the university in Ingolstadt, Germany, became obsessed with his ambition to create life as an addition to scientific knowledge, and becomes successful when he manages to bring to life a monster the sight of whom fills him with “breathless horror and disgust”.

flaws in human life

My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book and said,

:Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.”

If, instead of this remark, had my father had taken the pain to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded and that a modern system of science had been introduced which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, I would have thrown Agrippa aside and have contented my imagination, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardor to my former studies. This happened to be the turning point, for his attitude turned my mind and it received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents, and I continued to read with the greatest avidity.

Frankenstein tries to play God

iii.     thinks he can destroy the monster

c.   jury in To Kill A Mockingbird

I.     all white, stereotype

Harper Lee’s book, ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird,’ reveals the human side of her characters. From a romantic and affectionate beginning to a rotten, prejudiced society, Lee shows the readers the true flawed characters influence society. There are three major themes in the book; education, bravery, and prejudice. There is a cynical undertone to the way whites eyed the black Negro:

“the witnesses for the state have presented themselves to you gentlemen in the    cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you      gentlemen would go along with them on the evil assumption that all Negroes lie,         that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be  trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their       caliber” (217)

II. Macomb’s usual disease

III. the verdict after evidence

d. murder in Macbeth

i.   kills Duncan

II.   after listening to the witches

iv.      desire to be king

v.      becomes king

III.  Man disregards any signals that may lead to their destruction  AND pursues desires despite the forthcoming

a.       creation in Frankenstein

i.      Frankenstein never thought of the consequences before and after

ii.      does not accused the monster of killing William

iii.      neglects to make the monster a mate

b. Deceitfulness in The Crucible

John Proctor sleeping with Abigail

Parris putting life in children’s hands

Abigail ignoring the consequences of lying in court

Dan forth ignoring the confession of Mary Warren

Dan forth ignores postponements in hangings

Dan forth ignores logic

c.       Prejudice in To Kill A Mockingbird

i.      Ignoring the facts of the trial proving Tom’s innocence

ii.      The mob coming to the jail Tom was being held at

iii.      Shooting Tom in the back

d.      Prophecies of the witches in Macbeth

i.      Macbeth takes matter into his own hands

ii.      Ignoring the burnum bush

V. causes the suffering of innocents.

a.       Killing in Macbeth

i.      Killing the Macduff family

ii.      Killing banquo

iii.      Killing the murder

b.      Hangings in The Crucible

i.      John Proctor hangs

ii.      George Jacobs hangs

iii.      Rebecca Nurse hangs

c.       Deaths in Frankenstein

i.      William is killed

ii.      Justine is killed

iii.      Henry is killed

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