Thursday, October 4, 2007

Developing a numbness to the world

Writers often focus on a central theme when writing a poem or a piece of prose the way these themes are presented allow the writing to be analyzed. The prose piece “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe and the poem “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning are discuss the theme of revenge in very different lights.
In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the main character Montreasor feels that he was wronged by Fortunato and therein enacts his revenge. Montreasor never informs the reader how he was wronged leaving them to think that Montreasor is acting out of biased revenge rather then seeking justice. As Montreasor seals Fortunato into the room he taunts him with the possibility of an escape again stressing how Montreasor is acting out of revenge and most likely out of proportion. If you look at the world with a bias or blind eyes then you will miss many things. Like Montreasor, you will become quick to judge and perhaps quick to persecute. You should always look for evidence and a factual reason before you go and condemn or judge someone. In the case of “My Last Duchess”, the Duke says almost jokingly that he “gave commands and all smiles stopped”. The late Duchess had exhibited disgraceful behavior by being too friendly with other men and by not appreciating how distinguished his name was. The Duke compulsively reacted perhaps out of jealously or instinctive anger, and had his young bride killed. This nonchalant way in which the duke speaks makes the reader question whether the felt any guilt for his wife’s death. The answer to that question is no, the duke had become numb to violence and merely moved on to a new wife. It is not uncommon for people witness an injustice or act of violence and experience no recognition of the act as being out of the ordinary. Both the poem and the prose piece that we read this week challenge us to look at how we view the world and encourage us to look in depth at how we view things to prevent ourselves from becoming numb to life.

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