Morality Then and Now the Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

This is the perfect way to end this poem. The ending is in fact effective and consistent. The entire time, the duke speaks about how it was to have his wife besides him and how much he did not agree with her behavior. He then makes an insinuation that it was him in fact that had her killed. The ending leaves the reader in a sort of shock. The lines, "...Notice Neptune, though, / Taming a seahorse, thought a rarity, / Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!" are so effective in clarifying that the Duchess did not die of natural causes and it was in fact the Duke that wanted her to act in a certain way, and he did: by having her killed. And the only thing left of her is the portrait, which he praises for capturing her, after he managed to "tame" her.

2. Assume that the emissary is an insightful person. What kind of an impression do you think the Duke is making? (Be sure to use specific examples to support your claims.)

If the emissary were to be an insightful person, he would have had a very bad impression of the Duke. The Duke started talking about how lovely and beautiful his late wife was. He talked about how much he cared for her and how important she was, and then as if drastically changing, he starts talking badly about her, as if it was her fault that she died in the first place. On top of that, he insinuates that it was him that taught her a lesson after she got too flirtatious and too out of his control, he states, "[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped altogether." The emissary would have caught on to his cynical behavior and would have thought that he was not only an out of control man who kept speaking badly about his dead wife, but that it was himself that put an end to her life altogether. All this is happening while the emissary is there on account of a new wife that the Duke is about to have.

3. What do you think of the Duke's assessments of his Duchess? What problems do you have with his assessments? Do you think his assessment is objective? Why or why not?

The assessments of the Duke toward the Duchess are not objective at all. They are in fact pretty subjective. The readers are only exposed to what the Duke thinks of the Duchess. We are never given a chance to make judgments for ourselves. The only perspective available is that of the duke, and since he had already had a preconceived notion of who the Duchess was according to how he interpreted her behavior, we are left only with is account of everything. The Duchess could have been an innocent friendly woman, but because the only way we are exposed to her is through the Duke's eyes, we are not given an objective account of who she truly was.

6) Responding to Literature (Read pages 749-762)

1. How does "How Much Land does a Man Need?" function as an allegory? Explain how each of the following elements of the story-its characters, its setting, and its events can be read on both literal and symbolic levels.

The story, "How Much Land does a Man Need" is the perfect example of an allegory. The main character was so intrigued by the presence of money that he chose to continue to try to get more and more even though he had already had enough to begin with. He was more than happy with his former life until money was introduced to him. His simple land not only symbolized his pride, it symbolized what he had earned, and what it was that he actually needed. His character was one of a simple-minded individual who thought he had everything despite his family's criticism of the little he had. Then once he got the opportunity to expand, his land grew, but so did his problems, and so did his greed. He was no longer happy with what he kept getting: he wanted more and more. Every time his setting changed, he was added with a new hurdle and more problems. By the end, he had all the land that anyone could ever want, in a place where he couldn't really understand anyone. He was in a situation where he lost touch with who he was before. Upon his death, the answer to the title of this story is answered in an ironic fashion, adding to the allegory of this tale. How much land does a man need? He needs a six foot hole to get buried in after dying. The moral of the story ends up being: greed kills.

2. You have seen British writers questioning the benefits of nineteenth-century industrialization and modernization. How does this questioning change in a Russian setting? List and discuss three different ways in which Tolstoy either shares or extends the British writers' debate about progress.

Tolstoy shares the same idea that money taints behavior, that the British also believed. This concept does not really change in a Russian setting because the idea is still the same. Money changes people and it gets them to do things that they would not have done other wise. It takes away the innocence and simplicity in their lives and does not allow them to truly be happy. Both Russian and British authors expressed this full in their writing. First of all, Tolstoy's character Pahom was a very simple-minded individual. When given the chance to express how he felt about having money, he said that he would rather not have it because he liked enjoying the simple things without the worry of dealing with money. Secondly, once exposed to the opportunity to excel financially, Tolstoy allows his character to jump right at it, despite his previous beliefs about the power of money that affects someone's personality. Lastly, once an individual is exposed to a little bit of money and luxury, they keep wanting more. This portrayal of these characteristics by Tolstoy in his character went hand in hand with the effects that the British though the industrial change was having on their society.

3. In your opinion, does Pahom get what he deserved? Or did he pay too high a price for the "crime" he committed? Explain your response to Tolstoy's moral in a brief, well constructed paragraph.

I believe that Pahom did get what he deserved. He paid an appropriate price for the crime that he committed. He was fully aware of the damage that having too much money would have on an individual and their family, however, he chose to continue on his path of destruction anyway. Instead of being happy with what he had, or even with what he earned the first time, he wanted more. He was never satisfied with anything after his initial financial gain. He proved his own self right when he said that he thought money would actually change him. His fear of financial success was true because he ended up losing all the simple things that he enjoyed and broke all that he thought was moral. Although death was a bit harsh, it is very symbolic that after his pursuing all the land that he wanted, he ended up being buried in a six feet hole, all the land he would ever need.

7) the Bet

a) What would you do for a million dollars?

Five things that may seem outrageous but that I would be willing to do for one million dollars are:

1.) Jump out of a plane (making sure that I would survive the landing of course.)

2.) Rob a corporate bank (only if I knew that I would be able to get away with it.)

3.) Climb a skyscraper more than 50 floors high (strapped to something that would be secure.)

4.) Walk barefoot across the country

5.) Wrestle a bear

I do not think that I would agree to live in solitude for fifteen years in order to get two million dollars when I got released. However, for ten million dollars, I might consider it. It is a long part of your life that you have to give up in order for that money to be given to you. In fifteen years, so much can happen, so many things could occur, everything could change. It doesn't seem worth two million dollars to give up living a part of your life that you will never be able to get back. But for ten million dollars, I think that it may be worth it. In fifteen years, I will be able to truly discover who I am if I am in solitude. I have all that time to reflect and be able to gain knowledge that…

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