Didacticism in English Literature Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2121 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Literature

Didacticism in English Literature

From whichever, standpoint writers formulate and present their literary works thereemerges a myriad of lessons for the audience to learn from (Stock36). This occurs, not only from the character's perspective but alsofrom the viewpoint of the readers. Creative writers who worked with the likes of Julius Caesar, Canterbury Tales, Gulliver Travels and The Vanity of Human Wishes, clearly represent this truth. Drawing from the experience and traits of different characters from the plays, the authors present readers' with opportunities to learn from either the positive occurrences or the tragic mistake that the characters make and experience in their lives' portrayal in the literatures. It is imperative that audiences should not only read these pieces for the sake of it but also strive to draw some practical lessons that would help in real life scenarios. In this discussion, we identify some lessons to learn from the tragic end of Julius Caesar, the unity and companionship of the pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales, the belief and perception of Gulliver to moral power and physical might and the hopelessness of life in The Vanity of Human Wishes

Julius Caesar

In this play, the author portrays Julius Caesar as a dictator who met his tragic end through his own assassination and the defeat of the schemers, as the "Battle of Philippi" (Shakespeare 1).The play constitutes a variety of antagonists and protagonists, all from whom the readers can draw some lessons. The main antagonist in the play being Caesar demonstrates to the readers and learner, through his characters how easily one can have a downfall and how much of the responsibilities lie with the victims. Although Caesar had a deep desire to be a hero, his actions reflected, not in any way the characteristic of one and thus end up as a tragedy. One of the main reasons for Cesar's downfall was not in his lack of commitment to achieving victory and command over the people, as this he obviously had. He had major faults, many of which led to his tragedy; however, it is not in the faults that we get to learn the lesson but his lack of perception into the cause of his downfall.

Many would agree that individual'sdownfall come because of their own doings and free choice. This is irrespective of whether the endeavors meant to gain some sort of good or evil goals. According to Mcwhorter (p. 3), Caesar was very arrogant and his behavior, as the conspirators recognized, evidently supported the charge. His desire to gain absolute authority over Rome is blatantly selfish and his perception as immortal and worthy of absolute reverence of his followers exceedingly arrogant. For him, it was however unfortunate that the faith he had in himself and his immortality and his utter desire to have everyone under his control became his own tragedy (Shakespeare 1). His undoing emergesfrom the fact that he instigated his own unpopularity and thus the subsequentdownfall. His stubbornness to corrections, say through the warnings in his wife's nightmares and the warnings ofCalphurniapaves way for the ambitions get the better of him as the hope of being, made king becomes too magnificent to resist (Mcwhorter 3).

Caesar should have known that his qualities of arrogance, pride, desire for control and stubbornness would not lead him to any glory but rather cause his failure, if not total extinction as the case was. However, the greatest lesson for the readers and other audience to learn is that one cause his own downfall simply by paying no attention to the factors that leads down that path. These factors, like in the case of Caesar relate to some negative characters which bringing the bearers glory work to their disadvantages. Finding glory or attaining heroism is rather a factor of virtues and not the vices that characters like Caesar display through their arrogance and pride among other negative traits.

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The significance of unity among individuals in different settings and especially those with the aim of achieving some common goals comes into the fore throughout this book. In the story, which begins with the pilgrimages that set to embark on a trip to Canterbury, the author, depicting himself as the one who joins the group presents an image of delight among a group, which in unity provide company to one another. The need for accomplishing the goal of visiting was, treated with so much passion among the individuals in the pilgrimage who with passion and a sense of oneness focused on achieving their purpose of visiting the shrine of St. Thomas Becket (Chaucer & Purves 26). Irrespective of the difference they had, their goal of reaching the shrine was much bigger and important and as such, unity and coexistence became inevitable.

In Canterbury Tales, the five Guildsmen are a representation of the kind of fraternal unification that the journey to Canterbury needed in order to succeed. It is important to note that the pilgrimage came from different backgrounds and across villages, churches, and courts of the region and they could not undermine the possibility of discord occurring from among them. In preventing this, discord the members established a casual company, joined by their tasks as refreshment that the hosts presented and the tales that different members provided (Chaucer & Purves 677). With respect to the class differences among the pilgrimage, they operated with the notion that close to all of them had their own professions in addition to the belief that none had a background of nobility.

From this story, the fact that unity is imperative and possible, different backgrounds and social classes notwithstanding, emerges. In every society where people live, the emergence of colossal difference is irresistible. These differences, in the contemporary world, emerge in the aspects of religion, race, sex, and levels of education, just to mention but a few. On the other hand, there are always instances where people would need to achieve some common purposes, sometimes for their own good and in other cases for the good of the community at large. In the view of these common goals, putting aside the differences is very imperative. It is significant that people establish the sense of unity with the view of ensuring that the goal at hand, which is much bigger than the differences they possess, sees the light of day.

Swift's Gulliver Travels

Jonathan swift, in the publication,"Gulliver's travels "tells the story of Lemuel Gulliver who is the main protagonist in the story. In presenting the trained English Surgeons turned seaman, the author demonstrates a myriad of lesson, not just of value to the characters in the play but also of significant life value to the audience. One of the most overriding lessons in this book is the aspect of moral power as it operates within individual and societies and at diverse capacities. Gulliver, despite being the protagonist in the play, demonstrates a sense of belief in physical might and lacks self-reflection in most instances (Swift 332). To Gulliver, physical power seemed to have more sense than the moral power would. The character presents in his ability to deal with different situations using his physical strength, together with the intimidation he shows in instances where he faces opposition from instances and the characters he considers to overwhelm him physically.

One of the instances where the character's physical strength extends to him some advantage includes his belief that he can defeat the Blefuscudian army owing to his gigantic physical size. With the same perspective, he considers himself helpless in the hands of irrelevant things like pets and insects. When the Houyhnhnms chain up the Yahoos, Gulliver experiences the power of physical force, because of this, he considers the latter as animals and calls them with brute beasts (Flohr1). The character, on the other hand there emerges situation where the use of moral righteousness and might proves more powerful than physical might.The entire point of the disagreement concerning the egg, which created animosity between Blefuscu and Lilliput, is more than the differences that the two have on a cultural standpoint (Swift 50-51). The aspect of religion and moral considerations comes very strongly in this scenario. The differences in the translation of the holy book's passages simply cause the disagreement, which eventfully triggers the battle.

Relating to all these scenarios, Gulliver ought to have recognized the power that moral uprightness has over the physical strength. This however does not negate the significance of physical might, as it is also imperative in many instances. It is nonetheless paramount that in applying physical strength, the aspect of morality should come first and support the reasons behind the use of such force. Had Blefuscu and Lilliput correctly interpreted the passages in the holy book and used moral reasoning, the warfare would not erupt in the first place. Moreover, Gulliver ought to have recognized how vulnerable his beliefs made him even in the face of insignificant things and situations. Considering his belief in his physical stature, he had no reason at all to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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