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Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Considering Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange is so much more than an entertaining novel; it is a philosophical and theological fable built upon a conceptual struggle between good, evil, and our God-given and human ability to choose one over the other freely. It is a satirical treatise railing against the dangers of overextended government and its vain penchant for social solutions predicated on the contextual removal of individual free choice in moral decisions. It’s a nightmarish tale of sex and violence set in a dystopian world no sharp person would ever volunteer to live in, never mind confessions of actual and real-time occupancy. Yet, we all do go on living in that very world in spite of our best intentions, and everyday too! Read More »

The Faust Myth according to Christopher Marlowe

Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe does incredible justice to the Faust myth in his own Dr. Faustus. Dr. Faustus is a poem (blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter) about a learned, intellectual, German scholar who sells his soul to the devil in effort to gain ultimate wisdom and the ultimate power accompanying it. This ultimate wisdom and power purchased by Faustus is delivered to him in the form of twenty-four years of service from a devil commissioned by Lucifer called Mephastophilis. The knowledge and power gained through deep exposure to academic disciplines such as philosophy, law, medicine, physics, mathematics, and divinity (theology) are not enough for Faustus. His Ph.D. expertise is not enough. He desires something greater. He has already mastered - to the point of self-conceit and waxen wings (illusion to the myth of Icarus) - all that these academic disciplines have to offer. He wants so much more! He desires to master the universe! He wants to be a god. So, Faustus tragically turns to the magic arts and necromancy. The resultant story is laden with vivid images of Mephastophilis (a devil), Lucifer, good and evil angels, the Seven deadly Sins, a tormented Pope, and the Spirit of Alexander the Great. Read More »

Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat and Cosmic Irony

Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat is the story of four ship-wrecked men struggling for survival against forces well beyond their control. Their ship sunk, the cook, the correspondent, the oiler and the captain are forced to float their lifeboat close enough to land to see it, but far enough away to escape the sharp, rough, crushing and ice-cold waves and surf guarding it. It is an awful and cosmically-ironic situation. The four men, sea-weary from the traumatic ordeal experienced thus far, are forced to endure their own awareness of the potential lose-lose situation they now find themselves in, unfortunately. They are forced to float in the deep but gentle waters of the sea to sustain their own slow death, while all the while holding in full view their ultimate but seemingly unreachable goal for survival - dry land. Should they attempt to make it to land, their lifeboat would surely be destroyed and they would be ferociously tossed into the water. There they might suffer hypothermia, death by drowning or both! None of the men have the strength required to make a swim of such great distance. So, the cook, correspondent, oiler and captain spend two long, sleepless, cold and helpless nights thinking about it in the lifeboat. Read More »