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Transcript of Universal Theme
The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is a clear example of how when hate is mixed with power over that person it will quickly lead to the abuse of that power
Frankenstein is a one of the greatest examples of the tragedy and corruption the abuse of power can bring. It is a story of tragedy, rage, creation and the power of science.
The Andromeda Strain
The Andromeda Strain also shows the tragedy that the abuse of power can bring. However, similar to Frankenstein this Abuse of Power is brought on by the abuse of science through carelessness and hunger for power.
Frankenstein is about a man by the name of Victor Frankenstein who in his pursuit of knowledge brings life to a horrible monster.
After giving his creation life Frankenstein becomes afraid of his monster and flees his labratory
The monster is deeply saddened and angered by his creator abandoning him. He then goes off into the world to find acceptance among other people.
However the monster is unable to find the acceptance he is looking for due to his hideous appearance. This causes him to become deeply angered at his creator Frankenstein for bringing him into such a cruel world.
Connections to the Abuse of Power
During this time Frankenstein has returned to his home country and has discovered that his youngest brother has been murdered. Frankenstein immediately suspects his creation and begins his search for it when his brothers nurse is accused of and executed for the crime.
Frankenstein finds his monster hiding in the mountains. The monster admits to killing his brother and framing the nurse but asks that Frankenstein hear his tragic story before judging him as it is his duty as the creator.
The monster then tells Frankenstein the tragedy that has befallen him. He tells him of societies rejection of him and his failed attempts to find a companion or any happiness. The monster then asks Frankenstein to create him a female counterpart so that he might be happy. The monster also agrees to go off into the wilderness and leave humanity alone if Frankenstein does this.
Although Frankenstein originally agrees to fulfill the monsters wish he begins to have fears partway through his work. He fears that the two creatures might breed and create a race of monsters that might threaten humanity. Realizing this he destroys his work on the monsters wife. This angers the monster and he swears he will bring misery to Frankenstein for it.
Frankenstein fearful of the monster flees to England but the monster follows and kills his best frined Clerval. When Frankenstein returns to his town he marries his childhood friend Elizabeth. However, he is very fearful of the monsters wrath and on his wedding night goes looking for his monster while keeping Elizabeth safe at home. However the monster breaks into his home and kills Elizabeth.
Frankenstein greatly saddened and angered at this pursues his monster all the way to the North Pole.
While in the North Pole Frankenstein falls into the water and gets pneumonia. He is then rescued by an explorers ship and dies after telling his story to the captain of the explorers.
However the monster discovers this and is greatly saddened because despite everything he viewed Frankenstein as his only Family. He then swears to burn himself on Frankenstein funeral pyre so that something like him may never be made again.
This book clearly shows the theme that the abuse of power corrupts and brings tragedy
Throughout this book both Frankenstein and the Monster have abused the power they have been given.
Frankenstein abuses the power he has obtained through his great knowledge of science. He brings a creature to life simply because he wants to see if he can, and does this without thinking of the consequences. This is what begins both his and the monsters tragedies and demonstrates his abuse of power.
The monster abuses both the power of life he has been given and the power of his superior body. As he uses this power to bring tragedy to those who shun him and to his creator Frankenstein who he blames for his tragedy. You can see that as his rage grew throughout this book that it led to the corruption and abuse of his power. However, in abusing his power he not only brings tragedy to those around him but also brings tragedy to himself.
"Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery." (16.1) This shows both the monsters rage and how it leads to his temptation to abuse his power. It also shows the tragedy that Frankenstein has brought upon his creation through his cabuse of power.
“I have devoted my creator, the select specimen of all that is worthy of love and admiration among men, to misery; I have pursued him even to that irremediable ruin.” “I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch who would create such another as I have been.” (196) This shows that through the monsters actions he has brought both tragedy to his creator Frankenstein and himself.
The Merchant of Venice is about a quest by one of the main characters Bassanio to wed the lady Portia so that he might settle all of his debts. However, in order to depart upon this quest he must borrow against his friend Antonio’s credit from a Jew named Shylock who desperately hates Antonio.
In order to secure the loan from Shylock, Antonio agrees to make a deal that if he does not pay back the loan on time then Shylock may cut off a pound of flesh from him. However, as the book progresses many tragedies befall Shylock such as his daughter running off with a christian man and stealing much of his wealth. Also what makes it worse is that the man is friend of Antonio.
When the deadline passes Shylock enforces his bond and demands a pound of Antonio's flesh. Bassanio hears word of this and asks for money from Portia. Portia gives him the money but also gives him a ring and tells him if he ever takes it off it means he no longer loves her
Bassanio during this time is trying to woo Portia but in order to marry her he must pass a test. This test involves him choosing from three chests one of gold, one of silver, and one of lead. Bassanio correctly chooses the lead chest and marries Portia.
However, Portia also disguises herself and follows Bassanio back to Venice to help him. When Bassano arrives back in Vencie he finds Shylock to be completely unreasonable denying repayment of the loan or even twice its original amount and instead insists on Antonio's flesh.
However, Portia has disguised herself as a lawyer and argues Antonio's case. She eventually points out that Shylock can only take a pound of flesh but not his blood and he can only take a pound not a ounce more or less.
Portia also points out that since Shylock has attempted to take the life of a Venice citizen both his land, riches and life are forfeit. However his life is spaired and he is allowed to keep a portion of his wealth. He is also forcibly converted to christianity.
Portia who is disguised as the lawyer then asks Bassanio and Antonio for Bassanio's ring as payment. Although Bassanio originally refuses Antonio convinces him to give it up. However this causes Portia to tease him about it until he aplogizes and then reveals it was her. The book then ends with Bassanio and Portia happy and Antonio who had oversees investments sees them pay off.
Connections to the Abuse of Power
The abuse of power is demonstrated in this book in the control Shylock overts over Antonoio in the form of the bond they signed
Shylock's abuse of this power is prompted by the rage and anger he holds towards Antonio.
Shylock abuses the power of their bond by enforcing it to such an unreasonable degree he refuses to accept twice of what the original debt was worth
However it is demonstrated that abuse of such a power will only lead to tragedy whether it be for the subject of that power or the wielder of that power. Which is demonstrated when Shylock loses everything as a result of the abuse of his power over Antonio.
“My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.” (IV.i.213-214) This clearly demonstrates Shylocks abuse of his power in his determination to exact his bond in the form of Antonio's flesh
“That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit, I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it. For half thy wealth, it is Antonio’s; The other half comes to the general state, Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.” (IV.i.384-388) This shows how through the abuse of his power it led to his own downfall and the cause of more tragedy for himself.
The book 1984 by George Orwell demonstrates the corruption that the abuse of power will bring and the tragedy that befalls those who are subjugated under that power.
The book 1984 is about a world that is divided into three distinct nations and ruled by an iron fist by each of their governments. The main character, Winston Smith lives in Oceania and is ruled by the inner party under the guise of “Big Brother” the autocratic protector and ruler of the people.
Winston is very unsatisfied with his life and begins to try to find small ways to oppose the party such as writing in a journal. That is until the day he discovers a note left by a girl named Julia that says, "I love you."
Winston then begins a love affair with Julia due to his search for human companionship and partially as a means of opposing the group called the party who run the country.
Winton and Julia eventually try to reach out to a man called O'Brian who they believe is part of an underground resistance. He confirms their suspicions and gives Winston a book that reveals all the party's deceit.
Linking the Books together.
Through all four of these books we can see the abuse of power in many different forms.
Some abuse it in a careless search for knowledge. Some do it to have power over others. And some do it simply to revel in the power itself.
But regardless of what the reasons were in each of these books when power was misused or abused it only lead to tragedy for either those who abused it or those around them. Shylock lost all his land, wealth, and religion, Frankenstein's family died and then he himself died while the monster lost the only family he had. The people have lost all freedom and happiness in1984 and in the Andromeda Strain a whole town has been killed. The abuse of power brings this kind of tragedy because throughout mankind's history power has the corrupter and destroyer of people.
However Winston and Julia are eventually caught and O'Brien reveals himself to Winston as secretly a thought police member. He then tortures and brainwashes Winston into a loyal party member.
At the end Winston and Julia have betrayed each other and Winston is once again a loyal party member who loves Big Brother
Connections to the Abuse of Power
Many things are revealed about the abuse of power through watching how the part conducts itself.
The party has restricted the most basic freedoms and refuses any basic human companionship. People are no longer allowed to love anything other than the party.
This shows how the party has abused its power, but much more is revealed about their abuse of power through O'Brien and Winston's Conversation
O'Brien reveals that the party does not wield power for any greater purpose. They do not hope to do anything with the power they have been given but instead acquire it simply to revel in it.
This shows especially how power in itself corrupts and draws a need for more power which in turn leads to its abuse.
. “He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day.” (Pt. 2 ch.7, 30-31) The Party is abusing their power and using technology to eliminate some of their peoples most basic rights such as privacy.
"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." (Pt.3 ch.3, 234) This shows the party abusing the power they have to simply create a world that only benefits them and where there is no happiness for their people.
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing.” (Pt.3 ch.3, 14) This is simply O'Brien himself recognizing that the party abuses its power simply for their own sake and do not care who is affected by it. They simply want power for the sake of having power
The Andromeda Strain is about a microscopic organism from outer space that lands on earth after a U.S. government satellite collects the organism and then malfunctions. The satellite crashes into earth and releases the organism.
The organism spreads through a town near the crash site infects and immediately kills everyone except for two people. A team of scientist, part of a group called wildfire, is pulled together to combat just such a crisis.
They recover the satellite that crashed and find two survivors within the town; an old man and a baby. They then return to their lab and begin research on the virus.
They discover that the microorganism they call Andromeda come from the upper atmosphere, mutates rapidly, and can convert energy directly to matter.
Eventually they discover that the old man and bay survived because Andromeda can only survive in a narrow pH range and they both had abnormal blood pH.
Andromeda then proceeds to break out of containment and contaminate the entire lab.
An auto self-destruct function is then engaged in the lab but hey realize that Andromeda would only absorb the energy from the blast and grow further. However at the las minute one of the scientists is able to disengage the self-destruct.
By then Andromeda has mutated into a harmless form and they proceed to send it back into the upper atmosphere.
Connections to the Abuse of Power
This book shows an abuse of power very similar to a combination of 1984 and Frankenstein.
In this book the government has been conducting secret programs for greater biological weapons. This already demonstrates an abuse of powr by the government. They are conducting secret programs simply for the sake of gaining more power and no other reason very much like the party.
However the government is using a great many scientists to conduct these projects and have even gone as far as launching satellites into space to try and find new microorganisms that might be able to be used as biological weapons.
This demonstrates an abuse of power in the scientific field. They are conducting these experiments much like Frankenstein simply because they can.