Perhaps Tolstoy’s short story, “The Kreutzer Sonata”, truly captures one definite conception of love, albeit a very negative one. To understand more what is brought to light in this story, we need to take a look at it, more importantly at the character of Pozdnychev.
Pozdnychev has just spent several years in prison for the murder of his unfaithful wife, as we find out early in the story. His tale is a sordid one, as he relates his past life, before his wedding, the meeting of his wife, their marriage, their dreadful relationship up to the murder itself and the tribunal. What is interesting in his story remains the unique perception he has on love, on marriage, and on society in general.
The first important element he brings into evidence, which clearly establishes his state of mind, has to do with his motive for killing his wife, and the understanding he has of that action.
“’They asked me at the trial with what and how I killed her. Fools! They thought I killed her with a knife, on the 5th of October. It was not then I killed her, but much earlier. Just as they are all now killing, all, all…’”
He does not see his killing blow as the murder, only as the final outcome of the path they were on from the beginning. It was inevitable. The passion which had prompted them to marriage could not be maintained. It vanished, it went away, and they were left with nothing to say. Their only bond was through physical contact, sexuality. They only found their purpose in their “swinish connection.”
Podznychev adds a second element, opening the door on the social practices of his time, particularly those of young men in their prime. He himself did not get married…
… middle of paper …
…at was deemed natural at a certain time. Hawthorne’s short story does the same thing, this time criticizing another set of social values associated with love.
Tolstoy’s unique elaboration on the subject gives us a new option. The eccentric Pozdnychev presents the whole in a dark setting. Once again, these protests come from an observation of society, not from an understanding of love as a concept. What Pozdnychev strives for is a change of hearts, the bettering of his fellow men. Love should be exalted, and poetic, and sensual, but it is not. If it is not, it is because society and state have made it such, by legalizing prostitution, by encouraging young men to debauchery.
Truly, a new approach is being introduced, the idea that social conventions dictate the nature of love as we see it, that it all depends on the perspective of a person or a group.
Julius Caesar Essay: Loyalty and Justice in Julius Caesar
Loyalty and Justice in Julius Caesar
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, one must read the text closely to track the shifting motivations and loyalties of each character as the play progresses. An important factor that must be kept in mind while reading is the degree of loyalty, in other words, the degree to which characters act out of a motivation to help others. Throughout the play, each character’s current degree of loyalty to others is clearly exhibited by words or behavior – this holds true for the characters of Brutus, Cassius, Antony, Portia, and Calpurnia. The focus on loyalty is critical because before the play ends an even-handed justice is meted out to a number of people who fail to live up to an expected standard of loyalty to others.
Mark Antony, for example, begins the play strongly loyal to Caesar, and his actions through the death of Caesar in Act 3 are clearly motivated by his desire to support Caesar’s cause. Something goes wrong somewhere, though, as by 4.1 Antony is engaged in dividin…