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Forgiveness In Dickens’ Great Expectations

Forgiveness In Dickens’ Great Expectations

Miriam A felt completely choleric. She just could not forgive her husband’s apologies anymore. Almon B was a drunkard. When he came home intoxicated, he was always extremely apologetic and told her that he’d never get drunk again. Miriam now knew that Almon was not really repentant. She could forgive him until she was blue, but unless Almon truly repented, their marriage would not work. Forgiveness is an important aspect in the family as well as in society, which is built on the family. In Charles Dickens’ peerless novel called Great Expectations, many characters find it easy to pardon others, but some have to learn to forgive. Dickens uses the characters in his novel to illustrate how in society forgiveness is a desideratum to bring about peace and harmony.

One character in the novel who lives a very serene life because of his great ability to forgive is Joe Gargery. Ever since he was a child, Joe demonstrated his amazing quality of forgiveness. He grew up having a father who was an alcoholic. When Joe’s dad came home, he would beat Joe and his mother and they would run away. When they were away from Joe’s dad, Joe would start school but his dad would always find his stray family, pull Joe out of school, and bring them home. For this reason, Joe lived most of his life an illiterate man. He could have been very angry and resentful about this, but Joe justified his father’s actions which caused his illiteracy by saying that he pulled him out of school because he loved him. Joe shows “his natural virtue in the sincere quality of forgiveness in the epitaph he wrote for his dad.”1 It said, “Whatsume’er the failings on his part, remember reader he were that good in …

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1O. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1980) 208.

11. Great Expectations, 347.

12. Jenkin, 69.

13. Great Expectations, 348.

14. The NIV Study Bible, ed. Kenneth Barker, et al, (Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1985) II Corinthians 2:7.

15. Jenkin, 70.

16. Great Expectations, 35.

17. Great Expectations, 35.

18. Great Expectations, 35.

19. Jenkin, 70.

2O. Colossians 3:13.

21. Jenkin, 87.

22. Miller, 257.

23. Miller, 257.

24. Miller, 258.

25. Miller, 257.

26. Charles Dickens, The Letters of Charles Dickens, ed. Laurence Hutton (New York: Bigelow, Brown, and Co., 1893) 279.

27. Dickens wrote many moving letters to friends and family besides the one quoted in the text. Check out The Letters of Charles Dickens (n. 26) for further reading.

Extreme Jealousy in Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice

Extreme Jealousy in Othello, the Moor of Venice

Aristotle’s Poetics laid out the definition of tragedy: unlike comedy, the purpose of tragedy is not merely to instruct and delight an audience. Rather, its aim is to allow a cathartic release as a result of the heightened emotional state caused by the events of the tragedy. This idea assumes that the average person can experience these intense emotions vicariously. In Psyche and Symbol in Shakespeare , Alex Aronson contends that the characters in Shakespearean tragedy have the power to affect us because they tap what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious , the “omnipresent, unchanging, and everywhere identical condition or substratum of the psyche per se” (14). Othello, the Moor of Venice, attempts to achieve the requisite level of harrowing emotion by treating the audience to a spectacle of passionate delusional jealousy and the murder that follows. The playwright, according to Rolf Soellner, framed his Moorish general?s fall in terms of Passion warring with Patience (both ‘the will’ and rationality of action) — drawing on the prevalent Senecan and Stoic conventions of the baroque period in which he was writing (239-58). Unfortunately, the modern tendency to ‘psychoanalyze’ the words and actions presented in Othello reduces the audience?s experience from cathartic to metaphoric. In either case, the Moor?s over-reaction can be viewed as a lesson counseling against indulgence in the excesses of emotion without a balancing leaven of self-control.

As most of Othello ?s fictional characters have been psychoanalyzed in absentia , I hoped to find a reasonable psychological explanation for Othello?s breakdown. The journal American Imago (co-founded by Freud) has publ…

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…as truly such a destructive force.

Works Cited and Consulted

Aronson, Alex. Psyche and Symbol in Shakespeare . Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1972.

Bell, Millicent. ?Othello?s Jealousy.? Yale Review 85 (April 1997): 120-136.

Driscoll, James P. Identity in Shakespearean Drama . East Brunswick, NJ: Assoc. UP, 1983.

Faber, M. D. ?Othello: Symbolic Action, Ritual and Myth.? American Imago 31 (Summer 1974): 159-205.

Holland, Norman N. Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare . New York: McGraw, 1966.

Kovel, Joel. ?Othello.? American Imago 35 (Spring-Summer 1978): 113-119.

Reid, Stephen. ?Othello?s Jealousy.? American Imago 25 ( Fall 1968): 274-293.

Shakespeare, William. Complete Works of Shakespeare . Ed. David Bevington. 4th ed. NY: Longman, 1997.

Soellner, Rolf. Shakespeare?s Patterns of Self-Knowledge . N.p.: Ohio State UP, 1972.

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