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The Great Departure

The Great Departure

Daniel Smith’s, The Great Departure illustrates very well the United State’s evolution from a traditionally isolationist nation to an interventionist nation. WWI literally dragged the U.S. out of its isolationist shell and placed the U.S. at the forefront of international politics. The pressure to join WWI was resisted greatly by the Wilson administration and the country as a whole. Smith does an excellent job at presenting the factors that influenced the U.S. to enter the war and at conveying the mind set of American leaders during this time and the issues they faced pertaining to the war. The author illustrates the factors of interest or the eventual causes involvement in WWI in chapters II, III, IV. He offers good points to the issues and now I would like to discuss some of the issues he has mentioned. Propaganda was a tool used by Germany and the allies to influence the U.S., whether that propaganda was used to keep the U.S. out of the war or to try and draw the U.S. into the war makes no real difference. The extent of propaganda in the U.S. is shown by the Dr. Albert’s briefcase affair and the German execution of Nurse Edith Cavell and other atrocities of war carried out by either side. The author, while recognizing the importance of these propaganda stories and the heterogeneous culture of the U.S., underestimates the actual impact on public sentiment it actually had I feel. The U.S., “the great melting pot” had an enormous immigrant population, to underestimate the effect of propaganda on a population that had close personal ties to their homeland, and their ability to influence the actions of government in a democratic republic is a mistake. President Wilson was operating under this assumption that the people would influence the government when he neglected to accept any of the Senator Lodge’s changes to the peace treaty. While I agree with Smith that this is not the reason the U.S. joined the allies in WWI, I feel the heterogenous makeup of the U.S. population is possibly the major influence the U.S. had to move away from an isolationist state. Balance of Powers was another great factor that influenced the U.S. in its views of WWI. The U.S. and the world had come to rely on the principle of balance of power to ensure peace, security and trade throughout the world, and it was no doubt that a victory by the Central Powers would catapult Germany to superpower status and upset the balance of power in Europe and thus the rest of the world.

Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a Microcosm of Society

The Tempest as Microcosm of Society

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most universal plays and, not coincidentally, is very much concerned with human behavior and emotion. As John Wilders observes in The Lost Garden, “Prospero’s island is what the sociologists call a ‘model’ of human society. Its cast of characters allows Shakespeare to portray in microcosm nearly all the basic, fundamental social relationships: those of a ruler to his territory, a governor to his subjects, a father to his child, masters to servants, male to female, and the rational to the irrational within the human microcosm itself” ([London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1978], 127).

Prospero himself is an observer of and experimenter with human behavior: he saw human nature at its worst when his brother usurped his dukedom and sent Prospero and Miranda off to almost certain death; he has tried to nurture Caliban’s human half and to teach the monster acceptable human conduct; he demonstrates a working knowledge of reverse psychology when he maneuvers his daughter into love with Ferdinand; and, finally, he examines his own behavior and emotions in relation to his enemies, relatives, and friends.

Prospero and the play ask two questions: Is behavior such an Antonio’s the basic nature of human beings; and, if so, can nurture improve upon nature? In modern terms, the play struggles with the ever-present debate over the impact of heredity and environment.

His first observations–of Antonio’s and Alonso’s treachery–were inadvertent and even unexpected; however, they prompted Prospero to shift the focus of his studies from “the liberal arts” to human behavior. Prospero has devoted himself to gaining knowledge and, as he admits to Miranda, neglected h…

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…“the Ariel and the Caliban of which his own—and our—nature consists” (Wilders, New Prefaces to Shakespeare, 273); he has found the answer to the dilemma of nature vs. nurture in his own psyche, and with this knowledge he returns to the human society of Milan a more balanced, more complete human being than when he left it.

Works Cited and Consulted

Hirst, David L. The Tempest: Text and Performance London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1984.

Rowman and Littlefield: Manchester University Press, 1980.

Shakespeare, William Measure for Measure 3.1.148

The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974.

Callaghan, Dympna William Shakespeare Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986.

Wilders, John The Lost Garden London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1978.

Wilders, New Prefaces to Shakespeare Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988.

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