Power In Kurt Vonnegut's Iliad And The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Capstone Essay: Power According to the oxford dictionary, “Power” is the ability to do something or act in a particular way especially as a faculty or even individually. It is also the political, social authority, or control that is exercised by a government. The theme of power, is portrayed throughout several texts and novels in both Mosaic I and II. In the book, Cat’s cradle by Kurt Vonnegut expresses the idea of power through religion, science and politics. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marks and Frederick Engles, demonstrates how power, through class and economy leads to political empowerment. Homer’s Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh both demonstrate conflicting views of what is means to be powerful. Throughout these two text, both the Gods and mortals, struggle to discover their own power, whether it is through their strengths or an obsession with glory. The theme of power also manifests itself in the book of Antigone, where Creon abuses his privilege of absolute power and this allows him to suffer to a great extent. The Complete Persepolis and Walden and Civil Disobedience also demonstrates how governing powers can oppress people and this can be very restrictive in societies. Vonnegut displays power in a reoccurring fashion and this is first seen when he creates the religion of Bokononism, the main purpose of him creating this religion is to give the people something to believe in. He makes this clear when he states, “All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies” (p.5). From this, it is evident that this religion has the power to allow people to believe in misconceptions about the truths and the real meaning of life. Vonnegut’s assertions are that religion is tiring, o... ... middle of paper ... ...have the capacity to be self-regulating and independent. This is seen in the first chapter, when he states, “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinions” (p.10). From this, one is able to see Thoreau’s desire to limit the power of states and he guarantees freedom and equality for all the citizens living in a state. The theme of power manifest itself in several texts in both Mosaic I and II, whether it is through an institution such as religion, science and politics or even on an individual level. In regards to these institutions, power has the ability to establish or demolish a society and this is portrayed throughout these texts. One is also able to see that it is not power itself, but a legitimation of the lust or love of power, that corrupts an individual and an example of this is seen the text Antigone.

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