The Illusion of Escape Illustrated in Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory

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Plato, the great philosopher, once said, “No one can escape his destiny” (“Destiny Quotes”). No matter how hard a person might try to escape a boundary, be it real or of the mind, they cannot evade the inevitable. In author Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, the efforts to escape mentally, geographically, and physically are shown to make an impact on an individual’s life. Greene implies that though the rewards of escape can be seen as an attainable goal, the efforts are futile, almost always ending in failure because of uncontrollable boundaries. Escape seems to be more like a tempting apparition, much like an oasis in the desert. Greene also shows the great lengths a person is willing to go to in order to pursue the illusion or apparition of escape.

While on the run, the priest endures the stress of not only running from the police, but getting caught and released under a false identity. For the priest, physically escaping is a way to live and continue the practices of his faith. The lieutenant views the priest’s lucky encounters as “an appalling mockery. To have had [him] and then let [him] go” cause two innocent people to be killed (Greene 192). The priest continuously tries to escape, but never fully succeeds. The priest and the lieutenant have one common belief, stemming from two diverse realities: the priest is doing more harm than good to the common people while on the run. “You’re a danger” the lieutenant explains, “That’s why we kill you” (Greene 193). For the priest, the only real form of escape presented is death. If he is not dead, he is bound by his religion to function as a priest and to carry on with his duties. Greene shows why not allowing any religious figures to escape Mexico was important to th...

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...o escape, it is still unattainable to the priest, making the job of the lieutenant easier. Geographic escape is just one other illusion the priest dreams of, yet never reaches in reality.

Throughout the book, The Power and the Glory, author Graham Greene shows his readers the importance of mental, physical and geographical escape in a person’s life. All three types of escape can greatly benefit or hurt a person and affect every aspect of their lives. We are shown that no matter how hard the characters tried to evade the situations they were in; their fate seemed to be pre-determined. Plato makes a valid point in his idea that no matter the amount of effort put in, a person cannot change or escape the destiny the world has mapped out for them. There may be a certain amount of sense in accepting and dealing with events in the present, not trying to evade the future.

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