Temptation is an unfortunate yet inevitable aspect of human nature, and through Malamud’s allusion to Bible this reality is made clear. In the Natural, Roy Hobbs’ struggle with temptation is prominent, and after constant failure to resist he finally reaches the point of no return. Before the big set of games in which the Knights have the final opportunity to win the pennant, Roy falls for Memo’s temptations:
The raft with the singing green eyed siren guarding the forbidden flame gave off into the rotting flood a scuttering one eyed rat. In the distance though quite near, a toilet flushed, and though the hero braced himself against it, a rush of dirty water got a good grip and sucked him under. (Malamud 185)
Roy is unable to resist the temptation of Memo the, “singing green eyed siren,” who allures Roy into succumbing to her, “forbidden flame,” her body. Although he, “[braces] himself against it, a rush of dirty water,” temptation and greed, “[gets] a good grip and [sucks] him under” (Malamud 185). Through Roy’s choices in the book, it becomes quite clear that Malamud intended for Roy to represent the common man. Considering this, Roy’s temptation towards Memo’s siren-like qualities must then be evidence for humanity’s innate imperfection simply because if he encounters temptation, then Malamud is making the claim that all common men will also face it. Similarly, in the Bible, even Jesus, the man in which many people believe to be the world’s lord and savior, encounters temptation. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is tempted ...
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...d potentially even led to his downfall as well. If his ego had been able to adapt to the “provocations of reality,” the reality being that he is shot for his expectations or that they are unreachable, his story may have had a completely different ending. Malamud’s allusion to the ego is symbolic of the concept that the common man will undoubtedly have an ego that sets an atypical, unreachable standard at some point in their life, thus exposing that human nature is innately flawed.
All in all, through temptation, inevitable failure, and ego, Malamud’s intimation to the Bible make a point to expose the idea of an imperfect human nature. What Malamud showcases isn’t that human nature is evil or wrong, but rather he reveals that human’s are not perfect, they never will be, and they really should not be. If humans were perfect than what left would there be to strive for?
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