Critical Lenses Essay
L. a Date: 11/14/12 Critical Lenses Herodotus once said “men are at the mercy of events and cannot control them. ” In saying this Herodotus meant that men cannot control any situation, but that it is fate that determines what is to occur.
Prince Edward from The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain and Macbeth from Macbeth by William Shakespeare prove this statement to be both true and false. Macbeth in the play (structure) Macbeth by William Shakespeare proves the statement true.
The story is about a man named Macbeth and him becoming king (plot). In the year 1040 in Scotland (setting) three witches prophesize to Macbeth that he will be King (foreshadowing). Macbeth is forced to kill the current king, King Duncan, in order to take the throne. After Macbeth kills King Duncan he feels very guilty. Macbeth ends up killing even more people to cover up his lie (characterization) As Macbeth’s life goes on as king, he begins hearing voices and having hallucinations of Banquo’s ghost (imagery).
These are just the consequences of his actions, and he had to live with them. Macbeth goes from gaining respect, appreciation and wealth to losing everything (characterization). Macbeth chooses to listen to the witches’ prophesy, rather than listening to Banquo telling him the prophecy may be evil; thus, Macbeth causes his own problems. In contrast Prince Edward from The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain was more at the mercy of his situation than was Macbeth. In this novel (structure), Prince Edward has been raised in luxury.
Prince Edward birth was celebrated by the whole country and was wrapped in silks and satins (imagery). He is used to fine foods, magnificent clothing, and to being waited on by hundreds of servants, as well he is accustomed to being protected and to giving commands that others obey quickly. He is used to these things simply because they are part of the life of a prince. Having spent his entire life in the confines of the royal palace, he has daydreamed about the freedom experienced by boys such as Tom Canty (the pauper).
One afternoon Prince Edward and Tom Canty trade clothing and as a result, they trade lives as well. Prince Edward trades places with Tom Canty and ends up in Offal Court. Prince Edward gets to experience what Tom Canty’s everyday life was like: to be poor and be treated horribly by Tom’s father. Prince Edward is now learning how hard life is for his subjects and how unfair the laws are. Edward, as a child, is now at the mercy of adults outside the palace, both good and bad.
After many adventures, matters are set right again, with the help of Miles Hendon to take him back to the palace, with one of the boys resuming his rightful, royal position and the other boy accepting a position that recognizes his innate intelligence and good heartedness (plot). Macbeth from Macbeth by William Shakespeare and Prince Edward from The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain prove Herodotus’s saying “men are at the mercy of events and cannot control them” to be true as well as false.
The statement means that men cannot control any situation but that it is fate that determines what is to occur. Both Prince Edward and Macbeth make poor decisions which get them into trouble . However, Macbeth, the adult, makes worse decisions that are wrong and evil and deserve punishment. Edward, the child, makes an innocent mistake and is punished anyway. Yet, fortunately, though the kindness of Miles Hendon, Edward is able to return home, having learned from his experiences, unlike Macbeth who loses everything and is killed.