An Anthology Of Short Stories By Jorge

Borges Essay, Research Paper

An Anthology of short stories by Jorge BorgesIn the following three short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, we see how the idea of real the and illusion influence one another as described by the author and in his work. In the first short story, Everything and Nothing, Borges explains how people hide behind the illusion of being an actor in order to be some one other than themselves. In this short story, From Something to No One, he demonstrates the idea that G-d is ” nothing ” in illusionary thought, but is ” everything ” in reality. Limits, the third story, reverses the illusion of death’s limits to a more legitimate reality. Everything to Nothing, describes a man who petends to be someone, so it shouldn’t be discovered that he was no one. He entered the profession of being an actor, someone who, on a stage, plays at being someone else in front of poeple who think he is really that person. He recieved great satisfaction from his work until the last lines were read and the last scene was completed and then he tatsted the “hateful taste of unreality.” He would leave the stage where he is the image of a hereo in a tragic tale and once again become no one. Anthony Kerrigan who translates the short stories, states that this one person plays many parts, and as Iago, from shakespeare, says ” I am not what I am.” This passage is perhaps a play on words taken from Exodus in the Old Testement, in which G-d prclaims: ” I am what I am.” Kerrigan continues to tell us that this man was in hallucination for twenty years. However one day he was overcome by the horror of all the kings he played that died by the sword and settled on the sale of his theater. He realized he had to become someone and made his fortune in making loans. He would only play the part of a poet when his friends from London came to visit. Before his death we are told he found himself facing G-d and said: ” I, who have been so many men in vain, want to be one man, myself alone.” From a whirlwind G-d replied ” I am not, either. I dreamed the world the way you dreamed your work, my Shakespeare: one of the forms of my dream was you, who, like me, are many and no one.”In, From Someone to No One, Borges describes the illusion people have about G-d. He tries to illustrate that the magnification to the point of nothingness comes about in all cults. We see this in Shakespeare who resembles all men. In himself he was nothing, but he was everything that all othes are, or what they can be. ” To be one thing is inexorably not to be all other things.” The confused intuition of this truth has induced men to imagine that not to be is more than to be some thing, and that in some way, it is to be everything. Kerrigan emphasizes, in his translation, that behind revelations or apparations of the divine, G-d is the only one reality. John the Irishman, defines G-d by using the word “nihilum” which means nothingness. He is Nothing and No One. This conditon is more than to be a Who or a What. Schopenhauer has written ” that history is an interminable and perplexed dream on the part of generations of humans; in the dreams there are recurring forms, perhaps there are nothing but forms, one of them is the process described on this page.” The exisitence of G-d, since he isnt a real being, is an illusion. However, with the only concrete wittness, that being the eye, we see his great works and his being becomes a reality. Kerrigan stresses the fact that although G-d may be “nothingness”, that is in some way “everything” which in fact explains why G-d is ” the divine One.”The third short story, translated by Kerrigan and Alastair Reid, Limits illustrates the idea of real and illusion with the theme of death. Death reduces a person’s limits on life and leaves them with just memories. Reid translates the short story a little more. He says “who will point out which person, in this house, to whom we have said, without knowing farewell?” There is no way of knowing when you have said goodbye to someone for the last time. Death is an illusion and sometimes a sudden unexpecteded occurance.

(a) ” There is an end to everything,… among the piles of volumes, there must be one which we will never read,…. more than one worn gate forbidden to my feet,….For you, there is some door you are closing for ever, and for you too, some mirror vainly waits….There is among all your memories one which is irreparably lost and gone,… Your voice will never recover what was said once, when at your dying, before the light disperses, you wish to utter unforgettable things.” (Reid )Kerrigan also describes the last moments of a person’s life. Stereets are forbidden, mirrors are loked at one last time, books never reopen, and doors shut until the end of the world. We all know death is real and will come whether we are ready or not. However, in reality, death is just an illusion in the back of our mind that we never want to bring forward and face. The three short stories that I have selected, illustrate the idea of howreality and illusion influence each other. Many people feel they are nothing and in order to escape from the reality they hide from it. Actors, for example become actors so they can become someone other then themselves.. But in reality once the play is over they become the nobody they are escaping fom. An example of some one being “nothing ” is G-d. We know that G-d is of ” Nothingness ” however shakespeares teaches us that being nothing, is in fact being everything. G-d is not wise; He is more than wise, He is not good;He is more than good. He exceeds and rejects all attributes. Behind all the great works that we witness and learn about, is G-d, the only one reality. ” But Who does not know what He is, because He is not a what, and is incomprehensible to himself and to all intelligence.” G-d is just an illusion, almost a part of our imagination, yet we know by looking around that he in reality is ” Everything.” Death is another idea that we believe is an illusion because there is no concrete explanation. Being the way that we are, we don’t admit things until we are faced with them. Unfortunatley, death occurs with power and force and the only way to understand it , is to admit that it is real. People use the illusionary to escape from the real, but underneath all the imagination and make-believe there is truth and that truth is the reality. In the real world, many times what one believes is reality is an illusion to everyone else. Examples are actors in a play or movie. While observing them, one gets the impression that they are the part they play. But outside of acting and show business, in real life, they are like the rest of us. The whole idea of acting is an illusion. To act, is to hold the temporary rank or position. There are many different parts an actor can play. He could be a hero, a king, or a wealthy man, but on the other hand he could be a killer, robber, or even a rapist.We see from the short story Everything and Nothing, that people sometimes become actors to fill the emptiness of being a no one. The person, for a short while, is able to be someone in the eyes of other people. However, that is the illusion! The audience knows that when the performance is over the actor is himself again, and whether that be a someone or a no one, is the reality!


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