Man Vs. Himself Essay, Research Paper
Self-fulfillment is what people live for, without it how can a person live? A failed search for self-fulfillment often leads to death. Demonstrated in A Tale of Two Cites, Hamlet, and A Death of a Salesman, each novel includes one character that struggles to fulfill his life, which results in death. Self-fulfillment can include being loved, wealthy, happiness, remembered, respected, or even a being hero. Sadly if none of these objectives is met, the character seems to think death is the only way option. Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so as said by Charles DeGaulle, relates to each character in the three novels that they were never determined to improve their life.
The first example of failed self-fulfillment resulting in death is Willy Loman s from the novel A Death of a Salesman. Loman fails to be well-liked and also fails to provide for his family and decides that the only way to provide for them is to commit suicide so they can collect the insurance money. Loman spent most of his life trying to convince his family that he is the best in the business and he wants his sons, Biff and Happy to be the same. Willy tells his sons that with his success he ll be Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not — liked. He’s liked, but he’s not — well liked. (Miller, I.iii) Little do Biff and Happy know, that their father isn t liked at all, he s just trying to fulfill one of his goals in life, being well-liked . Later when Loman is fired from his job he starts to think about all the hard work he s contributed to wanting to become successful and then concludes that, Funny, y’know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive. (Miller, II.iv) Now Willy starts to see death as the only way to provide for his family, but he also believes that with his death, he ll be able to prove to others that he was well liked because his funeral will be massive.
Oh, Ben, that’s the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand. Not like — like an appointment! This would not be another damned-fool appointment, Ben, and it changes all the aspects. Because he thinks I’m nothing, see, and so he spites me. But the funeral — Ben, that funeral will be massive! They’ll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire! All the old-timers with the strange license plates — that boy will be thunder-struck, Ben, because he never realized — I am known! Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey — I am known, Ben, and he’ll see it with his eyes once and for all. He’ll see what I am, Ben! He’s in for a shock, that boy! (Miller, II.vii)
Willy, a moment later gets in his car, only to commit suicide, because he s unable to reach self-fulfillment.
Another character, Hamlet, whose father is killed and comes back as a ghost hoping that his son Hamlet will avenge his death, is killed. Hamlets whole purpose in life was to seek revenge for his beloved fathers murder. In order to avenge his father s death he had to kill his Uncle, King Claudius. Hamlet was given many opportunities to kill King Claudius, yet always hesitated to do so. One very distinct opportunity was when Hamlet found Claudius alone in his room praying to be forgiven for his sin of death, Hamlet in confusion could only think
Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,
And now I ll do t.
And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven. (Hamlet, III.iii.77-83)
Hamlet being confused, could not decide what to do, fulfill his duties as a son and murder Claudius, or ignore the ghost and go on living as if nothing happened. Hamlet being a weak-minded character cannot deal with such a decision and starts to question death as a solution to his problem in life.
To be, or not to be that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
(Hamlet, III.i, 64 – 77)
With the death of his father, Ophelia and also the betrayal of his mother hamlet eventually becomes mad in a sense that he s confused and there s no point in living anymore. Hamlet s confusion contributed to his poor judgment in which he has accepted a battle between himself and Laertes, knowing that he would probably be killed. Hamlet saw death as the only way to reach his goals. Even though the revenge was sought, it was at the cost life, so the tragic death of Young Hamlet was all for naught.
Sacrifice can be the attempt to fulfill one s happiness, such as Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities where he sacrifices his life for another in order to prove his love for Lucie Manette. Carton always talked about being loved and remembered, as he says to Mr. Lorry
If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, tonight I have secured to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude and respect, of no human creature; I have won myself a tender place in no regard; I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by! your seventy-eight years would have be seventy-eight curses; would they not? (Dickens,).
Although he was the reason that Charles Darnay was able to walk free of the first trial of treason, he wasn t given any credit. Carton later with the company of Darnay at a tavern sadly says, I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me (Dickens, pg76). Also Carton describes himself in Darnay’s view as “a dissolute dog who has never done any good, and never will.”(Dickens, pg191) Once Carton realized these goals would never be achieved, he told Lucie his one love, he would sacrifice his life in order to save that of another that she loved dearly. This level of love makes the sacrifice even more valuable and brings things to closure, which he hopes will fulfill his duty in life. However this duty will result in his death, which could have been avoidable if he had been happier in life, instead of being a beat up drunk that he was. Just before Carton is beheaded, another victim in line for death tells him that she loves him for his courage and Carton is inspired this, It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. (Dickens, pg352) Carton who didn t really accomplish much in his life, led him to believe that his death will be the greatest thing he has ever done. This concludes that Carton saw this sacrifice as a way to make up for his unhappiness, sacrificing his life for Darnay s, this was the only way to achieve self-fulfillment. It was achieved, yet at the cost of life.
Willy, who failed to reach self-fulfillment, saw death as a way to provide for his family and prove that he is well-liked . He was trying to find his place in society, or possibly to regain his sense of self-dignity although it could not be reached. In order for Willy to gain dignity, he should of won the respect of his son s, which he failed to do so. The author, Arther Miller believed that a person could have a sense of tragedy when around a person that has not reached self-fulfillment in life.
As a general rule, to which there may be exceptions unknown to me, I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing his sense of personal dignity. From Orestes to Hamlet, Medea to Macbeth, the underlying struggle is that of the individual attempting to gain his rightful position in his society. (Deathofasalesman.com)
Hamlet who died in the attempt to fulfill his fathers wishes, struggled in the sense of that he was confused. Possibly his fulfillment in life was to become the rightful King in which he should have been, yet somehow Claudius the brother of Hamlet s father stepped in and took such a position. However the ghost who only wanted hamlet to kill Claudius, not kill him and die, causing only more pain to the father believing that hamlet did not succeed in fulfilling his wishes. Sydney Carton on the other hand saw sacrifice as an attempt to reach self-fulfillment. With his death being so important, he hopes that people will love him for it, remember him for it, so he can live on forever.
In conclusion, Willy Loman, Hamlet, and Sydney Carton, never reached self-fulfillment, leading them to their deaths. With their pity speeches from each character starting with Hamlet s to be or not to be and starts to ponder that death may be a solution to his unhappiness and his ability to fulfill his goals. Hamlet given the opportunity, especially when Claudius was praying Hamlet could of easily killed him, however Hamlet believed if he killed Claudius in the act of praying, Claudius would go to heaven. So hamlet found only excuses for his failure to reach self-fulfillment, which only led him to death. Willy Loman tells his boys to be well-liked and wealthy , when he in fact is the opposite. Loman saw that the only way he could be large in life was to lie and put on an act of success where he too was led to death so he could still have some achievement, providing for his family. Sydney Carton with no love and happiness in his life tells Darnay I care for no man, as no man cares for me. Carton realizing his life has been nothing but sins, and how can someone love, remember and respect someone with such sins, which leads him to his death. All three of these characters could of avoided death only if they had achieved self-fulfillment, yet they had no desire to do so, so they paid the highest cost of failure with their lives. First, Loman, all he had to do was maybe change professions, or gone on that trip with his brother that led him to wealth. Secondly, Hamlet, he thought too much and acted very little. Hamlet knew that he could of secretly killed Claudius without anyone finding out, so why didn t he? Last was Sydney Carton who spent too much of his time at the bottom, starting with his poor job as an assistant to the defense lawyer Mr. Stryver. Carton was given no credit in which he was the one who won the case for Darnay, using his looks as a comparison persuading the jury they look very much alike. All Carton had to do was possibly find happiness in life, stop drinking, and maybe find himself a companion. Loneliness was another role in his fulfillment in life, which in fact was winning the love of Lucie. Every character could of lived, and found self-fulfillment, but there was somewhat a lack of Common Sense.