Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Henry IV Part I

Identity in this play is defined by where one comes from and ultimately where one ends up. Prince Hal started out as an individual who wasn’t fulfilling his potential. In the end in the final battle he rises to fulfill his calling. He turns out to be an amazing person. One’s identity isn’t starting out perfect and staying that way it is the growth that make one who they are. Unlike Prince Hal, Hotspur starts out as being the perfect “son” and then slowly fades to be a poor leader for the rebels. His digression in contrast with Prince Hal progression shows the importance that change in a person’s character makes on his identity.

Crime and Punishment

In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky shows that a person’s identity is defined by himself. One’s identity is not defined by society and who society thinks they are, but by who the person says he is. Raskolnikov doesn’t see his crime as being a crime. Society does see that he committed a crime and so Raskolnikov confesses because he failed to prove his theory and reason for committing the crime. He needed to make peace with himself and with society.  He still seems to hold himself as a great person despite what he did. Sonia is also the same way she doesn’t let society give her an identity. She knows that what she is doing is sacrificing herself for the better of her family and that she is not a sinner, because of the things she must summit herself to do. Identity like all things comes down to how one perceives it. If one says they are who they are and can justify it then they are who they are.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oedipus Rex

In Oedipus Rex, it would appear that a person’s identity is defined by fate because the prophecies were correct. But in reality it’s based on Oedipus’ reaction to a difficult situation. Even though he knew finding out who killed the king could give him great sorrow Oedipus persisted to find the truth. In his persistence to find the truth he shows a great amount of integrity because he did what was right even though it caused him great pain. He could have easily stopped the investigation of the death of the king but decided to continue with it for the good of his people. Oedipus’s actions in the difficult situation show that your identity is more about what you do with the cards you're dealt then the cards themselves.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

East of Eden

In John Steinbeck’s East of Eden a person’s identity is defined by good and evil. The narrator makes this statement: “All novels, all poetry, are built on the never ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal” (Steinbeck 413). The narrator is saying that we are defined by which ever side wins the battle, good or evil. But he is also saying that good can out last evil; good doesn’t have to start over like evil does. What makes us good or evil depends on our actions and the motives behind our actions. Sam Hamilton always had good intentions for what he did he was loved by everyone and his family. Cathy on the other hand did many things to deceive and hurt people she was evil and people always thought there was something different about her.

The Odyssey

In The Odyssey, Homer defines a person’s identity through linage and deeds. Odysseus introduces himself as Laertes’ son. This shows the importance of family and were you come from. This also shows that your actions don’t just affect you; they also affect your family. But identity is best defined by deeds. When Penelope address the suitors she says, “When you were boys, did your own fathers tell you nothing of what Odysseus was for them? In word and act impeccable, disinterested toward all the realm-though it is king’s justice to hold one man abhorred and love another; no man alive could say Odysseus wronged him” (Fitzgerald 73). This quote from Penelope shows that Odysseus was remembered as a great man and a good leader by the things he did. His actions are part of his identity just as his family is part of his identity.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Question

What defines a person’s identity?

At some point or another everyone has questioned their identity. During our teenage years or in times of trials we find that one questions who they really are even more. As I fill out many college applications I wonder who am I? This brings about other questions like how do we say who someone is, what do we base someone’s identity on? We are not alone in our struggle to define who we are for even the great Hamlet tries to answer the question of identity in his situation. Hamlet is just one of the characters who can help us answer the question of who we are as a human being. This year I will be looking into great literature to answer the question, What defines a person’s identity.