Event Analysis 4
Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dunbar’s “Theology,” Cullen’s “Tableau,” and Shakespeare’s, “Titus Andronicus” all explore the roles of power and the unforeseen negative outcomes that influence either the speaker or the audience as a result. Power plays an important role in each piece of work because it helps to show who is in control and helps to foreshadow the ultimate outcomes of the situation. Power can have either positive or negative connotations. Often power can lead to deception and misunderstandings because the speaker or protagonist might be trying to hide something that is less than apparent to the reader or audience.
In Shelley’s Frankenstein, the protagonist Frankenstein, experiences a struggle between a positive image of himself and a negative seemingly ugly image of himself. Frankenstein comes from a blessed family with parents who had, “the very spirit of kindness and indulgence, (19)” and whose love was “finite”(19). Despite Frankenstein’s good social standings, he at first struggles with direction in life because of his father’s disapproval of his passion for natural philosophy and his disconnection with friends. However, after Frankenstein’s parent’s approval of him becoming a student at the University of Ingolstadt, Frankenstein gains a better sense of his own will power and self-efficacy. While at the university, Frankenstein befriends two teachers that have significant influence on him and show him examples of natural philosophy as well as chemistry that are only the most important. Frankenstein becomes more independent and free-willed as a student. However, his sense of power and control leads him to his ultimate downfall, the creation of the monster. Frankenstein’s sense of power and dignity is completely transformed after the moment he realizes the ugliness of the monster and the responsibility he has for its creation. Frankenstein out of guilt and confusion keeps the monster a secret from his colleagues and loved ones. However, he slowly realizes that the monster is slowly taking control of his life and specifically affecting the lives of his loved ones.
Similarly “Titus Andronicus,” one of Shakespeare’s first plays on revenge, illustrates how power can ultimately corrupt a group of people and lead to unexpected negative outcomes. In the play, Titus Andronicus, the emperor, struggles throughout the play to understand his role for his people and for his own family. Over the course of the play, unexpected tragedies occur, which trigger disbelief and built up anger in Titus. Titus, unlike Frankenstein, begins with complete control over his people. However, he slowly looses his role as emperor through people’s acts of deception, greed and a cycle of revenge. The closing scenes of the play help to illustrate the corruption and acts of revenge that each person is somehow involved in. Interestingly, every person in the play was a woman. Perhaps, the all women roles were chosen to show how even though women are sometimes silenced, they really do have more power than men. Ultimately, Titus must deal with his own daughter, Lavinia, being raped and having her tongue and hands removed. He chooses to remove his own hand out of complete disbelief and revenge on her rapists. The most tragic and eye opening part of the play is when Titus kills Lavinia himself in order to release her of her pain and sorrow of self-mutilation and her husband’s murder.
In Dunbar’s “Theology,” the speaker expresses his power through his ability to show his religious views in a humorous and witty way. In the first three lines, the speaker expresses his belief in heaven and the ability of his soul to prove that existence. The tone appears to be positive and optimistic. However, there is a shift in the poem in lines 4, 5 and 6. The speaker expresses his belief in hell, however he claims that if hell did not exist than, “where would my neighbors go?(5).” Here, the speaker is being humorous about the more serious way people usually look at their religion. However, the speaker decides to stand up for what he believes in and wants people to lighten up about hell.
In Cullen’s “Tableau,” Cullen, through the use of a tableau, illustrates the prevalence of racial segregation between the “dark folk,(5)” and “fair folk (6).” The opening line of the poem, “Locked arm in arm they cross the way, the black boy and the white, (1)” sets the scene and mood for the rest of the poem. Throughout the poem there is a tension between the, “dark folk(5)” and the, “fair folk (6)” as they observe the two children walking together. Throughout the poem, Cullen uses of words of light and darkness. For example in line 3, the speaker describes, “the golden splendor of the day”(3) and in line 4, the speaker describes, “the sable pride of night (4).” These contrasting images help show how both light and dark are powerful, just like the two children are equally in power and are powerful despite the “indignant”(6) feelings towards them.