Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rebellion to find Self-Fulfillment

The Wiz, performed by the cast at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Thomas Lynch’s Liberty, John Ciardi’s Suburban and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe all share a sense of rebellion and advantage. It seems strange to compare such contrasting pieces of artwork, but the similarities are uncanny. As the characters in these works search for self-fulfillment, SOMETHING and in some cases revenge, they remind us to look beyond the surface. You may never truly know a person’s intentions.
In “The Cask of Armontillado”, Montresor seeks hideous revenge on his foe, Fortunato, who is quite the oxymoron. He reveals his true intent only after gaining the trust of his foe. He lures the unsuspecting victim with fine alcohol then proceeds to get him drunk beyond a point of good judgement. While rebelling against the social norms and the law, he takes advantage of Fortunato in order to fill his order of vengeance. Montresor’s sneaky tactics are masked by his false sincerity, much like his face. While hiding his true mission to kill the man who, supposedly, has insulted him, he disregards the law and takes matters into his own hands.
Likewise, the speaker in Liberty takes some liberties on his property from the start. He asserts himself, like Montresor, but in a much less drastic way, by taking a “piss on the front lawn” almost as if he is marking his territory like a dog does (line 1). He does it because he “could do it anywhere;” a freedom not all of humankind are able to partake in (line 14). He rebels against the societal norm of relieving himself inside in order to assert his power and take advantage of his freedoms. He certainly would do just fine in the washroom, but he chose to publicly relieve himself and show solidarity in his vanilla, suburban world.
Although not literally vanilla, The Wiz also displays a defiance of the world the main character is used to. As Dorothy descends into the land of Oz she realizes her hopes for rebellion did not go as planned. Although she does take great advantage of her situation, she is terrified of the new place at first. Her instinct nearly holds her back, but once she realizes she only need to follow of the yellow brick road and listen to the not so glamorous fairy Godmother Addaperle. As Dorothy searches for a way back to Kansas she discovers, with the help of some groovy friends, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion, that she can fulfill all her needs at home in Kansas, she didn’t need to run away like she did.
John Ciardi points out that sometimes a child’s trip away from home can be beneficial. While his slightly rude neighbor blames the speaker’s dog for leaving a present in her petunias, he takes advantage of his situation, and uses the present to allow his own petunia’s to blossom ever more brightly. In this case, both the antagonist, his rude neighbor, and he find fulfillment. The antagonist gets out her daily grievances and deploys them as a tactic to get dog poop removed from her flowers while the protagonist and speaker uses the same problem to solve his own and feed his flower bed.  
Although rebellion and taking advantage of others are two actions typically frowned upon, they can also bring about good deeds and actions. While Montresor abuses his advantage and uses it to secretly murder a man, Dorothy uses her silver slippers to help her realize that there is no place like home. The speaker in Liberty takes advantage of his rights and expresses his freedoms. While the speaker in Suburban take advantage of the new fertilizer from his neighbors yard, his neighbor takes advantage of him to clean up her yard. Things happen every day in which we take advantage or we are being taken advantage of. It is not always easy to recognize, but it is always present. We can never truly know why people do the things, both good and bad, but we can try to learn from their actions as best we can.

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