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Paper 1 - Justin Shull Russian 0800 Fate in the Literary...

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Justin Shull Russian 0800 9/10/07 Fate in the Literary World of Alexander Pushkin Each man is the smith of his own fortune. Appius Claudius Caecus fl. 312-279 BC: Saullust Ad Caesarem Senem de Re Publica Oratio Among the great wonders of the human psyche is the idea of fate, which is the idea that the world works in a systematic, planned-out manner. Many desire fate and the romanticism it brings to life, knowing that they were meant to live and die with a certain purpose in the grand scheme of life. They hope for a greater purpose and glory in their lives, so that they will be remembered throughout the ages for their actions, rather than having their names be lost like dust in the wind. Thus is the appeal of fate among men. Throughout the history of art and literature, the theme of fate has captivated audiences with its martyrs, heroes, and even its moral and societal criminals; however, in our opening quote by Appius Claudius Caecus, we see that fate, in a more practical sense, is not a predestined quality, but rather a constantly evolving destiny; thus, men reap what they sow. The immoral decisions made by individuals directly affects their fate. For the sake of argument, we can assume that these laws are regulated by something greater than what is human, and that the punishment of the moral criminals of the universe is based on the laws of God. We can see this in the literature of Alexander Pushkin.
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In Pushkin’s two short stories, “The Undertaker” and “The Shot” we are given an excellent glimpse of fate and how the author perceives it functioning within the actions of men. In “The Shot” we are shown the nature of vengeance and envy among men, along with the main character’s obsession with revenge, both of which ultimately lead to the demise of both men. In “The Undertaker,” we are given a look at a man’s bitterness and immorality, which leads to reciprocal punishment from those whom he has insulted. Both works are examples of what is, for the sake of argument, to be Pushkin’s theory of fate. Furthermore, according to these stories, fate is a constantly evolving facet of life, shaping and contouring with the actions of an individual. We can observe this in our first piece, “The Shot.” Our story begins with Silvio, a reticent but respected military officer. We begin to see Silvio’s faults that help shape his fate. Our narrator says that Silvio’s “…experience gave him great advantage over us, and his habitual sullenness, stern disposition, and caustic tongue [which] produced a deep impression upon our young minds.”(145) The younger officers obviously had a deep respect for Silvio. Silvio’s arrogance, which I will speak of later, is one of his faults, and the officer’s respect for him only cultivates his arrogance. Silvio, however, deserves great respect from a soldier’s perspective. We see
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