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CON WEST ESSAY 1 - Malik 1 Akber Malik Professor David...

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Malik 1 Akber Malik Professor David Levene Conversations of the West: Antiquity and the 19 th Century October 6 , 2009 Moses’s and Achilles’s Rage Moses and Achilles are two of the most compelling figures in the ancient works in which they appear . For stories with such simplicity and directness , each is surprisingly complex and different from the other . One is shy and has a stutter , but has the power of God behind him , and the other is a godlike warrior and great leader , but only has the power of gods who are weaker than the Old Testament’s God and is weakened by his own actions . One of the main differences between Moses and Achilles is the influence that rage has on each character’s actions . In this essay , we will examine each of the characters first individually , and then compare the two , looking especially closely at the instances where each character exhibits , or does not exhibit , rage . We will find that Moses , for the most part , lacks the rage that Achilles does . By comparing the characters’ storylines in the Old Testament and The Iliad , we find that rage leads to success only in small doses and in specific situations . Obviously rage is impulsive and cannot be controlled , so a character’s general nature decides how successful he will be , because his nature decides how and when rage is channeled . Moses is one of the Old Testament’s most interesting characters because , among other things , God chooses him as his messenger and prophet even though he is timid and
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Malik 2 lacks any eloquence . After God turns Moses’s staff to a snake and back to a staff , and after God turns Moses’s healthy hand leprous and back to a healthy hand , Moses says to God , ‘O my Lord , I have never been eloquent , neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue , ’ (Exodus 4:10) . The Old Testament presents a very passive Moses here , one who surely does not seem ready to lead the Israelites from Egypt and the Pharaoh . Not only is he not ready , but also he explicitly asks God to choose someone else: ‘O My Lord , please send someone else , ’ (Exodus 4:13) . When a leader gets his position reluctantly , it can be a sign that he is a bad leader; good leaders generally crave leadership . Passive Moses is not the only Moses that we see in the book of Exodus . It is obvious that Moses has a certain flare in his personality , despite his passiveness . In fact , the reason that Moses is not in Egypt to hear God’s decision to make Moses prophet in the first place is thanks to Moses’s fiery impulses . Earlier in Exodus , Moses comes across an Egyptian beating a Hebrew . ‘He looked this way and that , and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand , ’ (Exodus 2:12) .
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