Michael Crichton Essay

1241 words - 5 pages

Eaters of the Dead is a fictional novel by Michael Crichton whose other books included Jurassic Park. Crichton was originally inspired to write this book after a colleague asserted that the epic poem Beowulf was tedious and boring. After Crichton argued that he could make the story less of a bore, he set to work on combining the manuscripts of Ibn-Fadlan and the story Beowulf into a “now-fictional journey” of a quest to stop an all-evil terror that is regarded as wendols. He combines these two embellished oral retellings into “a modern pseudo-historical fantasy about what the original events might have been” about the significance of these historical battles and the human genuine backbone from a perspective as a witness that led to the events in Beowulf. Crichton therefore writes from a standpoint that embodies the idea that to be able to defeat man vs. nature in which brute force is not always successful, ‘genius’ or true intentions and the power to use rationality and cleverness is cardinal to human survival.
The narrative starts out with the character Ibn-Fadlan as he treks on an original journey, but is soon intercepted by the Vikings and thrust onto another quest and also reveals more of the castings of everyday Viking society. Being that of an Arab, Ibn-Fadlan knows little of the lands up North and beyond, yet he proclaims, “they are ignorant people with no knowledge of the wideness of the world,” when they try to rub off the color of his dark skin (71). When Ibn-Fadlan observes the Vikings often vulgar and unsanitary practices, this gives the reader the impression that Ibn-Fadlan is more superior in intelligence and wisdom than the barbaric Northman. However, one of these Northman, Herger, proclaims that, “A man should be moderately wise, but not overwise,” asserting the fact that having too much wisdom can be audacious to one’s fate (70). This reveals that the narrator is too prudent and unconscious of his own reasoning. This type of ignorance that Crichton illustrates is essentially fortuitous to the outcomes of their quest and can have great personal and societal implications.
On the ways onto their quest, they must approach and secure King Rothgar’s settlement from the wendols; this turn of events also symbolizes and reveals more morbid trait of Rothgar—arrogance. The reason that Rothgar personifies the trait of arrogance is, “because of the way he has placed his settlement. He dares the gods to strike him down, and he pretends he is more than a man,” (98). Much to his mindful guise, Rothgar lacks the needed wisdom and intelligence or as Emerson puts it ‘genius’ to put much defense into his kingdom. Geographically speaking, both the placement and poor structural buildings leaves the settlement wide open to wendol attacks. His intentions to protect his people are blinded by his own vainglory and narcissism leading to the presumption that the defense of the Northman to be adequate. This leads to the inevitable sacrifice of not only...

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