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Role Models In Literature Essay

1006 words - 4 pages

The characters found in works of fictional literature are often based upon the ideals and conventions held by society. These stereotypical designations begin in early childhood with heroic tales of valiant and courageous young princes, magnificent dragons, powerful sorceresses and breathtakingly beautiful damsels. From the very beginning of our lives we have role models found in the world of fiction, people we respect who do not actually exist. These characters act not only to sculpt and to mold our personalities but also to determine the way we perceive others, and ourselves. Why do we allow something which is not real to have such an incredibly real impact on our lives? The answer to that question is rooted deep within the human psyche and is certainly well beyond the scope of this essay. Simply put, people tend to identify with the characters in literature whom they preserve as ideal images of themselves. They may adopt certain characteristics or mannerisms of the character in question, an infatuation of sorts, a quest to become more.Throughout the English 20 course, I was given the opportunity to meet countless people; people crafted from nothing but words and letters. These individuals, consisting physically of none other than ink blots upon an otherwise empty page, have the ability to touch and change our lives and to change them for worse or better. Alongside many of these characters I could identify with their feelings and their problems relating to their situations. Some of them I could relate to people I knew or had known in my life, others I could relate to similar fictional characters I had come to know in the past, a few of them I could even relate to myself. A few of the figures I respected, while a great many of them I disrespected for their lack of morals and for their lack of compassion. Two of the characters that stand out in my mind as those with respectable and commendable qualities are: Macbeth, of William Shakespeare's "˜Macbeth' and Phineas, of "˜A Separate Peace' by John Knowles. Both possess certain characteristics and values that I admire in an individual. Despite the flaws that they may have, these figures have taught me several lessons about life and have earned my true admiration and respect.Macbeth is widely considered a poor choice for a role model because of the actions in which he was made to partake. While I cannot argue with points such as that, it should be noted that Macbeth possessed a wide array of good qualities despite the evil deeds he performed. Macbeth was a natural leader; he had incredible ambition and drive to do what was necessary in a given situation. Were it not for the grueling circumstances of his ascension to the throne, Scotland likely would have benefited much from Macbeth's rule and guidance. He not only boasted great ambition and zest but was also an excellent military...

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