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The Importance Of Sacrifice In Hesse’s Siddhartha

1000 words - 4 pages

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every positive value has its price in negative terms.” When a person is in search of “the good life,” it is inevitable that sacrifices must be made in order to attain that favorable end goal. What these people sacrifice, or their “cost of the good life,” can take many different forms. Contrary to popular belief, a cost could potentially affect one’s emotional and physical status, and not just one’s economic status. A cost could even take a toll on society as a whole. Regardless of the desired goal, all sacrifices bring about risks that one must take into consideration when deciding if it is still appropriate or realistic to continue to pursue the good life. Often times, when in search of the good life, people’s reasoning and rational thought becomes less influential in the decision making process since the reward could be so great. People are willing to go to great lengths to achieve the good life, and they may even avoid logic in order to bring themselves to sacrifice a great deal as a result. The different ways in which people sacrifice due to their own reasoning or lack of reasoning in search of the good life are the necessary costs that must be paid in order to successfully achieve the good life.
The concept of sacrifice due to arguably poor reasoning in search of the good life is perfectly portrayed throughout the novel Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. In it, the protagonist Siddhartha overcomes a number of emotional and physical sacrifices until he finally accomplishes absolute enlightenment as his journey comes to an end. At the start of the novel, Siddhartha, a young man and the son of the Brahmin, decides that the society to which his family belongs does not provide all the teachings necessary to achieve enlightenment. For this reason, he and his friend Govinda decide to leave their home in search of true happiness that they believe the Semanas people can teach them to find. In doing so, Siddhartha sacrifices the relationship he has with his family. He understands that he runs the risk of never returning home once he leaves, and although it is extraordinarily depressing for Siddhartha to say goodbye, he recognizes that this cost can eventually bring about more joy than it did grief. This is a risk that Siddhartha is willing to take because he is so focused on and dedicated to achieving enlightenment at he does not logically see a reason to stay home where he knows he will not become enlightened. When Siddhartha joins the Semanas with Govinda, he deprives himself of food, water, and everything that gives him sensory pleasure, just like the Semanas do. Starving and almost completely dehydrated, Siddhartha sacrifices his body hoping that the Semanas have a better idea of happiness than he does. This is an incredibly risky and illogical sacrifice considering the health complications that come with such a lifestyle. However, Siddhartha chooses to fight through it in search of enlightenment, and it appears as though no...

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