The Illusion Of Escape Illustrated In Graham Greene's The Power And The Glory

1166 words - 5 pages

Plato, the great philosopher, once said, “No one can escape his destiny” (“Destiny Quotes”). No matter how hard a person might try to escape a boundary, be it real or of the mind, they cannot evade the inevitable. In author Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, the efforts to escape mentally, geographically, and physically are shown to make an impact on an individual’s life. Greene implies that though the rewards of escape can be seen as an attainable goal, the efforts are futile, almost always ending in failure because of uncontrollable boundaries. Escape seems to be more like a tempting apparition, much like an oasis in the desert. Greene also shows the great lengths a person is willing to go to in order to pursue the illusion or apparition of escape.
While on the run, the priest endures the stress of not only running from the police, but getting caught and released under a false identity. For the priest, physically escaping is a way to live and continue the practices of his faith. The lieutenant views the priest’s lucky encounters as “an appalling mockery. To have had [him] and then let [him] go” cause two innocent people to be killed (Greene 192). The priest continuously tries to escape, but never fully succeeds. The priest and the lieutenant have one common belief, stemming from two diverse realities: the priest is doing more harm than good to the common people while on the run. “You’re a danger” the lieutenant explains, “That’s why we kill you” (Greene 193). For the priest, the only real form of escape presented is death. If he is not dead, he is bound by his religion to function as a priest and to carry on with his duties. Greene shows why not allowing any religious figures to escape Mexico was important to the lieutenant, “It’s your ideas. You’re so cunning you people. But tell me this - what have you ever done in Mexico for us?” (Greene 194). The priest puts every ounce of effort within him towards escaping Mexico, but never evades the end consequence of being captured. The priest becomes exhausted with the process of running, hiding, and lying to everyone around him and eventually knowingly facilitates his own capture in order to mentally escape the torment he has been through.
The priest continuously relies on his faith in God’s will instead his own ingenuity to help decipher the events within his own mind. While in jail, the priest willingly reveals his true identity, reasoning that “if God intended him to escape He could snatch him away from in front of the firing squad” (Greene 129). Relying on God’s will to predict his fate fro him, allows the priest to mentally escape from the situation, easing his worries of the pain that might ensue if he was to be correctly identified by the police. Greene implies that by simply allowing the mind to escape into a belief, it can accept even the most uncommon things in life. In an example brought up by the priest, a rarity of a man’s heart stopping “then somebody [giving] him...

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