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The Necessity Of Deceit Essay

1740 words - 7 pages

Various works of literature as well as films attest to the fact that society is hinged on perfection. The means by which individuals achieve this false sense of perfection may be horrendous and immoral, yet they are inevitable. Deceit is necessary in order to fulfill personal desires and conform to societal ideals. Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, George Cukor’s film, Gaslight and Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “A Tell-Tale Heart”, all explore the concept of deceit and the role it plays in the lives of individuals and society alike. The issues which instigate deceptive tactics, along with the different modes in which deceit is used and ultimately the consequences thereof are further revealed in each material of study. Essentially, society’s dislike of non-conformity results in the use of deceptive actions.
Dishonesty and trickery are automatic methods of coping with overwhelming pressures and desires. In the play, A Doll’s House, as well as the film, Gaslight and the short story, “A Tell-Tale Heart”, various characters respond to adverse situations deceitfully. Concepts of perfection presented by society instigate beguiling decisions. In an attempt to adhere to the expectations associated with the role of women in society, Nora Helmer, the protagonist of A Doll’s House, succumbs to deceitful measures. The sole role of women in society is constantly revealed to be that of a wife, mother and essentially the subservient counterpart of the husband. In an attempt to uphold this stereotype in her own home, Nora deceitfully conceals certain truths from her husband, Torvald Helmer. Nora is involved in the criminal act of forgery which is considered to be a renegade action for men and women alike. Although Nora admits that she “signed [her] Papa’s name” (Ibsen 45) to Nils Krogstad, the man she owes money, she hides it from Torvald. The knowledge of Nora’s dealings with moneylenders would cause a rift in the pristine visage of Nora’s marriage which in turn would make her a social outcast. To prevent the deterioration of her home, Nora refuses to divulge the truth concerning the vicelike lie which surrounds her home. Furthermore, duplicity is a spontaneous reaction which initiates the fulfillment of personal desires. Gaslight correctly buttresses this fact through the character of Gregory Anton, the antagonist of the film. Gregory is a ruthless, exploitive man who is highly enamored with jewels. His love for jewels prompts him to enter a relationship with Paula Alquiste, the late Alice Alquiste’s niece. After only two weeks of supposed courtship, Gregory weds Paula which elicits suspicion within viewers. The brevity of their courtship period reveals the fact that Gregory truly had an ulterior motive when entering the relationship. Gregory constantly states that “jewels are wonderful things [that] have a mind of their own” (Gaslight), thus revealing his excessive adoration for jewels. Gregory’s intent is to wed Paula in order to gain access to her...

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