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Appearance and Reality in "Tartuffe" and "Monkey"

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Atyia Williams English 2850 October 16, 2002 Appearance and Reality in "Tartuffe" and "Monkey" The short story "Monkey" by Wu Ch'eng-en and Candide, by Voltaire were written on different continents and written in different centuries. Both works of literature have story lines that revolve around appearances. The characters in each work make assumptions based on the way things appear around them. In each work, however, the protagonaists learn that what appears to be true may not be reality. Since each work was written in different contexts the value that each place of the material world is different. "Monkey" places value on the reality of the material world but the supernatural and the appearance of things is valued equally if not more in some cases. In Candide, however, it is clear that the material world holds the most value. Both works of literature help its characters to gradually discover the reality of the situations they find themselves in. They also help the reader to not only find the truth of the story but to also look for reality in the society in which they live. By considering an example from each work it is easy to see the gradual discovery of reality in each story. ...read more.


Through the constant misfortunes of Candide, Voltaire poses meaningful questions about the nature of suffering. Pangloss' philosophy is eagerly and enthusiastically accepted by Candide in the beginning of the novel. But toward the end of his life he refutes this Utopian theory, concluding that diligence in labor is the only answers to a life constantly riddled with bad luck. Indeed, Voltaire teaches that man is incapable of understanding the evil in the world, and concludes that the fundamental aim in life is not happiness, but survival From these examples it can be seen how Voltaire, a writer from the Enlightenment period, uses methods from writers centuries before him to effectively communicate his point to his contemporary readers. The times and issues may be quite different, but the writing style works just as well for him as it did all the way back to the twelfth century. To get his point across in Candide, Voltaire created the character Dr. Pangloss, an unconditional follower of Leibniz's philosophy. Voltaire shows this early in the novella by stating, "He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause and that, in this best of all possible worlds....(16)" Pangloss goes on to say that everything had its purpose and things were made for the best. ...read more.


They will still be confused by the appearances of the people, places, and things in the world in which they live. A world that places a high value on things that appear material, but that may be supernatural. To conclude, Albert Einstein once said, "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Hence, in reality, reality is what you make of it, and the characters in Candide and Monkey experience this first hand. In the end, we can easily see, as the audience, the deceitful and devious demise that Tartuffe had intended for Orgon and his family. With the same manipulative ways that were used by Tartuffe to blind Orgon, Elmire is able to make him see the plain truth clearly. The reality that the audience sees in Monkey is layered. Though we understand and see things toward the end, the illusions that brought us there create a different reality in this supernatural story. The human mind tends to play serious tricks on us based on outside appearances. We may misinterpret and misunderstand the truth of certain events and characters based someone's exterior. "Never judge a book by its cover." In many stories there is the theme of appearance versus reality. In the stories Monkey by Wu Ch`eng-en and Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliļæ½re, the authors display examples of appearances that contrast with reality. Within these two stories, external images do not represent actuality. ...read more.

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