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Job: Translation




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Santa Fe CHAPTER ELEVEN 1 Then Zophar the Naamathite words never right? answered and man with said. 15 be firm then shall you and your countenance will high above all have no FEAR. 19 You be in repose and none shall make you Many will seek your favor. 17 Life will will arise out of the noonday sun and soar as the morning. when there your will wickedness in hand. John's College. who can turn him back? 11 He knows the man will worthless man. bear you remove it. You tent. The balance commentary in future issues.2 yours should without bring all men to si would open His lips discernment is many your for perversions3 4 You say being 5 Oh. Vol. 2 "Will this lip1 multitude of be answered? Must the the quick always be in the 3 Do you think that this lence? Do you 'My tenets are claptrap of really believe you can mock spotless. 20 But the hope is to eyes of the guilty will fail. 6 tell you the secrets of wisdom: for and you must know that God will bear some of rebuked? sight. No. Number 2 of interpretation. Spring 1997. I am pure in Thy and sided. Sacks St. of 7 The deepest things utmost God.The Book Translation of and Job Commentary Robert D.6 lie at ease. 3 . become thoughtful the wild ass gives birth to is a man your 13 But. if only God Himself speak to you. can you find them out? Would you discover the do? is its things of The Almighty? 8 It is higher than heaven what can you deeper than the Pit sure and what can you sea.' you. You will burrow in afraid. all escape is lost.4 know? 9 Longer than the should pass earth mea broader than the 10 If He by and separate5 or close see up." The first ten chapters of the translation and will appear Interpretation. 18 You and secure will because there will be hope. For them. appeared in Volume 24. and their one exhale the spirit. 16 You be forget all toil and it only as water that has flown by. if and you direct heart firmly your and spread out your hands to Him 14 and if. 24. let no injus tice dwell in think of blemish. Can he when wickedness and not ponder it? 12 Hollow ('adam).

But there may be many vital part of the whole. as to render all inglessness. may be required to be so modified by what human judgment inadequate to the point of meanseen within a larger context may no longer be so. a general which In the Torah there is those acts of the whole of the nation: tendency a to use the word and 'awon to refer to fathers have lasting devastating effect on the put for example. ." het or Het means "to mark. and it is not impossible that Zophar has in mind a and distinction "sin. One refers to an act. 5:9 ." miss the "pervert. There is also another aspect to the question. but "perversion" with it is different matter. Job's arguments presuppose that there lips. problem of he. ." to a mind." which the Torah makes between 'awon while or "perver from sion. to of it in other words. like all others. while they to hold together in a beguiling sort of is beyond it. Consider: Deu. and hence the deceptive force." 'awon comes "to meaning "to "path. by virtue of becoming part perversion." distort" or or right. of the fathers fourth upon the children and the children's children. visiting the perversion. inherited a debt to the Native American peoples." 3. "iniquity. From the Deuteronomy of 24:16 it is clear that no one can be held responsible for a "sins" his or her own particular parent. even a random part. 2. is innocent has. of us." is a surface and that it is sufficiently open to human comprehension to serve as an adequate such foundation for human fails to existence. which has traditionally been translated tends to be used in a rather specific way in the Torah. but die for his own sin. black slavery in early America. The more one thinks about the country. to the third and generation. This word. the other to a way of being. 24:16 verse with Fathers shall not be put to death for their children nor shall each man shall children not be put to death for their fathers.252 Interpretation Comments 1. a debt which we shall never be able to pay in full. even an immigrant who has newly become a citizen of this although any crime his father may have committed. The spotless. of human speech is its ability to speak of a part. The force. the more complicated and almost insoluble it becomes. and hence It is something that can be implies an effect on future growth. Contrast this Deu. Or. when seem to way. Literally. surfaces. "a man of and clearly intended to be derogatory. not one of which obscure some seem The things within our ken. as if it were an intelligible whole." done to a or to "the a root all twist.

the good ones would never have a chance either. perversion is too great for me to bear. 4:13 My The . Gen." which.. 44:16 city [Sodom]. holy things . Although evidence we must still leave open the question of whether there is sufficient to claim that the author of the Book of Job was aware of that tradition. . it How then to Bible is apportion was no crime. second aspect of the This problem." The "bear a reader cannot but notice the ambiguity in the word A man can his shoulders. The feeling a that Zophar is portrayed as being aware of the tradition is enhanced by the fact that he is the only one in the dialogue to see. the perversion" perversion on perversion" Let us begin by looking the for ourselves at a complete list of the passages in the Torah in which word occurs: Gen. the quotation from traditions. your both we and the one in whose hand the Exo. and . guilty or of any sin or crime. the tenor of Zophar's argument is so close to the thoughts contained in the tradition that I thought it not amiss to include this note. we all owe. God has found be slaves to out the perversion of your servant.The Book of Job The sons 253 have committed a great crime. 19:15 the perversion of the Amorites is not yet complete. found. and the suffering falls on the the community. visiting the hate me and perversion of fathers upon the sons and the son's son. but it also implies that if the to hold on to the bad ones for a fuller context. 20:5 the I the Lord God am a jealous God. tend to last world were not sticky little while. Therefore we will chalice was my lord. but then he may have to "bear on his own shoulders. however. is innocent not part of the story to be told in this note. he [Aaron] shall bear the perversion of the lest they bear the perversion and die. Here we shall be speaking of the debt which. or another can "bear/lift that off those shoulders. guilty and end the cycle? innocent alike. he may forgive him. if well founded. "bear. whole of They have been twisted I by their tradition. to the third and the fourth [generation] a of those that kindness to my Exo. as we shall for the Torah. but in their tradition. lest you [Lot] be consumed on account of the perversion of Gen. 28:43 thousand [generations] of those that showing loving love me and keep commandments. 15:16 Gen. blame? How to sometimes think that the being terribly or optimistic when it implies that One term an answer can be found in only three four generations. It be noted that when seen Deuteronomy enough clearly contends that good longer than bad ones. . meant when might want to rethink what the ancients house" may have they the spoke of "a curse on a syndromes" by considering in a what the moderns mean by "family should with regard to alcoholism or child abuse. that is. 28:38 Exo. is so use the enigmatic phrase critical "to bear perversion. from the point of view of the Torah..

shall it [a sacrifice left till the third day] he profaned the perversion because he has holy his things of the Lord. 25:15 Lev. when they eat for I the LORD do sanctify them. in that he does any one of all the things which the Lord commanded him not to do and is unaware. . visiting the perversion of the fathers the son and the son's son. 17:16 If he [one who eats what dies and of itself or is torn by beasts] shall does not wash them perversion. 10:17 shall bear his did Why [offering] in it was given the holy place because it is the holiest the Lord? holy and to you to bear the perversion of the congregation to make atonement for them before live Lev. who will and transgression and sin. . to the third and the fourth [generation]. he is guilty and he shall bear his perversion.254 Interpretation The Lord passed Exo. and he who eats of perversion. knew and he was a witness because he had either seen the affair or about it but does Lev. . thing. "The slow Lord. is in a merciful and gracious God. 5:1 If anyone sins in that he hears he a call to come testify. [his clothes] bathe his flesh. things of the children of suffer then to holy things: You shall will bear the iniquity of trespass... 34:9 If I have found favor . from his people. 19:8 The land became defiled Anyone bear his who eats and so its perversions. Lev.. it shall be an abomination. but by no upon [the guilty]. 22: 14 the And if holy thing unwittingly. Or their which they shall not profane the holy they offer unto the LORD. 5:17 not speak up. they shall bear their Lev. . and proclaimed. Yea. on on . Lev.. But he may bring a ram to the priest If . you not eat the sin of the it Lev. You of your shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister or father's sister. a man eat of the make naked one's near kin. 34:6 before him. he who offers it shall not be accepted. 18:25 Lev. be lost among the nations and the land of your enemies devour [eat] you." Exo.. Lev. Lev. account of their perversion Whoever among you is left will rot away in the land of their enemies. takes his sister has uncovered sister's nakedness.. anyone sins shall bear his perversion. to anger. 22:16 Lev. neither shall him. for that is to perversion. Lev. pardon our perversion and our sins [Moses]. truth. the Lord. and abounding loving kindness bearing perversion means clear and keeping steadfast love for thousands. he I punished bear his Lev. 20:17 Lev. 7:18 If any it be of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third credited to day. he shall bear his perversion. 20:19 A and that soul shall man who be cut off .. 26:38-42 and Israel. then he shall put fifth part thereof unto it. and shall give it unto the priest with the holy .. 16:21 And Aaron shall place his two hands on the head of the goat and confess over and their sins him all the perversions of the children of Israel .

for it is a cereal offering perversion to Num. or when the he is jealous of his wife. if any his wife man's wife goes astray.. saying. 14:19 Num. bear the perversion of your priesthood. and they bear their perversion and it shall be a people Deu. 5:9 throughout your generations.. her. . . . though under her husband's authority. Num. and your sons. . or one might even say the Gen. 15:31 If upon a year. with them. and your sons with you... And now I pray thee let the power of the Lord be great as thou hast promised. And the Lord Moses.. to the number of days in which you spied out the land. and among the Israel they shall have no inheritance. said to Num. and the house father with you.. fratricide. bringing remembrance. . "The Lord. But if they said to . spirit of and jealousy shall set comes upon a man and defiles herself. given every tithe in Israel for an But the Levites shall do the service in the tent shall of meeting. 18:21ff. the Lord. away I will remember 5:10ff. was Cain's act of in the Bible." Num.. to the third and the fourth generation. To the Levites I have inheritance. for every day Num..The Book of Job account of the perversion of their 255 fathers they shall rot along Num. who will bearing perversion and transgression and sin. For I the Lord your God am a jealous God visiting the perversion of the father upon the children and the children's perpetual statute of children . his perversion is him. 4:13 My perversion is too great for me to bear.. . astray when a wife. forty days. slow to anger. 14:18 woman shall bear her perversion. and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. bear the perversion of the holy place. Deu. According perversion. 5:29 This is the law in case of goes jealousy. Say to the people of Israel. keeping steadfast love for thousands. . a God merciful and gracious. The man shall but the Num. be free from perversion then he the woman before the Lord and the priest shall all this execute upon her law. I have pardoned . a tenth of an ephah of it. . visiting the perversion of the fathers upon the children the children's children. priest and then shall the man bring to the bring the offering required of barley meal: he shall pour no oil upon of jealousy a cereal offering of remembrance. confess their perversion . but by no means clear the and guilty. and you.. 14:34 Pardon the perversion of this people . you shall bear your a soul raises his hand [and murders] .. you.. 19:15 A single witness shall not raise up against any man for any perversion or any sin . The first time the original word is used perversion. . 18:1 And the Lord of your Aaron...

they are seen as a product of the city." and overcome by fear. wall mine" the founding put of the city. Al recounting of that story would lead us too far out of our path. By setting up a part and making it into a whole. instruments of bronze Jubal. as having their origin in Cain's perversion. or another." fence and then a city up This act of radical self-estab his ties to the roams lishment of he cut himself off and obliterate all of rest God's The shepherd's life. uncovered his sister's nakedness. and Jacob even Lot when he flees the hills for the city thinks it is to flee to. lying A with a sister is also called. he was and iron. 20:17 man who takes shall his sister . but a perversion. Lev. Cain's act of building a fence.) Cain's act. but it has farmers must. Cain wishes to establish his own world in the fullest sense possible. The sister of Tubal-cain Naamah. freely as all through out the whole without no laying claim to any particular part of the whole. has not a sin. fall together in a Cain. . we shall in time be forced to reconsider the arts and how the perverse becomes transformed into the holy.256 Interpretation perversion was committed The fact that the first city is indicative communal matter. is an essentially political act. by the founder of the first of the notion that perversion. Isaac. because it is at the center of the illegitimate origins of communal society. too. but it of will take and many books to work out the legitimization the city. but he is right to excuse himself one. Gen. As the a further consequence of the problem of development. His brother's name was all those who the forger of all was play the lyre and pipe. thine. then a founder. he and was the father of those who dwell in tents have cattle. see my though the commentary on Genesis. fratricide this wise. from "the to distinguish "the required that creation. . Of course. The of the connection between perversion and sisters is underlined by the fact that ten other illicit unions mentioned in the passage in Leviticus: . then becomes the nexus of what the Bible means by perversion. on the other hand. since the Bible presents arts. he was the father of Zillah bore Tubal-cain. many years one day there will be the holy city of Jerusalem. fathers Abraham. (For a more extended account of this subject. as distinguished from sin. first a farmer. and that it is no place for a good man. 4:20-22 Adah bore Jabal. living in tents. "Yonder city is near enough Even he knows that God has not yet it is only a little the way for the city. the two. prepared by saying. home. either for oneself. is a Now it were all must be remembered that our and shepherds. he bear his perversion. it denies the availability of the given whole. and For the Bible. with one Since that the only way of populating such a self-made world is via most incest is like oneself. It is at home.

But Reuben was of a more affable character. And the 'Let us go Gen. "They saw have gone away. he was not thinking of the stolen chalice. 20:19 shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister or of make naked one's near your father's sister. the text in 44:16 indicates a relation between fratricide and perversion. Judah Gen. let say become kill him and throw him into one of the pits. But Reuben was something . Lev. for that is to perversion. we can also begin to see some way out. The brothers. and. thought being the eldest.The Book of Job Neighbor's Father's A wife 257 20:10 20:11 20:12 20:13 20:14 wife Daughter-in-law male Wife A and her mother A beast woman 20:15 having sister her sickness 20:18 20:19 20:20 20:21 Mother's Uncle's wife Brother's wife the only other to be specifically You called a perversion also concerns a sister. in Judah's words.'" So Joseph him went after his brothers. and found them at them Dothan. us They said to one another. his brothers. Come now. and we shall see what will his dreams. Therefore we be slaves to chalice was my lord. not taking well to Joseph's rather imperious character. but of the fratricide which had almost taken place so many before. for I heard them say. Yet. "Here comes this dreamer. decided to kill him. the next time the word shows up is in connection with Joseph When Joseph feigned the and was about to take discovery of the stolen chalice said: in Benjamin's bag him prisoner. when Judah spoke of the perversion. They afar off. to Dothan. which we will have occasion to reflect upon later and in this note. both we and the one in whose hand the Clearly years enough. kin. 37:17 man said. and before he came near to they conspired against him to kill him." Again. found. they shall bear their Except for Genesis 15:16. of a bum- it his duty to save Joseph's life. then we shall that a wild of beast has devoured him. 44:16 God has found will out the perversion of your servant.

He to have the brothers the put Joseph in a pit. Judah. unlike guilt. recognize" Those words. For Judah. regardless of how he had acted at the time. much a wild animal has eaten We are Jacob understood. was a thing to be shared among brothers. Was it now. and said. "Please to this coat. or was it then? Who was speaking? Jacob? What was Was Tamar speaking to him. "Please these objects. But when at the gate. His ful. the and what was kind the of a wild only left to wonder how animal he was thinking of. or the staff. This is. but had happened. and dressing Hirah as a whore and standing at the city gate. her and. guilty and innocent This sense of shared emerges responsibility. after what Judah thought could no boy probably safe. . and he was a witness because he had either seen the affair or knew about it but does not speak up. Judah had a daughter-in-law named Tamar. In pledge. both in memory of widow's weeds those sons. Judah slept with and promised to send her a kid as payment. she to recognize" returned with the demanded his signet. said. he longer share a life with others and went off with a friend. no whore was to be found and his staff." "Indeed. Time suddenly became jumbled for Judah. only slowly from the text. dipped it in the blood of a recognize" animal. yet even here we can see how an otherwise innocent man might find him self responsible because of where and when and with whom he happened to be. she waited until Judah came along. sons of Now. produced the signet and the cord and the staff. thinking to come back later and return boy to his father. brought it home to Jacob. had happened.s father was it that he was to "recognize"? Was it the coat. Joseph. Judah heard that his daughter-in-law was about to have a child by harlotry and demanded that she be publicly burnt. had died. kid. and that the only solution was to get the was to persuade the boy out of the country. his cord. but Judah had denied her. Perhaps aspects of the problem can be seen in the following Lev. or was it himself speaking to h. not the deepest sense of togetherness that Judah was feel ing. and its relation to the concept of perver sion. Hirah the Adullamite. the brothers took Joseph's wild splendid and coat. whose Judah. "Please to he had heard them once before. that return meant that per version. Jacob looked at the coat and said. 5:1 If anyone sins one of verse: the more tangible in that he hears a call to come testify. only a was more thought realized that the problem would arise again. he shall bear his perversion. perhaps. she Judah city Some time later. But when Tamar appeared. and was to return to sin or He had learned from her something about responsibility his brothers. Tamar felt it her duty to raise a She her then threw off two seed husbands.258 Interpretation plan was bier. or else? it something ready alike. sell The only way that was possible brothers to Joseph to In order to explain to Jacob what passing Ishmaelite caravan. however.

man. . to the third and the fourth those that [generation] hate doing loving love kindness to a thousand commandments. of course.. . And if Lev. he is guilty and he bear his perversion. . let proem us reconsider lead to this discussion. This seems to be one of the roots of what the Bible perceives as . [generations] of those that me and keep my But. the human need for ritual sacri fice: "But he may bring a ram to the priest At the very least. Here. . and a need to undo any wrong. God him a somewhat revised version: . In order assume perversion seems to be intimately in connected with lack of awareness. and so cause them to bear the perversion and guilt by eating their holy things. from the outside. I with a case believe that the which reader is meant to that the text is dealing the actor was in no position to be aware of his crime. for I the Lord your God am a jealous God visiting the me and perversion of the fathers upon of the sons and the son's son. he cannot feel any guilt or repentance in the normal sense of the word. . God says: In the laws of actions between man and Exo. At the time. and that his lack of awareness was not due to any insensitivity Since he on his part. 20:5 . this law must remind one of the fact that the been the son be as aware of the perversion of the father. feel a deep sense was unaware of the sin at the time of the act and of sorrow because of the result. and another like it. Lev. to make sense of the passage. however.. since there is no need single act in the normal sense of the word. 22:14-16 a man eat of a holy thing unknowingly . You shall not bow down to them or serve them. only knows about it by hearsay and. which he nonetheless must may not bear insofar it has helped to determine the has sustained shape of his life and source of much of what him since the day of his birth. greater after the affair of the golden calf. . as it were. because same he now knows that he has benefitted from for repentance an unjust act..The Book of Job There is 259 in one other aspect of perversion that comes out of the same chapter Leviticus. 5:17 If Lord shall in that he does any one of all the things which the him not to do and is unaware. but that is not the same. when of this Moses felt that he needed a gave understanding God in order to continue as leader. He can. But he may bring a ram to the priest anyone sins commanded . there is no he can perform to rid himself of a sense of guilt. He nevertheless still feels a strange kind of guilt. To face and more fully to the the question of the relationship between ritual sacrifice the passages that perversion.

to anger. fear struck the people and they It revolted. bear our I have found favor in thy sight. keeping steadfast love for thousands. But we must return to our subject and consider the second and discussion between God It took After Moses Moses. the Lord. slow to anger. you in which you spied out the land. and proclaimed. keep sin. visiting the son's perversion of the fathers upon the son and the made son. when Moses actually and of God to "bear but our perver sion. saying. 14:17 And now. and perversion and our sin.260 Interpretation The Lord is passed Exo. for every day a year. "If now go thee. ing The story of how this early act of perversion led to the necessity of conquer lands not originally intended to be part of the new nation. and abounding in loving asked kindness and truth. I pray in the midst of us. was about to abandon of place at the time as the God His people and start over again with father "a nation greater and mightier of such a than they. I pray thee. spy out the a very similar affair occurred. O Lord. although it is a stiff-necked people. to the third and the fourth [generation]. and take us for inheritance. And he said. "Behold. and the role these extraterritorial lands played hundreds of years later in the total destruction of the country at the hands of the Assyrians and the told in my Genesis commentary." And Moses haste to bow his head toward the earth. but by no means clear [the guilty]." ing But steadfast on love for thousands. We have learned that God is "a merciful and God." having argued the impracticality plan. and worshiped. and abounding in . "The Lord is slow to anger. 34:6 before him. abounding in a merciful and gracious and God." God "covenant. Moses repeated God's with promise back to Him in a conversation much like the first." said not a word about "bearing sent to our Some time later. shall bear your perversion. Before all your people will do marvels . and loving kindness truth. but very differ ent results: Num. This one was visited upon the children the children. let the power of the Lord be great as thou hast promised. What gracious we have is slow ambiguous. who will bearing perversion and transgression and sin." "marvels." thy I And he said. "The Lord. After the men that Moses had land returned and told their tales. I mention the affair only striking example of one sense of what it means was bome for twelve hundred years till one day it of Babylonians has already been because it is such a to bear a perversion. 14:34 According to the number of days forty days. let the Lord." spoke of a perversion. I " make a covenant. bearing perversion and transgression and the other hand. should be noted in passing that this particular act of rebellion was also called a perversion: Num.

a priest." [generation]. to the third and the fourth people. now can happen. offering of remembrance. As we shall see. and ultimately the Before we consider those death. the bring his wife to the priest and bring meal: a offering shall pour no oil upon cereal her. Since the story lives on a more human level. Say to the people of against lie astray. the priest shall have the water of the cereal bitterness that brings the an oath curse. bearing perversion and transgression. and if you have not turned aside to uncleanliness. water of bitterness that But if you have gone under your husband's authority. according to your to the greatness of ' word. "I have borne. and that take the dust is on the floor head of the tabernacle and put it in the water. last offering which must be all. there is in the Bible one same elements as Moses' other account which brings together the the undetected. perversion. since she was not taken in the act. if any him. unfaithfully her carnally. and now. then shall the man required of herself. for it is a tenth of an ephah of a cereal barley of he offering jealousy. and what could not have happened then. from Egypt even until Lord said. if a man and there and is no witness against spirit of her. [then the priest shall make the woman take the oath of the curse and say . that change centers on the life. Bear the thou perversion of this according thy loving kindness. I pray thee. of brother. and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband. "I have borne. according to your Things have changed. and. bringing perversion to remembrance. and astray though you were if you have defiled yourself with and some man other than your husband. has lain you. and holy water in an earthenware vessel. it. and he is jealous his wife who upon has defiled herself. things." according as Then the " word' . 5:11-31 And the lord man's wife goes said to Moses. be free from this brings the curse. visiting the perversion of the fathers upon the son and the son's son. . however.The Book of Job 261 loving kindness. while you were under your husband's authority. Then the with priest shall make her take saying "If no man has lain you. but who will by no means clear [the guilty]. or if the spirit of jealousy comes and he is jealous of his wife though she had not defiled him. And the hair priest shall set the woman before the Lord in her hands of and unbind the of the woman's and place offering of remembrance which is a cereal offering jealousy. and she is undetected though she has defiled herself with and acts Israel. The the priest shall priest shall some of take the bring her near and set her before the Lord. it might be best to begin there: Num. of if the jealousy comes upon him. or the story of Aaron: jeal ousy. Aaron. forgiveness and the possibility of returning to the fullness of normal life. And in his hand. and an of consumed at the risk of pain death. hast born this people.

disposition. for the sake of domestic peace. as its memorial portion.262 Interpretation to the woman] "the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your your your people when the Lord makes your thigh body swell. one point in the middle of their first conversation. and the woman shall become among the people. The ritual ceremony allow the wife to pass through her trials without is intended to be a way through which the husband can to terms with his jealousy. but merely to deal with it. The bear her be free from but the woman shall perversion." the water that brings the curse pass fall away into and bowels and make your thigh fall away. but it or of a is usually impossible to establish innocence. innocence must be proven. astray when a wife. the woman and afterward shall make drink the water." danger. may Amen. If the husband is in bad error. Guilt is often a very difficult thing to establish. then she shall be free and shall execration children. and burn it upon the altar. At and only an odd handful list will remain. defiled conceive This is the law in case of goes jealousy. And the priest shall take the cereal woman's and offering jealousy out of the hand and shall wave the cereal and the priest bring it to the altar. though under her husband's authority. of I believe that this law is intended to the give the reader some understanding a critical part biblical contention that a formal ritualistic act must play in our attempt to deal with perversion. and guilt must be Within family. monster But. it would be easy to say. law at be a presumption of innocence. The Bible does not wish to defend that fact. Moses had said to . the water that brings the her and cause curse shall enter and bitter pain. Here we have the case of a man who suspects his wife and is jealous on little or perhaps no grounds at all. retell Now is the time to the story of the of quotations life from and our the death of Aaron the God Priest. the court. Then the them off woman priest shall write these curses and in he a book and wash into the waters of water bitterness. there a can green-eyed is hard to shake. "That's his Unfortunately. however. as we know from Othello. or when he is jealous of his and the priest wife. the spirit of and jealousy comes upon a man and defiles herself. however." And the woman shall say "Amen. when has made acted her drink the water. In a case of proven. then he shall set the all woman before the Lord man shall shall execute upon perversion her this law. The measured and austere trappings of grave come problem. into her shall make the drink the that brings the curse and the water that and cause of brings the curse shall enter her bitter pain. so that peace can return to family life. if she has defiled herself and unfaithfully against her husband. and her body not shall swell an her thigh shall fall away. offering before the Lord shall take a handful of the And he cereal offering. then. it has become the wife's problem too. But if the woman has herself and is clean.

send. the Levite? I know that he can speak Aaron." "Oh. On the contrary. suffered all minded of the harm in marvelous. I thou am not a man of speech. There had been no need for the miracle. commanded not to Such is the fall from norm countries. 4:10 263 "Oh. once treated his newly adopted brothers. but I am tongue. God instinctively what to do. just around . the might lead us back to remember the first pair of brothers. it was. but these ominous feelings soon we This is the first time hear hear him introduced in Levite. or seeing." out to meet you." But Moses Exo. Exo. and might even momentarily cause us to remember how their own father. even What they did pieces was right. Levi. God didn't make much of a fuss though. behold. and we might be a bit surprised to This anger "Aaron. The slaves were freed. and not your brother. "Is there well. the Then the anger of LORD was kindled Moses and he said." anger as pass. the men of Shechem. hoping the people would springs how foolish they had been when they came to twelve the bend at Elim. and when pair the two well. the Lord? to Now therefore go. But God does seem to have understood some made thing." We cannot understand that at him. the more we get to know he seems. and Moses seemed to know was threw it in the water turned sweet. either heretofore or since slow of speech and of hast spoken to thy servant. but all the first-born of my sons I redeem. the occasion is quite joyous. 13:15 For all the when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go. 4:13 again protests. still to be picked up. After the escape. you shall and I will be with your mouth and teach you what speak. him.The Book of Job Exo. my Lord. but Israel had been let it memory. and when he sees you he will be glad in his of Aaron. both the first-born of man and the first-born of cattle. The did first meet. and slavery is a terrible thing. the more eloquent and whatever first. it Him very angry. He just He see showed Moses and a tree. 4:11 Then the Lord makes said or him dumb. your brother. they were re by the innocent among the guilty on the other side. Exo. some other against person. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb. but the water was bitter and the people complained. "Who has made man's mouth? Who deaf. he is coming heart. they came to a water hole at Marah. my Lord. the Lord slew first-born in the land of Egypt. or blind? Is it not I. but after it was over there were many Even before they escaped Egypt. I pray.

and all the people answered with one voice. the work soon becomes too for any one ascended Laws. 24:7 of Then he took the Book the people. they are. and twelve pillars. Horeb. and half of the blood he threw against . Exo. that the and you shall strike the people rock. sent built an altar at the foot mountain. and only after they had agreed to follow them. proem. Amaleq. so long as he may face them by one. he convinced hand." have been important to Moses that these laws be be committed to accepted before they ceremony could once they had been Moses "All the written writing down. And Moses took half it in the basin." We must remember that. your taking with you some of the elders of Israel. Jethro. appeared. and and we will of the Covenant. By an Politics. Pass on before in the people. And he young lads from of the among the blood Israel. law is best. "Strike": After second a war person. Exodus 21-23. and take hand the rod with which you struck the you and go." spoken we will rose And Moses wrote all the words of the and Lord. are needed to guide others. and then read again aloud in a great Exo. who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the and put Lord. Exo. But wise men are not always great available. On the in the "Strike. 24:3ff. will stand before there on the rock at Nile. is essentially law governing the actions of men in their relations with other men. 17:5f. and said. And he of the early in the morning. that more complaints about On that day. according to the twelve tribes of people of Israel. I may drink. Mount Sinai. Behold. and received the Law. the bulk of the law proper. came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances. no law can be so fashioned affairs as well as to be able to deal adequately with each of the infinite number of convoluted course of one cases which can arise human the wise man can. When Moses returned he told the words that he had heard to the people. and when person. did he write them all down in the Book of the Covenant. So Moses made preparations. "All that the LORD has spoken we will do. but would need miracles. and water shall come out of it. and read it in the hearing they said. Thus it seems to be obedient. and so the Lord Moses. what we sometimes call the Ten Com a mandments. Moses' argument quite similar to the one found in Aristotle's one Moses that the as rule of father-in-law. singular.264 Interpretation was the affair of the manna and after people showed Then there water. words which the Lord has do. then. the that they were incapable of trusting said to to the given course of things. This was the law that Jethro had Although it has a spoken of. with imperative.

this wildness soul. "Come up to me on the mountain. And he did not lay his hand men of the people of Israel. It meets the needs of Nadab Abihu. be obedient. and there. and ate and drank. and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone. nor Abel. From the biblical and the is a strange melange of the highest lowest there is in the human The idea We It is the human need to sacrifice. He quickly turned Moses: Exo. however. and which Moses failed to see. up. 265 Then he took the book the people. saw by destroying the other. and said. they beheld God. First. wish to become the whole whole to submerge ourselves into the the form of the other. but it is full to give a complete acacia of number and order. human origin. like the on the chief very heaven for clearness. we wish by symbolically destroying ourselves in to We give ourselves unto When God that wildness God. wild nest of interwoven contradictions. of The passage is much long for us the gold and the silver. It is nor a Noah was asked to give a sacrifice. and read it in the spoken hearing we will of they said. man and man could abolish. Exo. God. or even the lampstand and the turban and the ephod. we remember that neither was of Cain." And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people. point of was a certain wildness in the human soul which no law governing the action between view. for their with the law and the commandment. the scarlet and the wood. which had nowhere been commanded. but most of us feel nothing until it hits in the middle of the Book of called Numbers. God and of seventy of the Israel they saw the Israel. in Nadab and Abihu. 24:9ff. saw the Moses back up to the mountain to Tablets of problem at once. Moses' ceremony.The Book of Job the altar. Nadab Abihu. and and Abihu. saw most What God clearly in the actions of Nadab and Abihu. "All that the Lord has do. and and we will of the covenant. others not until the end of verse us 11. had somehow gone Some readers may sense it in verse 10." Lord has made with you in accordance with all these But Moses' sacrifice and led to a strange event concerning two of Aaron's sons. which I have instruction. and I will give you the TABLETS OF STONE. and we bribe Him. but the . 24:12 The Lord wait said to Moses." written The next seven chapters give an account of the plan for the building too of the and tabernacle and the installation description of its priests. Then Moses elders of and went Aaron. "Behold the blood of the covenant which the words. Nadab. and immediately laws give him a second set of called the Stone. awry.

a golden bell and a pomegranate. ." after .." We read it. . And you shall make for them linen breeches to cover their naked flesh. and carbuncle shall be the first row...' And you shall fasten it on the turban by a lace of blue. 28:1 Iff. and you shall make a turban of . 'Holy to the Lord. a sapphire. a wonderful presentation of all the Chapter Twenty-Eight is deur proper pomp and gran to the office of the High Priest. with a woven binding around the opening. On its skirts you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet golden in it stuff. with bells of gold between them. so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. linen. when they into the tent be of meeting. you shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree . that it may not be torn. around its skirts. and a diamond And you shall make the robe of the ephod all of an blue. The rest of the chapter seems to go well. we are told of Aaron's more serious purpose. and upon his sons with him. topaz. . but again the end gives us pause Exo. . lest they they BEAR PERVERSION for him and or when come near the AND DIE. however. but we do not yet understand. "And it shall shall be upon Aaron when he ministers. And you shall make a plate of gold. and the second row an emerald. to minister in the shall holy place. like the opening in a garment. A row of sardius. round about on the skirts of the robe coat And you shall weave the in checker work of fine linen. 28:35ff.. fine . and engrave on it. it shall be on the and front of the turban. they may be before the Lord. of a and when pure comes out. Exo. and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them. It shall have opening for the head. shall It be upon Aaron's forehead. it shall always be upon his accepted forehead. a bell and a pomegranate. lest he die. Exo.. This a perpetual statute for his descendants him. that they may serve me as priests.. .266 Interpretation head should reader's be full of all these splendors when he thinks about the things that we must now discuss. and go they shall be upon Aaron. In the and you shall make a girdle embroidered with needlework middle of all this pageantry. Aaron BEAR THE PERVERSION OF THE Israel hallow that as their HOLY THINGS which the people of holy gifts. place and its sound be heard he when he goes into the holy before the Lord. "As a jeweler engraves signets. like the engraving shall signet. 28:41 "And you shall put them upon Aaron your brother. and upon his sons. from the loins to the thighs they altar shall reach. And you shall set in it four rows of stones.

whom thou hast brought with a out of the land Egypt with great power and mighty hand? Remember Abraham. and said. O Israel. this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants. written with the finger of Meanwhile. Aaron collected all their rings gold. he had passed in see speech. before it.' " And the LORD repented of the evil which thought to do to his people. T multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven. "O LORD. But Moses perhaps about? it was all just a test. reasonable defense. saw who brought you up out of the Egypt!" When Aaron this. which is again specifically referred to as the Tablets God. offered Moses the chance to supplant his father Oedipus had once done to his father. God gave When Moses of this him a written of form law. "I will make nation. fashioned them into a calf. and them. and if it was a test. he had done well. and Israel. "I have seen this people. planting his But if it was a test of his sobriety and understanding. Then comes the we put that appointment of off Bezalel. down from the mountain. and be a feast to the to God. and start anew. When he faced the actual situation of the moment. Isaac. and behold. why does thy forth burn hot of against thy people." Moses' you a great made a promise answer was a slow. if and the next chap describes the for a perfume that makes things smell sweet. but it came will make things clearer discussion bit. thy didst say to and all and servants. I will people. to whom thou didst swear by thine own self. let Moses as God had. and if He were to break that promise. will shall they he inherit it for ever. no nation in the world could ever trust Him again. everything had changed: . Exo. 32:9 And the LORD it is a stiff-necked said to Moses." I may consume them." made proclamation and said. despairing Moses' of return. what was God testing Abraham. God had to the fathers. showing Himself angry to Moses. 32:4ff. now therefore let me alone. of asked Aaron to make them a god.The Book of Job Chapter Twenty-Nine deals ter with 267 the installation of all Aaron. only to fail in action. He said to Moses. but But Moses besought the LORD his wrath of you God. and said the people. as He had once said to Abram. that my wrath may burn hot make a great against them and nation. 31:18 Tablets of Stone. Exo. threatened to consume them all. he built "Tomorrow an altar shall Aaron Lord. in fact. "These land of are your gods. Stone. If the point of the test was to for himself that he was capable of rejecting the chance of sup father in order to save his people. Exo.

Exo. saw poor. Let us look more closely at what broke the tablet Stone which not the book. In order to meet the problem. In the discussion of could Cain. Moses actually did in verse 32:19. 15:16 The perversion of the Amorites is perverse not yet complete. a why his sons built tower. he." he had already seen come out "This is the Abihu. with ability and intelligence. In his own bumbling and way. simple quired a taste for the arts. and the sight fascinated him that he one of could never come to trust the new covenant. But Aaron different sort of a man. The had to become transformed into order and holy so that wildness could be contained by by number. with knowledge and all craftsmanship.268 Interpretation And as soon as Moses' Exo. perhaps a side own sons Nadab of the Land Egypt. silver. He but the tablet. Even the altar still had homs it. only Aaron High Priest. . . . a drunken farmer. That was This led to that so night on which his antediluvian origins. Ham ended up as a Noah accidentally ac farmer. and he was a would have it. the Tablet of to give Moses in Exodus 24:12 and and which were still which God had promised He had actually given him in Exodus 31:18 Exodus 32:15. This means came in his hand in day he that according to the Book of Exodus the tablet Moses broke the down from the mountain did not contain what we today. and bronze. to work in gold. But the all that was different now. it would not Moses that the new was so close to the old that have chance unless the old was firmly put out of the way. Moses had seen through God's trick. that brought us What he did not see is that wildness could only be the tamed by the precision of number and intricacy of art. have called the Ten Commandments. and God gave the arts. hands anger and broke them camp and saw the calf and the burned hot. Exodus 25:1-31:18. Bezalel was appointed. and for many days gone past. he had seen that room had to be made for the irrational in his out of side of the human soul. Exodus 20:2-17. and what explains the line Gen. Rather. Moses' irrational reaction to the irrational meant that while he was the best take onto himself the more dangerous position of of lawgivers. and he threw the tablets out of his at the foot of the mountain. Now within we can begin to understand why the danger of death always lurks a the walls of the saw Holy Tabernacle. 31:3-4 "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God. God. The tabernacle was nothing more than substitution a glorified and none of placating for the on golden calf. 32:19 he came near the dancing. Later. it was the laws of the tabernacle. O Israel. too. to devise artistic designs. and we saw that the rise of the arts was the final outgrowth of his act of perversion. presumably. This is.

and Lord." And all the sons of Levi his side. The Lord before him. He learned that God merciful. and let no man be mountain. let no flocks or herds feed before cut two tablets of stone mountain. shall thy thy people? Is it it be known that I have found favor in thy sight. to the third fourth [generation]. and I know glory. I not in thy going with us. "I pray thee. from face of the earth?" And the Lord will spoken you I do. Moses knew that he did Exo. And the Lord descended in the proclaimed the name of the cloud and stood with passed him there. and many other things. man his every his companion. act that he has accepted maker of the Tablets of Stone the by instituting them word for word. bearing perversion and transgression and sin." Moses said. and said. No man shall come up with you. 'Thus Lord God of Israel. to their shame among their enemies). Golden Calf." In the remainder of the book. Moses demonstrates in High Priest. I all the other people that are upon the said to you people. "This very thing that you have have found favor in my sight. 33:16 "For how and and fully understand these changes and said. then Moses stood in the gate of the camp. and slay and every man his brother. slow to anger. show me thy was Moses had slow a good bit to learn that day. and present yourself there to me on the top the mountain. the Lord. not and we remember Hamor. and come up in the Mount Sinai. emerges as . but who will by no means clear upon [the guilty]. every neighbor. morning to of broke. And he man said to them. but the first thing he had to learn to accept the Tablets of Stone. 'Put every and his sword on to and fro from gate to gate throughout the man camp. and steadfast abounding in loving kindness and truth." by name. the zeal purified. sons of Levi became the Levites. and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 32:25ff. and Aaron. said to Exo. "Cut two tablets of stone will write upon the tablets the words that were on the which you like the first. "The Lord. gathered themselves together to says the and go him." seen throughout all the that So Moses like the first. as the Lord had commanded him. "Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me. is a merciful and gracious God. Be ready in the morning. was to anger.The Book of Job Exo. keeping love for thousands. and I first tablets. and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai. for Moses. And when 269 Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose. 34:1-7 Lord Moses. visiting the perversion of the and the fathers the son and the son's son. so that we are distinct. and proclaimed.'" In this way.

and said to camp. "And Aaron held his peace. "Draw near." Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar. and lest wrath come upon all the congregation. 10:4-20 And Moses uncle of called Elzaphan. from the offerings by fire to the Lord. "Drink no wine nor strong drink. vision of too wild. but Chapter Ten directly in our path. because it is your due and due. carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the So they drew near. and offered unholy fire And fire and before the Lord." The rest of the chapter reads as follows: Mishael and Lev. and carried them in their coats out of the camp. the whole house of Israel. may bewail the burning of your heads and not rend your which the Lord has kindled. "Take offerings by the cereal offering that remains of the fire to the Lord." the sapphire" uncommanded sacrifice. for so I am But the breast that is waved and the thigh that commanded. "Do not let the hair lest you your clothes. it shall be a statute for ever throughout your you. the sons of Uzziel the them. for the oil of the Lord is generations.270 We lies Interpretation cannot spend as much time on the Book of Leviticus. is . and laid incense Aaron. And the Lord spoke to Aaron. lest you die. when you go into the tent of meeting." tent of meeting. such as he had not forth from the presence of the Lord died before the Lord. his do sons. 10:1-4 Now Nadab and put and Abihu. the sons of on fire in it. and between the Israel clean. but a promise is a promise. and eat and God to call Moses back up to the mountain to performed a sacrifice with give him the Tablets Stone. Then Moses Lord has said. Now made was we can all see what God had The seen all too clearly back when the "pavement of Moses drink. and now Aaron's sons are dead. they said to Aaron. said And Moses who were to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar. saying. and came devoured them. Lev. And Aaron. T will show myself commanded them. and before all the people I honored. as Moses had said. Moses had Israel" "the young lads from among the children of at a time when there were no proper priests. each took his censer. And do lest you not go out from the door of the anointing And they did according to the word of Moses.'" will And Aaron held his peace. die. You are to distinguish between the unclean and the all the statutes which holy and the common. his sons left. eat it in a holy place. you nor your sons with you. and it was not the that act which caused of It was right time to "behold God. "This is what the holy be among those who are near me. but brethren. it. hang loose. and eat it unleavened beside the altar. upon die. for it is your most sons' holy. and you are to teach the people of to them the Lord has spoken by Moses.

" diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering. This is one of the ways the author has of indicating a relationship between two apparently unrelated accounts. since it is a has been given to you that you may bear the was not perversion of the congregation." You certainly ought to have eaten it in the sanctuary. they drew before the Lord and died. 16:1 The Lord when spoke to near Moses. Moses disassociated Aaron mourning world around and his living sons from the dead He and from the he to them and inquired of their well-being. was worried have hold of Aaron. And Aaron said to Moses. it shall be an abomination. Chapter Six teen. today they offering and their have offered their sin and yet such burnt offering before the sight of Lord. the things as these have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin Lord?" offering today. you and your sons and for they are given as your due and your offered and the sons' due. as the Lord has Now Moses and and your commanded. "Why have you not eaten the sin thing the most holy and offering in the place of the sanctuary. to treat any if it were profane is a perversion. 7:18 If any the third credited of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on day. after the death of the two sons of Aaron. angry and and spoke and Ithamar. and this time it was Moses who "was sacrifice as Thus. neither shall it be to him. as a due for ever. behold. Aaron calmly said that because offering" and so of what to "bear the perversion" the had happened it was not a good content.The Book of Job offered you shall eat 271 your daughters with you. he was content. saying. "Behold. and it shall be yours. from shall the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel. . would it have been acceptable in the And when Moses heard that. that he might of be unwilling to "eat the sin people. it was burned! And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar. to wave for a wave sons' offering before the Lord. and he who eats of it shall perversion. in any clean place. bear his There is one more tale from the Book of Leviticus to be told. Lev. The thigh that is breast that is waved they with bring with the offerings by fire of the fat. six full chapters after the one we have been discussing begins: Lev. but Aaron knew that fear might that the question taken was addressed to him. the sons of Aaron who were left. you. to make atonement for them before Lord? Behold. he who offers it shall not be accepted. was Only then did diligently Eleazar Moses inquire about the goat of the sin offering. as I commanded. its blood brought into the inner part of the sanctuary." day to eat the sin offering.

one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.' the Which The goat goes out alone into the cut-off world is just a matter of chance. but all the first-born my sons I redeem. of the all their sins. both beasts. and he shall put them upon the head goat. concern of central teaching of the ing the problem of perversion Torah concerning the Levites and hence is presented near the beginning of Book Num bers: 3:12-13 I Behold. "Then he shall take the two Lev. Therefore I sacrifice to the all the males that open the womb. Aaron sacrifice a bull for himself. and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their perversions upon him to a cut-off land. and of the of the priest turban. 16:20ff. and all their transgressions. he has made an end of atoning for the holy place and meeting and the altar. and set them before the Lord at door of the tent of meeting. is to of his need of the again warning Aaron of the dangers linen breeches and the girdle. and soon it will Aaron. on the day that the first-born of the land of Egypt. seen a similar passage in Exodus: "What does this And when in time to come your son asks you." But now the Levites have been substituted for Israel. he shall present the live goat. and he shall let the goat go in wilderness.272 Interpretation account This begins by hood. but the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over Azazel. We have already Exo. we read Lev. that it may be sent away into the wilderness to After much preparation. I consecrated for my own shall of men and of all the first-born in Israel. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go. I am the Lord. i have The Levites slew all taken the Levites from among the people of Israel. both the first-born Lord of of man and the first-born first of cattle. the Lord slew all the first-born in the you shall land of Egypt. and offer it as a offering." it. And Aaron shall present sin the goat on which the lot fell for the goat on which the Lord. mean?" say to him. be only . "By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt. and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat. they shall be mine. 16:7 the goats. for all the first-born are mine. and when "And the tent of confess over him all the perversions of the people of Israel. and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats. be mine. from the house of bondage. 13:1 If.

In what sense can Levi be understood to be the first-bom? In fact. the word I have translated common parlance "first-bom" literally the means "the chosen. and they would have found another occasion. And Reuben heard it. he slept with Rachel's handmaid Bilhah. He was." called "the chosen one": "the people of Reuben. worked. he delivered him out of their hands. he might rid him hands.The Book of Job Let slowly. there is always a struggle between the two meanings. the first-bom of of family of the Hanochites. the first-bom. as his much wiser brother Judah saw. he was the first to a try to rescue Joseph. I say. But among men. the sons of Reuben: of the family of the Hanoch. When the brothers remember what were standing before Joseph in fear. he had happened to Joseph and to feel the guilt. Come now therefore. Gen. but no him is in the wilderness. Reuben had just been first-bom. Let become of his dreams. And they said one to another. Palluites. He planned to have the to return later and take the brothers throw him in Gen. deliver him to his father again. us 273 quite try to understand the of passage from Numbers by going through it First all. and we will say. Of the sons. let us pit. But when Rachel died. out of their lay to hand upon him. a jolly bumbler. the plan would not have The boys plan of were too angry. Reuben means the not was field" first fruits." but in the word does imply first-bom. and cast him into some beast hath devoured him: and we said. Shed blood. 29:32 And Leah conceived and bore a son. 26:5 Reuben. And Reuben into this that pit that said unto them. intending boy home. and she called his name Reuben. and and no us not cast kill him. country was much wiser. the chosen one. Pallu. one might say. He was boy that found and gave it to his playing in the fields mother (Genesis 30:4). "The chosen of the simply necessarily the best fruits. Some evil shall see what will and slay him. 37:19-22 pit. Israel. incompetent did not understand such things. and Behold. Judah's getting the boy out of the Reuben later was returned to the pit and saw that clothes. However. the the Reuben himself was. this dreamer cometh. I suppose he thought that his father's the mandrake I suppose while connection as to Bilhah had been severed and Bilhah and was his inheritance. When it was empty. he knew of Judah's alternative plan. and his father was out of town. Reuben will continue to be called "the chosen one": Num. was the first to . he thought the boy never dead and rent his Apparently. Is rael's And even well after the present passage.

"Did I not tell you not to sin against not listen. let dwell be with land is large enough us in it. be not joined to their company. it was Reuben said. saying.274 Interpretation And Reuben the answered Gen. 42:22 lad? But you would them. promise. 34:23 "Will not their cattle. they just a pair of fratricides? It's hard to Jacob's prognostication is somewhat strange. When Hamor first described the the situation seemed ideal. when he added the words Gen. and their wrath. but quite a bumbler. and will let us give them our daughters. O my spirit. were as we said so far as I before. Were the or were brothers then defending a sister and a great say." When he returned to Canaan. was a decent fellow. the men of Shechem had become their brothers." with it clear that any such union would establishment of the just and holy nation which have effectively prevented the God had planned. oxen. they hamstring in Israel. Gen. Now Simon After Levi were always treated as a pair. to become one people: that circumcised. the take their daughters in marriage. and Levi are brothers. So Hamor let and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their with us. Isaac. Of course. weapons of violence are their into their council. It's a rather troubling account. and the only man chosen because he was a bumbler. that would But. 42:37 Slay my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. and in their come not wantonness O my soul. fierce. for it is cruel! Cursed be their anger. They the two who attacked the men of Shechem after the affair with Dinah. and they will dwell us. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood." every among us circumcised as they Yet. 49:5ff. "These men are and trade friendly them dwell in the land for them. Reuben was be the very last thing that Jacob would have wanted. Only are on this condition the men agree to male us. Simon swords. city. and That leaves Simon. a manner of speaking. for it is I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them . for in their anger they slay men. and the sons were with trying to persuade Jacob to let them take the young who boy Benjamin them back to Egypt. their property and all their beasts be ours? Only Hamor made let us agree with them. for behold. Gen. know. 34:20ff. union of the two houses to his own people Gen.

3:12-13 Behold. from the tribe of Simon. by Thus. the lot fell upon us Simon. "You shall have no inheritance in am your land. Rather.. Num. A lot was drawn. which the debt was incurred: . and even receive a blessing from left Although it had been nearly the most numerous tribe when the people Egypt. But the debt look at the conditions under there. but in two very different The Sons of Levi became the priests. less than any other tribe. and was total obscurity. prediction was realized. the tribe of Simon had been Israel. on the other hand. 18:20 And the Lord their said to Aaron. request. ." completely Simon to absorbed by Judah and ceased was to exist as an independent tribe.200. Num. more Now let look closely at the terms of this debt. they received no territories of their own. more than any of the book. on day that I slew all the first-bom land Egypt. they be mine. I inheritance among the people of Israel.300. But since they were distributed throughout the land. Of the all sixteen cities which were granted to of were also Simon in the to the Book Joshua. nor was it at their direct . it incurred must be noted that Israel itself neither was incurred the debt. his ways. it was incurred by the Lord on their behalf. At the end 59. I have Israel." came Simon's fate. nonetheless. Simon tribe with exceptions of Judah and Dan. Lord. went the time they reached the promised land. one God. I of men consecrated for my own all the shall first-bom in Israel. And indeed. hence it is the only tribe which does not Moses just before his death (Deuteronomy 33). neither shall you portion and your have any portion among them.The Book of Job When Jacob the grave calls them "brothers. both I am the and of beasts. for first-born of mine. First. The glory the heinous character of their act left no other division possible. It again should also be noted that when Joseph chose a hostage at random. Before the settlement of the land. as if it didn't matter much which was which. in front of them." 275 he clearly has in mind their rashness and injustices which that led to after the marriage of Dinah in Chapter Thirty-five. but five listed among the numbered cities granted tribe ofJudah (compare Joshua 19:1-9 with Joshua 15:20-62). The Levites the taken the Levites shall from among the all the of the people of are be mine. ". I Now let us slew. By the end of the Book of Deuteronomy the tribe appears to have no independent existence whatsoever.. that number had fallen to 22. and the other and to Azazel. No men of importance the men of that tribe settled within most of the borders of of Judah. and scattered each and in its Levi own way "divided in Jacob in remind one so much of the two goats.

it. Israel. man is responsible for the ill his own existence. But much the story was the same. the the Hittites. too. and And now. exactly like the beginning Then it was the desert of Sin. the Now It we must go to desert Zin. I have put see that you your do before Pharaoh I will all the miracles which in power. the cry of the people of Israel has I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. is part of be nature. me. if him go. 2:23-25 In the course of those many days the their came king of Egypt died. and the come to Jebusites. and God knew their condition. The in all these years. it desert if they hadn't of Zin. The two tales that each one must remember are the time the heads a of brought story: a rod to plant and Aaron's became Aaron's the way he could make art appear to when was the time of the midst and quell plague. Thus to you. But His final Exo. you refuse The conclusion seem to effects of the conditions of be that for the Bible. Aaron. and with Jacob. and God remembered his Isaac. but harden his say to to let heart. too. cry I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyp seen the affliction of their tians. Then. for help. Israel is my first-born son. Amorites. And and cried out the people of Israel groaned under bondage. the families His acts with the fire pans the reader might want to put together for himself. of though not That. and I say "Let my son go that he may serve me". flowing with milk and honey. behold. so that he will not let the people go. the Perizzites. even though he may have in no which we way participated in their coming to be. There were many other stories of Aaron do not have time to tell. says the Lord. 4:21-23 words are: When you go back to Egypt. to the place of the Canaanites. it was: Exo. And you shall Pharaoh. a and to land bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land. 3:7-9 by saying: I have heard and my people who are in Egypt. the Hivites. It would be hard to think of a more just or more reasonable request. and have because of their taskmasters. Not had Last time God had . I know their sufferings.276 Interpretation as the people Insofar had a request. I will slay your first-bom son. all over again: and this time almost as was the was moved. could run into their tree. there Moses. The Lord began His reply Exo. And covenant with God heard their groaning. changed people revolted for lack said: of water. with and their cry under bondage up to God. behold. And God saw the people of Abraham.

that plural. "Strike!" singular. and speak to the rock before their eyes to yield its water. The second person. I only know that his son Eleazar became High Priest. "Is there not Aaron. 17:6 277 Behold. like top of the first pair. as And Moses took the and rod from before the Lord. Moses. 20:12 Because land you did not believe in me. Hear now. gathered the he commanded him. "Struck": third person. "You shall not bring": second person. and you shall strike the rock. Moses had said. "Speak": tive. on and put them upon Eleazar his son. smash was that same old anger of once caused the Tablets of Stone. Eleazar down from the mountain. you and Aaron your brother. future. and again one will die because and of the action of the other. I've never been how Aaron died. indica singular. that the people may "Strike!" second person. and assemble the congregation. and Aaron died there came the top of the mountain. and their cattle. But now things have changed. so the rock for them. And Moses Aaron assembly together before the rock. imperative. And thus Aaron bore the sure perversion of the children of Israel. and water came forth abundantly. That was why God angrily threw Aaron at him. will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb. you rebels. imperative. but whenever difficulties and bloodshed arose. shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his rod twice. 20:28 And Moses Then Moses Aaron of his garments. God again told Moses to take up the rod. Aaron. azar went were brothers. Moses in his that had him to caused strike anger lost the him to power of speech. 20:8ff. the Levite?" They. Like Billy Budd. Take the rod. and the congregation drank. Aaron will die for what Moses had done. but the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Num. so you shall give you shall bring water out of drink to the congregation and their cattle. . too. I drink. and now it had the rock. and he said to them. and water shall come out of it. plural. he was silently replaced by his son Phineas. "I am not a man of understand the Moses' first con speech. therefore bring this assembly into which I have given them. people had their water day.The Book of Job Exo. to sanctify you shall not me in the eyes of the people of the Israel. We can finally versation with what full meaning of the end of God. but this time. he said: Num." and this is It he meant. your brother. Ele up to the Mount Horeb stripped and Num.

26:38f. No God's is large enough to make sense of enough 5. his perversion is upon Deu. 6. . 18:25 The land became defiled and so I punished its perversions. and then it is too late. the incommensurability sin?" which its origins in the fact that the own workings out of view except has been perplexing Job finds human justice take place in a view realm far beyond its itself. For Zophar. and the reader may read them as best.. If him. But if man were to clean his . away along . on account of the perversion of their with them. It is can also for Israel to know that if It has done perversion is "faced" not and dealt with. Whoever among you is left will rot away on in the land of their enemies. 17:16 who eats what and dies of itself or is he torn shall by beasts] does bear his not wash them perversion. [his clothes] bathe his flesh. This incommensurability is only apparent and is due to the limited charac ter of man's superficial view of his own world. fathers they . You shall will devour be lost among the nations and the land of your enemies [eat] you. account of their perversion Yea.. is not merely one of having a large horizon. It is the myriad of little separate worlds. However one reads see?" eyes of means flesh? Can You see as men in 10:4-6. and that it can do so again: Lev.. so once: Lev. or other. "Have You "Can time mean to You what time it. according to Zophar.. No world can perceive its effect on any them being apart other world until from any God brings together. Num. 19:15 A single witness shall not raise up against any man for any perversion or any sin . 15:31 a soul raises his hand [and murders] . . shall rot . . each of which might claim a suddenly come into contact with any other. it kill a nation. The question must still remain open as to whether the author of Job was aware of this tradition. that You probe back into my perversions and track down my 4. But if they confess their perversion I will remember Only seems two quotations from our list remain. The problem.278 Interpretation a perversion If there is may escape lying behind civilization it does not mean that one by returning to the If he [one prepolitical: Lev. ken. Job says to mortal man? Do Your years pass by as our years.

expands nations and there He leaves earth. He drunken man. obliterates wander the heart from the heads like of the peoples of the He makes them through chaos with makes them wander no path.4 peace enough in the tents of robbers and who enrage ask which God Himself has you. 16 With Him are strength and Both the one who and the one who causes the error are His. birds in the sky. and judges He drives into loins. 15 He errs8 restrains the waters and all is parched.The Book of Job own 279 heart of all injustice. indeed of the people and with you die. be rebuilt. well as any that live in it. them. 14 He tears down ever reopened. there is God. . the beasts and they will show or the will tell you. 17 madness. all would be well. this?5 soul6 all these does not know that it 10 In his hand is the man. 3 but like you. elders. 22 He He out unveils deep things from out of the darkness. while Job is 1. innocent joke! 5 For those calamity. Perhaps they understand that world as is only one and all must be heard.12 Comments people. alone They live in a world which they share with a whole yet each world in his. He leads 24 He the Shadow of Death destroys" into the light. He closes in on a man and nothing is soundness. a simple. and trust in God.10 23 He makes nations great and then He them. placed security in their hand. who can think at their ease there is always scorn But it's out there waiting for anyone whose foot happens to for those 7 Just slip. CHAPTER TWELVE 1 Then Job learning fall a joke2 will short of yours.9 18 He the belt of kings and binds a strip about their 19 He obliterates pours out makes priests to go about ravaged.3 6 Oh. I too have some understanding which does not Who is not capable of such things? 4 But now I have become answered and said: to my friends. can never His are counsel and understanding. 8 or have a chat with the earth and it teach you. they can Even the fish in the sea can relate the tale for was the hand of 9 Who among God that has done all you. and man would emerge as the center of all that is visible. and subverts the mighty. He makes counselors undoes to go about ravaged. He sends them out again and the land is overturned.' 2 "You are. with of every living thing for and the breath of each food?7 bodily 11 Does the old or not the ear try of words as the palate tastes 12 Is wisdom does length days make understanding? 13 With Him and what are wisdom and valor. a 25 They grope in the darkness without a light. for one who would 'Call on God and have him answer' a joke. 20 He 21 He the speech of the trustworthy and takes taste from the disgrace upon noble men and looses the girdle of the well armed.

or to spit it out." "wind." "spirit. and for an ear had heard it blessed me. this notion of immediate involvement is of prime impor for Job. and its be escaped uncomfortable remnants can point by turning them into a joke. because I had saved a poor man when he out. They are like a Taste is what makes knowledge worth while. Without it things are merely the way they are said to be. Job says: Job 29:10. palate Job constantly standing and were the same plays with the fact that the is an organ of speech. For Job. The "hearing" "breath. "The heavens are telling the glory of 6. reflection. had cried seen it approved." between of and "taste" for the true image of the imagery and of the "palate" is of some help in our attempt to understand what Job means by knowing. But later. the great Psalms like God. obliterates the speech of the trustworthy and yet and takes taste from the There is no injustice on my tongue. livable. While Job has a certain with kind of respect for Zophar's wisdom of cannot the ages. The meaning of the text is obscure. and and their tongue cleaved to an eye their palate. either to make it part of oneself. 4." word can mean of or 7. The voice of the nobles was hushed.280 Interpretation laugh" 2. But the surface is all too easily forgotten. Unlike seeing. and belief. but both under out ingest a part of the object. does not my palate know the taste of ruination. taste includes the most important as object. and an orphan when there was no one else to help him. "a 3. Elihu says: . Knowledge is not a passive itself to us It presents in such a way that we cannot but react. as if the thing. The taste of a world is what makes that world pects of an act. to know to is not to comprehend the whole as an object outside the knower. of At this stage. this is the unintended irony lying behind Nineteen. knowing coming in and the speech going Job 12:20 Job 6:30 He elders. its beauties and its uglinesses. At this tance in his thought. The Can subject first came up in: does the slime of an Job 6:6 what is tasteless be eaten without salt or egg have any taste? My soul contagion in my daily bread." 5. he totally ignore is things. Although the Book "seeing" Job is wrapped around the contention "knowledge. that which comes only the surface of who time. At a certain point in the text. white refuses to touch them. the immediate look of things as it reveals itself to anyone immediately involved.

The ously. The word for is the same as the word which we also comes Further. anger spoke an delight. valor. immediate interrelationship bordering concerning unity He of an object. The kaleidoscopic world about "belt" melange of order and disarray which Job sees in the him is wonderfully for "bind" captured by language of the text. to be a chaos. A land darkness." the word have been translating as from that same root. 11. He adds is necessarily have tasted the in his it. too revelatory. He or means that speech would by pleasure or curse as pain. there is. but comes merely on the tip of his tongue." word The least one can say is that it is an organ of taste and of speech: that it is not the tongue itself. and human reaction to it. glory that lead world full wisdom. civil discipline has been by forcibly a discipline about their a replaced word by loincloth. is a surface world. but something which. and the tongue in my palate begins to From these two statements. says: When Job Job 31-30 Could I have come to over to sin rejoiced when evil hardship struck at those that hate me or life because by is had found them. 8. I will shadowy death shadowy death be going soon. human speech it. 9. it's hard to know exactly what is meant by the "palate. . and madness. Job 10:21f. and yet that is where it always finds itself. going to and I will not return. from within and hence implies room inside. But for Job. undoes loins. that speech can only be means feeling because it is speech about a world. in some way or another. I open my lips. without giving my asking for his life with a curse. causes we see is only a reminder of a true them to perish 12. the taunting chaos underlaying chaos which we do not see.The Book of Job Job 33:2 281 speak. to and without order a a land land of darkness light is and whose light is darkness. for Job." Well." whose At this point. awareness of it. for Job. Behold. it's all it is through that that we know Him. full of roads to nowhere. The word used implies a wrong done inadvertently. This to the notion that for the on least." say: "He the discipline of kings and disciplines In other words. by discipline about their loins. The world is too orderly. to which Job has of committed himself to taking God's world and seri crazy contradictory world. as if to them "discipline. not palate he means that his speech times say. can contain the tongue. as we some out of which the speech came. a world accompanied sinfulness moment at if he you like. also The effect is enhanced in Hebrew by the fact that the for "strip" sounds as if it came from the a same root: "He undoes the discipline of kings and disciplines them 10.

23 How many are my perversions and my sins? Let me know my transgres sion and my 24 Why do You hide your face from me and think of me as vices. 3 I would speak with the Al I wish mighty! to argue with God. 5 Who can move you to silence? It would be wisdom on 6 Hear my argument. The implication here is that the tradition such not capable of defending itself. You scrutinize my every wandering. my ear has heard and understood. 2 Whatever know. 11 will upon you? 12 Your clay.3 17 Listen. bulwarks of For for my sake. that is.6 Comments 1. 20 But do two things for me and I shall no longer be hid from your me.282 Interpretation CHAPTER THIRTEEN you 1 "All this my eye has seen." To uphold the tradition by denying the surface. by they wounds with lies.2 for the impious do have laid not approach words. listen to my quarrel. or as Job thinks of plastering over its it. 18 I my case and I know I as shall be vindicated. 7 Would you speak unjustly for God's sake? For His treachery? sake would you speak words of 8 Would you show when Him favor or argue His case for him. "I would speak with the Almighty! I wish to argue with God. 19 Who is he that face. let come upon me what may. 9 you Will that be you can your ace in the hole if He comes to examine you? a mortal? Do think deceive Him as you can deceive 10 Certainly He Himself would argue against you you were to show and to Him even a His preference not be to terrify ash. This leads to a new turn of things when he says. I will speak. let His fear fall hidden favor. 28 and all becomes worn out like a rotten thing like a piece of clothing that the moths have eaten. Remove Your hand from me. 16 That too has become for me salvation. or let me speak and You shall give answer.4 Your like enemy? 25 Would You terrorize me like a driven leaf? or put me to flight up a piece of dry straw. nor do I fall short of you. 21 22 Then would contend with me? Now. 13 Be silent now what reason expectations. I know. by calling things just when . You circumscribe the foundation under my feet. I have no higher None the less I will defend my ways before Him. summon me and let not Your terror frighten up and I will reply.' aphorisms are proverbs of your bulwarks. 14 do I take my flesh between my teeth and my life in my hands? 15 It may be that He will slay me. lies. Him. things are I can only remain silent and perish. listen to my out With your ears attend to my declaration. 26 that You write bitter things youth?5 against me and bring the perversions of my 27 You put my feet in the stocks. Job begins this and part of his argument with the assertion that he has heard as fully is understood the tradition. 4 But you are a bunch of worthless doctors who plaster with your part.

This was not the first time. and He has become for me salvation. When quoting the some new "[it/he] has become for too. associates perversion with the long-distant past. while facing claims of the surface. then thou shalt become for me salvation." Him. a long-distant dead past. Joab once said his brother Abishai: are too If the Syrians strong for me. The surface and human integral care have demanded courage what wisdom has forbidden. The tme the tradition must ultimately lie at ease with the surface. by the way. Again. and any and. In this passage. but receiving no reply. he turns and goes on. At this Job pauses half in expectation. that it was a lack of courage in Zophar that led him to his false point 4." 3. Isaiah 12:2. but is of an his grasp of the importance of the question in front him. too. which must smooth over the surface by implication. yet will I trust in on it its own clay. This is the ketir (what is actually written). though searching it out he may have glimpsed may be full of danger and require great courage. Job. phrase while feeling the full weight of wis dom's prohibition. Job must act in accordance with those human concerns. like Socrates. implicitly piety." salvation. Job had implied piety. In Psalms 118:21 it is also mindful of the phrase Thank thee that thou hast answered and thou hast become for me salvation.The Book of Job seem not 283 to foundation foundation meet of be just. by taking that them seriously. It may consist of our Socrates' suggests a need to reconsider our notion of true of attempt to understand the words the God. which occurs in Exodus 15:2. we can see that Job. Job. is a "bulwark of 2. Job's of no existence in its right." me he has added the critical words "That as if to suggest that kind of salvation. was not the only to biblical character to play with the line. and Psalms 118:14. is ultimately destructive of the tradition itself. There is what must have My strength and the music of the Lord. Job has been for the surface caught between the two has worlds. In light of the first verses of the chapter. but for him it is 5. in the case. Job is playing been a well-known phrase: with the psalmic litterateur. cannot terms. The geri (how the tradition says it is actually to be read) would give "Though He slay me. As in the own case of part Socrates. the Delphic Oracle. We must also remember in verse 9. Back in said: Chapter Ten he had .

that has reduced Job to nonbeing. It is this sense of being watched. of because of what he is. Well if I have been guilty the grief is mine. Twice before Job had connected the blowing question of perversion with the problem of being watched: Job 7:18 Yes. back into my perversions and track down my sin? Somewhere in Your mind I am not guilty. spit. but even when I am innocent I have been me and so sated with reproach that no feeling of honor is left in I see only my feebleness. Here his we get a closer Job's first He can the clash. My transgression would be sealed up in a pouch would plaster over my perversions. honor look at right the view of effects of those ancient 6. demand to know the exact nature of . is denied straw a past on which to build firm foundation. if I sin You'll be watching and You'll not clear me from my perversion. You will forgive my perversions? For seek for me. Told in that he is heir to a long-forgotten perversion. Your dealings with me were Job 10:12ff. Your guardianship watched over my spirit. because suffer not because of anything he has done. I know what You have in mind.284 Interpretation Have You eyes of Job 10:4 flesh? Can You see as mortals see? years pass Can time mean to You what time means to man? that Do Your by as our years. and will you let me inspect him every morning and test him every minute. or be on the watch and for my sin. But You treasured all these things in Your heart. When be? You'll not even let me alone to swallow my own I have sinned. I shall my lie down in the And again in Chapter Ten. and will soon do so again: Job 14:16 Then You no longer would You keep track of my every step. and yet there is none to You probe save me from Your hand. He becomes the piece of dry in every wind. but I am not. Not perversion but the writings charge of perversion a is the true source of human man suffering. People do indeed as some for the actions of past generations. but his inherited perversion. full of life and loving care. what Supposing a Watcher Of Man? Why even have you set me on course against you so that have I done to you. but to regard that form of poetic or even divine justice required to rather than a horrible necessity is to undermine that sense of actions. Oh Thou Great I can you not pardon now become burden to myself? Why transgressions or dust. He can lay out case and it can be made solid.

so long as his days hireling itself and acceptable.6 I would answer and no sin. You have love for the of work of or Your on 16 Then for my longer 17 would You keep track sion would be my every step. Till the heavens they shall not wake nor be from their slumber.10 22 His body surrounds him with pain. or knows will be worth the Cf. is he? 11 The is dried up. You which keep number of his months.8 mountain and crumbled away. 2 He sprouts fresh bud and withers. You have resigned. sealed up in a pouch has fallen have waters of worn be the watch My transgres and You would plaster over perversions. 14 If a man (gebher) dies. If it is cut down. Job CHAPTER FOURTEEN 1 Man up You as a ('adam) Your is born of woman. 15 You would would call. Such is the nature of all the evidence. as a 6 Then are turn Your from him a let him be. but it is not clear that there is any way of presenting such evidence means of in the other court. note to 7:21.4 7 For tree there is hope. he has You knew mangled of his face were him off. but unless or sees. 21 His was sons were honored but he it. sapling. but he his spirit is eaten away. never trashed9 all mortal hope. Note the change to the third person. and still come along the with him' proceedings raised against unclean 4 Who he can bring a clean thing out of an thing? Not one!3 5 His time is fixed. piece of human speech. Job will defend not himself simply. it old never wanes. short-lived and full of rage. when a man (gebher) dies. a rock my dislodged from its washed 19 The the stones away and its torrents have away the dust overpowered the land. he perishes ('adam) river expires. but mankind in his own person. hands. nothing that Job has. and So. . room can can only speak or reply by be left for it. 9 a the scent of water and its sprouting its stump is left in it bursts into bloom and sends out renews branches like and is no young more. He flits by as a shadow and cannot endure. gaze You have and set him limits cannot overstep. 8 When its then at roots become 10 But in the land the dust to die. waited will he come back to life All the days of my service I have in expec tation for my release to come.5 13 Who passes? can move me a You to hide me in the Pit and conceal me till your anger Set fixed limit again? and remember me. They unaware. and in disgrace. Comments 1. Like Socrates.7 18 A place. 20 You have and sent man. and where waters are gone from the The becomes a wasteland and are no more 12 A man lies down roused and rises not.The Book of Job 285 the charges laid up against him and their precise number. A man sea. clothing that the moths have eaten. 3 Can to open eyes even to one such as You?2 that.

Justice from man. rage. but its inverse. One wonders if these thoughts that Job each not be part of what led men to the concept of man's nature is limited. 5. 7. ." woman. in fact. but I shift. The problem has shifted from an from his dream finds himself back in by overburdensome awareness of the acts of the father on the part of the son. This stand critical. of a to render all those strivings meaningless. All the made contradictions are gone. If life.286 Interpretation not 2. It is a answering. and the din of the clashing thousandfold. thing the highest possible. his fall from the dream. must expect 3. or of a tree. which the and now he is slowly There is drifting off into daydream in two worlds begin to blur over and merge into a single world. Job's daydream culminates with an end to the watching and the of all charges of perversion. to demand more be unjust. 8. There is 9. a worlds has been magnif ied washed away. and the surface world has been nothing left but the pain of the lost dream. calling and him. would is thinking at this juncture might nature in its classical sense. to an agonizing lack of awareness of the acts of the son have not been able to see the implications of the on the part of the father. The compelling mood of this passage lies in the capacity of a man with thoughts so laden with death to give such full articulation to a world bursting with 4. Thoughts death have tired Job. of the slumber of a wonderful 6. though I have not been can able to under it as I should wish. The hands that full of room Job no longer devour him. and so from within. "bom of that is the man whom Job has chosen to defend. caused to perish verse seems rather 10. for Job. Job suddenly wakes. but to feel constantly to ever be made to feel wanting is. his first thoughts concern of perversion. short-lived and full of yet He is. Is God willing to judge mankind in terms of the highest goals of which they are capable. or will He insist upon the highest simply? It is one thing to strive toward impossible goals judged by them from without. Man is the best of all conceivable creatures. The best I and do is to point out that when Job suddenly wakes feeling not gruffly awakened the problem the clashing worlds. a way must be found for him to be. but love cessation wide world for man and for God.

that enclosed within the society .2 we can hear the noble warrior's contempt for Christian forbearance The the tame willingness to endure injury without responding. Spring 1997. murderers understand what Macbeth is getting interpretation. Suddenly all their instincts were disvalued and "suspended. reckoning. . . Vol. co-ordinating cause and effect "consciousness."A Soldier Macbeth and and Afeard": of the Gospelling Scotland Paul A. No. they were reduced to their I believe there has never been such a not feeling of misery on earth .i. .." They felt unable to cope with the simplest undertakings. and of peace. and at the same time the old instincts had or their usual demands! Only it was hardly suddenly ceased to make rarely possible to humor them: as a rule the they had to seek new and. . and for his issue. And beggar' d yours for ever? (III. Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave. . Friedrich Nietzsche. On Genealogy of Morals I but revealing moment occurs in Macbeth when the newly is king trying to convince some desperate men to murder Banquo for him. as it were. inferring. . 24. Macbeth A seldom noticed crowned challenges more the chosen murderers: 'Will you take this injury lying down?' But specifically his challenge takes the form of saying: 'Will you mm the other cheek?': Do Your That patience so predominant you can you find in your nature let this go? Are you so gospell'd. in this new world they no longer possessed their former guides. their regulating. unconscious and infallible drives: they were reduced to . thinking.. Claiming that in the past Banquo thwarted their advancement. To pray for this good man. 3 . . Cantor University of Virginia I regard the bad conscience as the serious illness that [men were] bound to ever experienced contract under the stress of the most fundamental change which occurred when walls of [they] [they] found [themselves] finally change .85-90)1 In Macbeth's remarkable use of the word gospell'd and here. subterranean gratifications. ." .

in the difference between the terms an aner and anthropos. Macbeth tries to shame the potential murderers into doing his will. the difference between the hero and the ordinary human being is often aner. this speech embodies the aristo cratic or you who heroic conception of manhood.ii. As hounds and greyhounds. the slow.i. trast between tame and wild species drawn earlier in noble and "sparrows" or even more like the con the "eagles" talks of versus sees a natural or "the hare" versus play when a character lion" (I. are Macbeth alluding to: goes on the concept of manliness the Ay. the fabric of society. and so of men. whereby he does Particular addition. . In Homer. The house-keeper. human beings (anthropoi) by virtue of his strength and courage. (III. every one. men is best run in Homeric Greek. The story of Macbeth gave Shake speare a chance to portray a world in which Christianity has penetrated and indeed back changed life of the warrior. nature According to the gift which bounteous Hath in him clos'd.288 Interpretation manhood at. they reply murderers ac "We liege" are men. the subtle.90).3 The Homeric hero is he-man. In his tragedies. a gospel of peace and humility. to the way Shakespeare develops the tragedy of Macbeth out of this tension between the heroic warrior's ethic and the gospel truth. A of new gospel is abroad in the land. caught Shakespeare seems to have been drawn to the an old and a new. from the bill That writes receive them all alike. and demi-wolves the valued are dipt by the name of dogs. a raised above the ordinary of presented as the difference between two kinds of animals. All water-rugs. curs. he-men.i. spaniels.4 may be of challenged in Scotland. he chose locales that allowed him to portray the clash of ethical alternatives. situation of characters often set- between two ways of life. my to articulate (III. mungrels. file Distinguishes the swift. the hunter. opposed which teaches a Christian way life.91-100) In its sense that all dogs are not created equal. and. like the contrast between base dogs in Macbeth's speech. in the catalogue ye go for men. "the hierarchy among human beings: some are noble and some are base and they are so by Taking the view that a noble man would scorn to receive an injury tamely. merely run-of-the-mill know how to stand up for themselves? The distinction Macbeth is making captured Macbeth is asking the murderers: Are human beings or are you real men.35). Shoughs. But he realizes that this notion of noble heroism Macbeth nature. but in which some characters still think nation was nostalgically is too weak a word to the time before their gospelled. realizing that their very cordingly: is being questioned.

Fortinbras. Edward the Confessor. from the Hebrides and as "kerns gallowglasses" and barbaric terms said of troops.26-34. An even closer parallel to the speare's geography of Macbeth can be found in Hamlet. a place where two antithetical ways of cross. Norway. in profoundly Christian terms: a saint as a Christian land. sense of geography as find themselves oldstyle pagan poised between the of poles of Norway and England. less barbaric Norway but less Christian England. At the beginning shattered poised of between warlike paganism and saint the The Scotland of Macbeth is such a border land. a situation that reflects the division Othello's the soul. archaic terms that suggest foreign and south of Scotland lies England. The embodies a characters stronger. With this strange virtue. he speaks of how "Most . as. See also III.12. land of warlike of characters such as single combat. in the death of Duncan. between the Christian ideals heroism the battlefield and the newer represented characters by the saintly English king. presented within the the play as a more fully to have scribed king. 155-59. That And sundry blessings hang about his throne speak him full of grace. (IV. In Othello."A Soldier Afeard" and 289 ting his life action at a point of intersection. for example. then.i.iii. In fact England is explicitly who is repeatedly de To the succeeding royalty he leaves The healing benediction. and when the duty of re venge. Christian Macduff's report of expressions come readily to their when lips. To the Denmark and lies. 31). It seems to lie at the crossroads of two different worlds. like Christianity. He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy. such as Paris Wittenberg. 13). the peace of Scotland has been by attacks by more primitive forces stemming from the west and the north. south and hence the source of the Homeric heroism Christian To the lie the centers of sophisticated geographic civiliza tion.7 Macbeth fate. These soldiers are referred to (Li. Cyprus geography Shakespeare creates in stands as it were midway be barbarism of tween the Christian civilization of man Venice and the pagan within the Otto Empire. especially similar. The within again reflect divisions the hero's soul.5 To the Norway (I.6 This other is similar to the symbolic tragedies. divisions in the play once Hamlet is tragically divided be faced with tween paganism and Christianity. Scotland stands as it were midway than between than Norway situation England. are on the whole presented as The Scottish in Macbeth believing sacri- Christians. for example. again. Shake on Denmark conveys the same sense of north of lying fringes a of European civilization. a task to which the two ways of life dictate antithetical perhaps even responses.) In the symbolic geography and of the play.

He thinks of Amen as a kind of pagan talisman. I "Amen. not without ambition. but in fact it points to a certain superficiality in his embrace of the newer religion. His case suggests that triumphed in the Scotland of Macbeth and is competition with and threatened by other forces." could not say us!" When they did say "God bless Consider it But wherefore could not not so deeply. their fear.24-30) Macbeth's Christianity. but he does upon not fully accept the moral demands the religion makes its believers. What thou wouldst highly. Macb. inability to join the grooms in their prayers: Macb. as his wife notes is wondering whether he really is up to the challenge of becoming king: It is too full Yet do I fear thy nature. strangely . or that confused older. a magic formula that can be me Someone might offer this passage as proof of chanically invoked. At least Claudius in Hamlet with understands that his deeds are seems incompatible to reduce his attempt to pray like a Christian. his religion threatens to undermine his heroic manliness.iii. "Amen" and Stuck in my throat. Macbeth would gladly take any benefits he might obtain from Christianity. (I.v. and One cried. But here Macbeth Christianity Christianity has not yet completely in fact in warriors to a mere set of verbal formulas. Lady the Macbeth here thinks of her husband in the compassionate same terms he later applies to murderers of Banquo. the other. As this passage suggests. But there are signs that the Christianity of the characters with in Macbeth does pagan notions. I pronounce "Amen"? I had most need of blessing. should attend Thou but wouldst be great. 16-21) wouldst thou holily. (n. milk of human kindness o' th* To Art catch the nearest way. us!" "Amen!" List'ning Lady M. "God bless As they had seen me with these hangman's hands. In the minds of like Macbeth. without The illness That it. older pagan ideas with newer Christian beliefs.67-68).290 Interpretation temple" legious murther hath broke ope / The Lord's anointed (II.i. Macbeth himself clearly when she shows the influence of Christianity. mixing still maintain their force. it may be Consider Macbeth's bewilderment at his not always run deep. even by a criminal in the middle of his crime.

12-15).9 Hence Duncan's fatal and error is not to recognize and acknowledge how weak as a who insecure his of elective kind truly is. Shakespeare's Magnanimity. of Scotland. heroism. vii. receiving reports. when we first see him he is allowing his nobles to do his fighting for him. honors. the play speak of Duncan's good qualities. Rather they tend to speak his generosity or. rather than perhaps allowing events to to understand the political necessities of the regime he is the head. Certainly Duncan's designa tion of Malcolm as his successor proves disastrous as the action unfolds. The rule taining civil war in Scotland with which the play begins is testimony to Duncan's .ii). loyal to him in the hope that he would undermines They might eventually throw his weight in favor of one of them succeeding him to the throne. he his the war: into battle. 16-25). The Scotland of the play is presented monarchy. 69). he seems temperamentally unsuited to main in a land in which constant warfare has become a way of life. p. Duncan's generosity with titles. 1). Moreover. asking like an outsider to "What bloody man is (I. Prince Cumberland. By his own admis sion. one in which the powerful nobles have a say in position becomes their king. Duncan is too trusting of humanity. pro remain voking Macbeth into murdering the propel him to the throne. All field generals like Macbeth. The Scottish king cannot be said to serve at the pleasure of the great nobles. basic situation in Macbeth helps explain Duncan's prob lem in the that is not fully Duncan is trying to act like a Christian monarch in a country Christianized and that thus retains a strong element of an older. Only Duncan does that?" not lead his troops great nobles to fight his battles for him and to stand up to the barbaric invaders. Duncan of the holds a king in his circumstances has on his thanes. key error: he a way of Malcolm dealing as with of this problem. but he is so dependent on their military power to support him that he must constantly work to maintain their allegiance. Within the terms of the play.ii. he is presented as an the other leaders in Scotland are warlike men. blind to the ambition lurking in the hearts of his nobles (I. instead stand on the sidelines. one By prematurely naming Malcolm as his successor. He is obviously not a warlike king.8 When characters in (I. of his meekness and his ability to evoke pity (I. Duncan is crucially dependent on Macduff."A Soldier II Afeard" and 291 This analysis of the play. great anomaly in Scotland (see Sanders. in a key speech by Macbeth. and must Banquo. they never credit him with the kind savage of virtues associated with a of king's military function. he seems to resemble England's Edward rather than the bellicose king of Norway. In all these respects.10 thereby trying as to ensure his son's designation as the next acts as if he were already living under a system rather king of hereditary mon if he were in fully civilized England than more primitive Scot land. makes one and gifts to his thanes is nominate? But he Duncan archy. Duncan does of which not seem king.iv.

or perhaps when Lady she Macduff finds herself in danger precisely because.ii. manie quiet state misruled persons tooke occasion thereof to trouble the peace and of the common-wealth. but it was perceived how negligent he was in punishing first had their offendors. and one that not somewhat nature. of of 488) rule on which Holinshed blames the failure subjects. But I world remember now where in this earthly to do harm Is often laudable.292 failure Interpretation as a king. him admirable as a Christian. between worldly and otherworldly as here. imaged. might and the other of reigned crueltie. Duncane have p. is morally innocent: I have done I am no harm. Makbeth an excellent capteine. in terms of manliness contrast of The germ of this conception can be found in Holinshed's Dun can's character with Macbeth's: if he had been Makbeth cruell of realme. alas. Shakespeare found this point made explicitly in his source in Holinshed's Chronicles: Duncans after reigne was verie quiet and The beginning of peaceable. up that womanly defense. . Why then. without anie notable trouble.12 tween the warlike spirit of paganism and the meek resignation of concentrating on the tragedy of Macbeth. wished [was] a valiant gentleman. this passage points to the contrast be Christianity. The idea that the ethical Christianity politics even might not always work well in the rough- and-tumble world of Scottish is developed later in Macbeth though. is basic to Macbeth. tragically caught between the more civilized notion of Christian kingship embodied in Edward the Confessor and the more primitive notion of the king as battlefield warrior. was so soft and gentle of nature. proved a woorthie king. Duncan's his forbearance toward his makes The very meekness Duncan. that indifferent and where the one had too clemencie. versus womanliness. the meane vertue partition betwixt these two so should have by in them both. embodied in the person of Norway. might have beene thought Duncane most woorthie the government of a On the the other part. to do good sometimes Accounted dangerous folly. (Bullough. wise. To say I have done no harm? Do I put (IV. 488) By juxtaposing We are used to cruelty and clemency.74-79)" This idea of a double standard. but the play also presents the tragedy of Duncan. seditious commotions which beginnings in this (Bullough. of a conflict often principles. works against principles of his success as a king in a warlike society. by p. that the people inclinations and maners of these two cousins to have beene so tempered much of extremities and enterchangeablie bestowed betwixt them.

ix. 3-5).28-30). who calls Duncan "a goveme a sort of valiant and faint-hearted milkesop. Such considerations Shakespeare's dwelling on the moment when Malcolm attempts reign more to reconstitute his feudal followers: "My thanes and kinsmen. Makdowald's taunt to Duncan resembles the speech of the usurper York to Henry VI in one of Shakespeare's first plays: p. made possible the centralizing of the English monarchy under Henry VII and the Tudor dynasty. culminating in the carnage created by Richard III. V.13 Shakespeare drew between the saintly Henry VI Richard III in one of his earliest works (and his first study of Macbeth harks back to the result of the The outcome of Wars of the Roses in Shakespeare's First Tetralogy. Malcolm safe" anticipates that the aid will bring about tication of Scotland: "I hope the days are near at hand / That chambers will be (V. more meet to cloister. this have suggested to Shakespeare the theme of the heroic warrior's contempt may for Christian meekness. 489). Thus. a sufficient number of potential rivals to the throne have eliminated by the end of the play to give some plausibility to the idea that Malcolm may might explain peacefully than his father did. Macbeth ends up giving them a foothold in the domes Scotland. other passage (Bullough. like spear. (2 Henry VI.i. scene iii. The transformation the thanes into earls seems to represent an anglicizing of to convert a Scotland."A Soldier This contrast Afeard" and 293 in notions of speare's source in Holinshed kingship is expressed most vividly in Shake by the traitor. he evi- . an attempt barbaric consortium of feudal chieftains into a comparatively from the throne.96-101) Macbeth recapitu As this passage suggests. More than any That head of thine doth not become a crown: Thy And That Is hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff not to grace an aweful gold must round engirt these smile and princely sceptre.iv.8). of Christianity as and he strongly associates the English forces with the power (IV. 1-2). brows of mine. In particular. the first that of ever Scotland/ In such an honor (V. The destruction of the great aristocratic leaders in England.iii.'4 the Despite his English contempt for the overrefinement epicures" (V. to Achilles' Whose frown.iii. Similarly been in Macbeth. Macbeth may ironically have gospelling of the "English Scotland he scorns. 1 89-92).ii. than to have the rule of such Scots were" idle monks in some hardie men of wane as the in Holinshed. by the end having learned from Duncan's mistakes. of centralized by monarchy. able with the change to kill and cure. judg with ing by Malcolm's canny behavior Macduff in Act IV. Makdowald. in which all honors and titles now flow inducing his enemies to call in English aid from the completed the process of saintly Edward. Though Malcolm begins the play just as depen on dent he his father shows signs of help from his subordinates in warfare (I. / Henceforth be nam'd" earls. the contrast contrast between Duncan and lates and deepens the and the warlike tyranny).

on their crowns. see also literally the new pos III. And there end. In this he is dead.74-81) The horror contrast of the occasion calls forth from Macbeth a strong sense past of the between the a knowledges that kind of progress (the "olden time") and the present moment. That when the an brains were now out. the man would die. but they rise again With twenty mortal murthers And push us from our stools. That is the cannot world: sort of situation with he has been trained to handle as a warrior. what But Macbeth does not see this process as an unequivocal gain. reaction reflects to the pagan past. but Macbeth has some sense of the peculiarity his situation. olden time.16 He has never had a problem dealing face to face with a living human opponent. murthers have been perform'd Too terrible for the ear. had faced the looking back with nostalgia decency to stay dead. Malcolm may be kingship. a process of civilizing in ("humane which the Christian spirit has tamed the barbarism of its warriors statute" has "purg'd the gentle weal"). Duncan goes blindly to his death. statute purg'd the gentle weal.iv.98- 102) .iv.73 75). in worlds remains the main action of Macbeth the tension between these two acute. (III. my firm (ffl. a power not of this What The man dare. Ay.294 Interpretation has outgrown dendy his father's overly trusting attitude.15 provide the synthesis of Duncan Macbeth ene a certain toughmindedness from his able to bridge the gap between Christian and pagan Nevertheless. I dare. nerves rhinoceros.iv. And troubles him about the new dispensa tion in Scotland sibility speech of is something specifically Christian: quite resurrection ("now they rise again". of never errors. Shall never tremble. realizing his Consider his speech when he is terrified by i' the appearance of Banquo's ghost at his feast: Blood hath been Ere humane th' shed ere now. Take any shape but that. The time has been. when a man. What he deal is some kind of supernatural apparition. Having learned mies. Perhaps Malcolm is and ready by the end of the play to Holinshed projected. rugged th' Approach thou like the arm'd Russian bear. and since too. He ac has been made in Scotland. once Macbeth's with the disorientation of the oldstyle pagan warrior the new worldview and expanded cosmic horizons of Christianity. or and Hyrcan tiger.

but with all the necessary qualifications be ing made. paganism does not tend to separate a divine realm with human realm in the radical way that Christianity does. the gulf between the paganism. To be sure. simply equate supernatural appari Senecan drama reminds us. Bru. but. at Philippi. Shakespeare was aware that the pagan world to the ghost of allowed for the bility ing. I would hold more talk with thee. (IV. it is accurate to say that Christianity is distinctly more otherworldly . mak'st my blood cold. Why. natural and the supernatural was not as wide or as one might even sharply drawn in Strictly speak say that paganism predates the genuine and full distinction between the god and natural and the supernatural. or some devil. This is admittedly a complicated issue. to reduce the element of the supernatural in his portrait of the early Roman Republic in Caesar ghosts. Brutus quickly see pulls himself together. Bru. Thy evil spirit. ghosts are Though Shakespeare evidently of worked in a pagan framework one as well. possi especially when this scene is contrasted with Macbeth's Banquo. Brutus. Coriolanus. but something forces that appear to come from another world terrify him. His then" calm and collected response "Why. Allowing for a continuum between intermediary figures such as heroes and daifrom a monia. stare? That Ghost. I will thee at Philippi a good measure of the moderation with which Shakespeare's Romans accept the intrusion of the supernatural in their reaction lives. although as we shall they also appear to touch or perhaps even call one cannot as into being deep within his soul." forces in Julius Antony they are confronted by not genuinely shaken by the experience."A Soldier Afeard" and 295 Nothing see in or of this world could frighten the courageous warrior Macbeth. Bru. Art thou some god. then I shall see thee again? Ay. with all sorts of man.] Now I have taken heart thou vanishest. shalt see me at Philippi. of the ghost Caesar is representative: Bru. Why To tell thee thou com'st thou? Ghost. its transcendent between conception of deity and hence its sense of the unbridgeable gulf man and God.iii. Ill spirit.279-88) Though at first quite frightened is by the appearance of Caesar's ghost. Ghost. Republic and way he dramatized the weakening But even when the old civil religion as the and and waned was to emphasize supernatural Cleopatra. Well. [Exit Ghost. I will see thee at Philippi then. of tions with the possible force Christianity. Shakespeare's Romans do react with Brutus' the pure panic that seizes cool encounter with Macbeth. as he shows. some angel. of the supernatural. and my hair to Speak to me what thou art.

He begins the play as a on the be braver tormented battlefield. Macbeth is the impact of Christianity to of key point in Christianity on a man who has been used thinking in in Of all Shakespeare's tragedies. scene iv. my lord. When now I think you can behold And such sights. Macbeth is left how his keep Can equilibrium: such things a summer's be. warrior. that Though basically a stalwart his feet planted firmly on the Macbeth finds himself living haunt his waking hours and in which "present fears / Are less than horrible smother'd slippery torment his dreams.iii. / That of them as would per die"). The subject gave Shakespeare a chance to explore what happens to a pagan warrior wrenched out of with his narrow horizons and into a Christian context. Macbeth is most perhaps the one which supernatural forces have the displaced disturbing effect. of a describes as "the baby manly hero to what he himself (Ill. remarkably courage. the water (I.296 as Interpretation Macbeth reacts more a religion than classical paganism. fie. Lady Macbeth states paradox of character succinctly: "Fie. in a world of ghosts and apparitions leaving him in a confused state imaginings.79). its radical divide between this world and the next.137has" in surmise" until a world for him "nothing earth is / But is as not" 42). But in the and course of the action. Ill These beth: for subject could speeches in Act III. highlight as the peculiar portrays model of fact about Mac a courageous man. In short. he the is increas his ingly by doubts fears. violently to the supernatural apparitions in his life because he thinks kind of epoch cal when rift in his existence. make me strange And overcome us like Without our special wonder? You Even to the disposition that I owe." and what "function / Is (I. away of anything he Shaken to the core of his being at sea and wonders by the strange visions that come upon wife can him. Macbeth constantly thought provided a experiences the melting foundation for his her existence. the man not causing a radi ("The time has been.iv. 105).109-15) Perhaps no character in Shakespeare girl" undergoes a greater transformation than Macbeth does in the course of the play. marking a the brains were out.iii. This strange pattern results from a from Macbeth's unnerving displacement from a pagan to a Christian cosmos. with afeard?" a soldier and (Vi. ground. cloud. (III. Faced with where "the hath bubbles. . When mine is blanch'd with fear. .iv. 36-37). no one to moments of fear. Shakespeare him. keep the natural ruby of your cheeks. but the impact pagan terms. he is. the se.

but the Iliad builds up to the moment when he shows the hero compassion to Priam.20 king is military figure great But if Macbeth begins the play as a kind of Scottish Achilles. he certainly does not end that way. but at the qualities problem as beginning he is praised for the same savage long as they are directed against Scotland's enemies. Which Till he nev'r shook his passage hands. the dilemma of the legitimate than one of his warriors. out (Like Valor's minion) carv'd Till he fac'd the slave. 10-11. on This is the the warrior faces: how he is evaluated depends whether the context of his violence. In the cisely his second scene. Even the King Duncan is favorably impressed being by and com Mac beth's heroism. Indeed we witness this process happening and in Scotland. his own opposed to of it (see Berger. people are singing his praises. What accounts for this difference be Macbeth as heroes? I want to make what will at first sound traced to the extremely perverse argument. calling him "valiant cousin. as we . It involves of the original epic conflict. We cannot imagine Achilles plotting to murder Aga he may want to kill the king. he is hacking meek in half is mended for it. it is perceived as pp. one might call who the Achilles-Agamemnon weaker as a problem. nave unseam'd him from the upon our to th' chops. in secret Achilles is very cruel. Which smok'd with bloody execution. violent tyrant.ii. with his brandish'd steel. it may explain Duncan's imprudent clemency to have provoked Macbeth's contempt for gospelling. suggests a situation typical of the genre. what especially 14). that the transformation of Macbeth is to Christianity. and narrative give an epic a man In our first glimpse of Macbeth.24. nor bade farewell to him. celebrating pre courage as a warrior: For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name). worthy 19 (I. And fix'd his head battlements. 67). seems have seen. in the and service of p. characters view Macbeth Macbeth" gentleman" "noble as a bloody.ii. but he would do it openly.16-23)'8 Macbeth first appears through lesser men on the similes throughout this in the play as a kind battlefield like battle of a Homeric hero."A Soldier At the Afeard" and 297 in beginning of the play Macbeth appears to be the most admired man Scotland. Later in the play. Disdaining Fortune. scene ii. The community or epic language a variant Act I. The movement of Macbeth is just the reverse memnon becomes like be crueller as tween Achilles and an the play progresses. cruel. not inflame it. (I.21 This point is to say the least counterin impact of tuitive: as a gospel of meekness Christianity ought to tame the fierceness and savagery of a warrior. cutting his way Scottish Achilles (the Homeric feel to the passage).

Holinshed held out the prospect of a positive "cruelty" "clemency" Christian ethics. especially when pagan heroism. and even as we have seen expresses scorn new religion of meekness. and hence to the oldstyle pagan ethic in its pure Christianity mo his view of heroism. Rather he warrior's ethic. He is driven by the idea that any glory is worthless to him unless it can be prolonged. Consider the ment just before Macbeth's death he refuses to kill himself: is: the "Why should I play the Roman fool.298 Interpretation now But I am not examining the happens case of the warrior tamed by Christianity. tries to remain with a cant loyal to the to a I am not saying that he for example. Achilles is the at vanity. sword?" own (Vviii. As much as he tries to remain the heroic yet critique of heroism form. Shake speare contemplates the demonic counterpart of this happy synthesis of pagan synthesis of pagan and and Christian. Rather I want to consider the more complicated case what when a warrior retains Shakespeare is intrigued by in Macbeth: his martial spirit. of combining and and thus moderating the bad effects of both. Macbeth is obviously not approaching the issue theologian. secretly accepts his will. Duncan does. he choices. in end the way. value of one's as a What Macbeth has learned from behaves like Christianity is contempt for the transitori- ness of pagan values and an appreciation of eternity. this principle was an example of above the eternal vanity. In the figure of Macbeth. but the way he abjures suicide and desperately clings to life does suggest something in him opposed to pagan attitudes. And its premises. Homer's hero is famous for having been confronted with a tragic choice character between a one. a good Christian. critique of pagan This is the way Macbeth covertly accepts the heroism. Macbeth for the very much stays a warrior. Macbeth wants to have the best of both worlds. many his decision has seemed to be the prototype of all tragic But what is characteristic of Macbeth is his refusal to be bound precisely by the terms of choice. perhaps forever (through his Christian archetype of pagan posterity). a heroic warrior who Absolute.1-2).23 Achilles' obsessively pursues the goal of a long and glorious life. but he reinterprets that ethic distinctly Christian inflection. To Christian thinkers. Who Christian gos My answer The principle of Roman suicide was that honor is more precious than life and thus in certain circumstances a noble man would rather kill himself than live on in pagan disgrace. though this obviously involves a signifi distortion of Christianity. For Christian thinkers. almost against soldier. Macbeth is not immune to the Christian he has cannot remain true changed he is secretly affected by it. and yet allows it to be redirected or reconstituted in a new Christian context. it is useful to con trast him with Achilles. of placing the transitory value of worldly honor immortal soul. His is defined long by his but obscure life and a brief but glorious and to opting for the second possibility. willfully embracing glory the price of his own .22 turns tyrant in pursuit of a secularized version of the Christian To clarify Macbeth's transformation of the heroic ideal. and die / On mine taught Macbeth that the Romans were fools? pellers.

his achievement is worthless to him unless it is perfectly secure. and catch With his surcease. (I. with an all-or-nothing attitude.24 nonheroic element in Mac his fear for his safety is somehow related to the Christian context of his actions. then 'twere If th' Duncan: done. pp. He is an absolutist. so that he would Indeed. At the peak of his "To be thus is nothing. his thought processes display the influence of Christianity. that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here. We'd jump the life to come. he long for the contraction of his horizons back to dimen only have to worry about what happens in this life.1-7) The simple suggests scene fact that Macbeth is thinking about the "life to immediately his difference from a pure pagan hero. assassination Could trammel up the consequence.i. / But to be safely (HI. cess as thus" Afeard" and 299 suc Macbeth of rejects this pagan says: foolishness. success. IV We can see the impact of the Christian context on Macbeth's murder of thinking in the famous opening If it It were of his soliloquy contemplating the 'tis done. But here. This line is profoundly characteristic of Macbeth and shows King Scotland. the playwright indicates Christian horizons to include an afterlife changes the action terms of heroic might he would immediately like to "jump seems to (see my Shakespeare: Hamlet."A Soldier transitoriness. when well were done quickly. Macbeth's scorn for the transitoriness of pagan values leads to a concern for safety that seems unheroic ment of by classical standards." to exclude thoughts of the afterlife from his deliberations. upon this bank and shoal of time." Achilles' brand idea beth of heroism. sions. but to be safely character and of mo thus. As Shakespeare does in the key come" in which how the expansion of Hamlet is considering killing Claudius. he his peculiarity as a hero. 43-45). But the very fact that Macbeth wishes to exclude thoughts of the afterlife shows that Christianity has in fact altered his manner of thinking.vii. no matter how unchristian the object of Macbeth's thinking in this soliloquy is. over One cannot his triumph scorn Hector: "To be thus imagine Achilles saying at the is nothing. One for his safety is the hallmark of his can find no better measure of his distinctive for the transformation of the of heroism in the figure Macbeth than his This puzzling almost bourgeois concern the security of his achievement. As in his later complaint about the dead coming back to pagan life. Someone object that Macbeth's point in this passage is precisely that the life to come.47 48). Instead .

a purely Christian Macbeth might not have murdered any pangs Duncan at produces all. it is Instead. A purely of pagan Macbeth might have killed his king without conscience. consequences of his actions without flinching. reveals what infinite what satisfaction. Brutus images himself as undergoing a psy trying to decide whether or not to kill Caesar (see Julius Caesar. it is the combination of paganism and Christianity bad were in Macbeth that conscience. Brutus kills Caesar must resolve with a with a sense of moral by contrast. II." what promises Christianity an to he is really doing is trying to gain here in this life what believers in the afterlife. Indeed. Despite his initial conviction. The initial description of Mac beth on the battlefield might lead us to expect to meet a kind of brainless machine.26 impact of Christianity on the pagan him psychological syntax of Macbeth's soliloquies give The length. Although Macbeth to be rejecting "the life to come. but he never experiences the kind of inner division that tears Macbeth apart. he tortuous syntax of almost priestly dissection of motive and consequence. chic civil war when To be sure. and thus approaches the deed deeply divided soul.27 That is why. opening up his speech reveals a mind turning an Achilles.i. a kind of absolute perfection.25 with a As becomes even more evi dent later in his become anguished reaction to having of murdered Duncan. its inward. in analyzing Macbeth's "If it how tion done" soliloquy. he never once wavers in his resolve. unlike Macbeth. his peculiar tragic situation as a murderer with a Moreover. we can see ambi Christianity in a subtle has given him new desires and in fact transformed his appears but profound way." . Whatever gives else one about the depth. nor does he suffer pangs of remorse or even regret after the able to confront deed. frequency. The complexity introduced into Macbeth's situation by the conflict between pagan and Christian principles in his soul is what makes him a profoundly tragic figure. as we have seen. moral doubts. His exposure to Christianity act to him which makes it impossible for singlemindedly or to face the not act morally. Brutus is whereas the ghost of Caesar as calmly as visions he does. The If Macbeth is depths. Macbeth has even the moral dimension human action. who at first is clearly troubled by the prospect of killing Caesar. torn by con impulses and struggling may say with a nascent conscience. Shakespeare re veals a character with a richly developed psychological interior. Macbeth is questing he calls "the be-all and the end-all. Macbeth to kill Duncan against his own scruples. in this speech.300 of Interpretation tries to analyze his situation with an unthinkingly plunging into action. figure than soul. is not anguished by his decision to do so in the way that Macbeth reacts in roughly lacking similar circumstances. fighting flicting hero. in Macbeth's soliloquies in Act I.61-69). and Macbeth is tormented by his of the murdered Duncan Banquo. he is aware of an Achilles conscience. Even as thoughtful a character as Brutus. though he does a That is why he strikes us as a more complex has created a division in his purely pagan hero. once Brutus convinces himself that he is justified in killing Caesar. him a complex interior as and convoluted a character that in any of Shakespeare's Romans. will call As he first for I the Absolute Act.

60-69) In the most unchristian act of contemplating another murder. For all his given for Christianity. Duncan. the heroic warrior cannot resist thinking like a Chris tian in one decisive respect. If 't be so. But he cannot close his eyes to the tantalizing vision of the Absolute Act that will yield him com plete and perfect happiness. and mine eternal jewel man. the concern for eternity Macbeth has the from Christianity. scene vii. expectation of Thus Macbeth kills Duncan in desires. is human act the consideration that no is entirely self-contained. which turns out to characterize prophetically the course of his career in crime. Shakespeare does not reveal . and hence a misdeed well Macbeth would have done may come back to haunt its perpetrator. his son Fleance. the only to have of his hopes thwarted. now his thoughts dwell obsessively on Banquo. Macbeth thinks in Christian terms. Macbeth nev perfection is still within his grasp. What troubles him is the thought that Banquo that he content with would Weird Sisters promised cannot found a "line kings" of (III. to heed his own warning. But Macbeth does not rethink futility of his quest on Instead and focusing for the Absolute Act."A Soldier a single Afeard" and 301 deed that will give curely and forever. every deed has consequences. Macbeth tion of be having achieved his personal ambi becoming king if it now appears to lead nowhere in the future: Upon my head they plac'd a fruitless crown. He is tormented jewel" by the thought that he has not nal contempt to the devil for the sake of Banquo's heirs. He comes to desire a perfection unimaginable to a pagan living in a world of finite horizons. hence "his absorbed death" would leave Macbeth we can see "perfect" (III. For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind. And put a barren sceptre in my gripe. All he has to do now is to together with have Banquo killed.107).i. he cannot help conceiving of the issue of his happiness differently from the way a pagan hero like Achilles would. Having ertheless feels that failed to satisfy his infinite desire by killing Duncan. up his "eter his own. No son of mine succeeding.i.i. Given to the common enemy of make them kings the seeds of Banquo kings! (ffl.28 him everything he desires and give it to him se What gives him pause at this moment in Act I. For them the gracious Duncan have I murther'd. he piness only obstacle standing between him and perfect is his rival general: "There is none but he / Whose being I do concludes that the hap fear" (III. Once he has been told of the immortality of the soul.59). In his obsession with the royal succession. rather he tries to reformulate it.i. since once gaining at one stroke all he in power he finds himself exposed to a new sense of insecurity as a tyrant. Put rancors in the vessel of my peace Only To for them.53 54). Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand.

As broad now and general as the casing air. Whole But as the marble. I had else been perfect. I am cabin'd. founded as the rock. Contrary to Mac all the consequences and forestall beth's hopes. something is al of ways left over. an analogue to Christian salvation.4-5). in its absence. of damnation. like Fleance. Macbeth responds in despair: my fit again. and to-morrow. all's spent. Fleance Then comes escaped. his response to the news of is probably Macbeth's his wife's death: most famous To-morrow.20-21).v. As his wife painfully sums up his tion: "Nought's had. When the murderers are forced to report that. or of disseat This (V. cribb'd.20-24) the most forceful expression of Macbeth's all-or-nothing He is constantly searching for a kind of pure perfection.29 analysis sheds light on what speech. a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. out. (III. when his world seems to be crashing down around him. And then is heard Told no more. Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.ii. he some hopes for last me kind on one gamble now" enduring happiness and is willing to risk everything to achieve perfection: "This push / Will cheer me ever. Even toward his life. failure into of and she to live with "doubtful correcdy diagnoses her husband's problem as an inability joy" (III. confin'd. full nothing. Out. although Banquo is dead. and to-morrow.iii. 19-28) Signifying .iv. but he discovers that every human act is finite. (V. no single act can "trammel the need for future action.7). The height of Macbeth's hopes is thus responsible for the depth his despair. To the last syllable of recorded time. Macbeth himself to be drawn a series of the end of still deeds that only succeed in damning him further. Hence Macbeth's quest for perpetual satisfaction only perpetual dissatisfaction. brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow. It is a tale by an idiot.302 the Interpretation extent of full Macbeth's hopes until the second attempt at the Absolute Act goes awry. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. of sound and fury. bound in and To saucy doubts fears. He desires something infinite ("as broad and general as the casing air"). in a kind This speech provides attitude.ii. he feels himself left with nothing. / Where our desire is got without yields situa content" (III. to provoke further up" consequences. Yet despite the mounting evidence of the allows his quest for the Absolute Act.

"A Soldier Struck Afeard" and 303 by the profound nihilism of this speech. brought about stand of by the intervention of the Weird Sisters m his world. 17). is that he speaks of tomorrow and yesterday.ii. But may be some providential order to events his faith in himself and in his own efforts. (I. Indeed in its feeling for time. as Macbeth leams to devalue this world from the standpoint of eternity.12) and in driving him. Macbeth one all eventu ally life can be lived only in the present. This speech thus sums up all that What is characteristic of Macbeth's words has destroyed Macbeth's happiness. himself to whatever suggesting to Macbeth that there in this world. He has lost the pagan ability to take pleasure in the moment. Drawn inexorably into future. and. behind ("what's done. some critics have wondered whether careful seen of quest to attribute this attitude to Shakespeare himself. This speech again we is surely not an expression of Christian sentiments. Mack.56-58) to the transformation of Macbeth's sense of time: the present contemptible whenever one Here is the moment key becomes to a thinks one can see beyond the it con fidently perfect future.32 candle" sees all present moments voided of meaning.): Macbeth quickly up the (On this point. Like any good pagan warrior. without looking beyond its borders to eternity. and yet once see how even in opposition to Christianity Macbeth turns out to be influenced by it.ii. is to place Macbeth's nihilism in a specific Given what we have his all-or-nothing attitude. HI. scene v. at first he is not future but fights for the glory of the present moment. since in basic sense meaning who player" .31 The profoundest transformation in the process poisoning the present for the nature of Macbeth's heroism is his reorientation toward the future. the Weird Sisters shake by and awaken his longing see to ally force in the picks universe represents same attitude the wave of the future. he is "Disdaining ious to the Fortune" obsessed with the (I. but he has no thought for today. Recall that first hear Macbeth in the play. p. obliv consequences for his safety. this marks a apoca speech turn from a pagan to a Christian outlook. this means that life itself loses and the "poor His contempt for the "brief for Macbeth. Thy letters have transported me and beyond now This ignorant present." syllable of recorded he clearly is no longer thinking in pagan terms. who in some way of the supernatural on when we for the impact human life of and hence the subversion the natural. him to leave the past Futurity has cast a shadow over his life.v. I feel The future in the instant. is done". it is not surprising that the collapse for the Absolute Act should generate this glimpse into a nihilistic of his abyss. but is rather haunted by the lyptic expectations of Christianity. Lady 192. When he speaks of "the last time. But Shakespeare context.30 in Act V. to live happily in this world.

the classical view. One would expect that Macbeth's turn from heroic self-reliance to a faith in a providential order would lead him to act more virtuously in conventional moral ter But in the paradoxical world of Macbeth. parody play. as shown evokes. of good will proxies. he begins to striking down intentions behind false displays and open combat.iii. Macbeth develops Macbeth . this world becomes worthless to him when it fails to live up to otherworldly standard of absolute perfection. But darkness" we must analyze the role of the Weird Sisters in the appear to represent an although as "instruments of (I. they Christian force within the world of Macbeth. / And then is heard no one last reflection of the disdain for the transitory he has absorbed from Chris tianity.vii. Macbeth begins the play with the faith of a Homeric he succeeds in battle depends largely on whether he behaves battlefield. a Ultimately of religious an Shakespeare shows that Macbeth's nihilism is the obverse of kind faith. 124) the witches must be viewed as enemies of orthodox reli gion. The providential order they represent may be demonic their prophecies lead Macbeth to his damnation. he acts nobly. in the Christian understanding. Indeed the fulfillment him that the world of their specific in Macbeth's as case suggests to is governed by a providence. all restraint and achieve including comes to believe that his victo becomes willing to do anything to murdering women and children. rather than in secretly honest ries Moreover. working through they least expect it.82). As the play unfolds. To understand more of a religious fully how Macbeth comes to be governed by a demonic anti- faith. and instead seeks guarantees from the witches that his success is assured because it is foreordained. Macbeth becomes increasingly hesitant to take the risks a hero normally accepts as a matter of course. on the face of it. the hero's newfound long eral as providence actually makes him crueller in his actions. by the gen admiration with initially But once act Macbeth believes himself in hidden powers. WTiat the after all a witches teach Mac beth is lesson in providence. opponents when once himself. But the Weird Sisters his actions undermine bravely Macbeth's belief that the outcome of lies in his own hands and teach him instead to rely on supernatural aid. that earthly and events are governed prophecies particular by higher powers. As Macbeth believes that the outcome of single combat is a function faith in chiefly league evil of the behavior he of the combatants. the principles in which respect they in effect instruct Macbeth are at least in one indistinguishable from Christian beliefs. rather than by a gen eral providence. Of course. he loses his goals.304 Interpretation more" is merely "stmts and frets his hour upon the stage. as witches. but the fact remains that embody for Macbeth a form of religious teaching. concealing his (I. as is we more typical of As warrior whether on the have seen. are fated.

33 deed that at characterizes his behavior in the course of the As we have seen.iv. to think / So brain-sickly of sleep peacefully again him. perhaps even producing the apparitions that haunt his ban once again tries to restore quet. Macbeth's loss of freedom is reflected in the diminishing of proportion of thought to play. making him see visions and things" (II. first a significant expansion and deepening Macbeth's consciousness occurs.38 40). Thus in line nature. Shakespeare again gives Mac the before deed. Speaking of meekness and pity with respect (I. 16-25). he becomes so convinced that he is favored by providence that comes to view his personal cause as with their paradoxical universal (Ill. But the close new interiority that has opened down under the pressure of events. he has the over matters potential murderers enter and they discussed the night indicates that they will be going before. Macbeth seems to of that go along with opening up be reacting against the moral interiority in his soul. this time Macbeth's soliloquy merely he has already made. Macbeth cannot rest content with the deed or put it his mind. He thinks that provi to dence is serving him. it is still evident when he beth murdering Banquo. The way his conscience plays tricks on hear voices.42-43). But Shakespeare introduces murder. Lady Macbeth his heroic attitude by shaming atti him: "What? quite unmann'd in folly?" (III. but in reality he ends up serving providence.iv. And once Banquo has killed. or at least whatever order the witches represent. his decision to hire mur derers to kill Banquo suggests that he is trying to distance himself from the happened in the confirms a choice deed and perhaps avoid the as fits the of conscience his murder of Duncan provoked (unsuccessfully scruples it turns out). Macbeth comes closest to once espousing genuine Christian principles in this speech.ii. vii. as he finishes his solilo quy. As the . Unlike soliloquy Macbeth had already what reached case of Duncan. 134-35). Macbeth dwells more Moreover. up in Macbeth eventually begins to To be sure."A Soldier a Afeard" and 305 kind he of fanaticism. Even he has killed Duncan. running over in his mind all the moral objections to the deed. Macbeth's conscience wreaks havoc with is faced a with the prospect of his peace of mind. he begins to behave differently than a pagan Once he leaves the battlefield. in fact take away whatever power he originally turn him into a creature of their own ends. is one more indication of his transformation from a purely pagan hero. who seem to offer new power possessed and Macbeth. Banquo. In considering the murder of on prudential than on moral considerations.ii. which suggest subtle variations into Macbeth's second how his tudes are changing. Furthermore. It is thus clear that even before the the decision to kill Banquo. hero would. the Weird Sisters. by what he has done and convinced that he will never (Il. His behavior provokes a reproach from his wife. He agonizes over the decision to kill Duncan. in which he reflects on why he must do long soliloquy been it. who would like to see him act like an oldstyle warrior again: "You do unbend your noble strength.72). out of he is clearly troubled Although it may be inaccurate to speak of remorse in his case.

thus gradually surrendering his freedom of action. knowledge of the future. must be acted ere they may be scann'd. with the aid of the witches. (IV. Reacting against the starts agonizing thought processes that have been going into his decisions.iv. confirms. and that he has been free to pattern brutally deliberating at he reacts than ever length about before. he thinks that haste. The new principle of gives to interiority he now in his soul wishes to escape. Now he wishes to reverse this pattern: act first and then think about it. give to th' o' th' edge sword . The thou anticipat'st my dread exploits: purpose never go with flighty is o'ertook Unless the deed it. 144-46) This there attitude is the result of the Weird are Sisters' success in increasingly convinc ing Macbeth is rather what that events in life to fated. he means to act more to act mechanically. Once he believes that he have tion. But from this point on. then is right or wrong for him to do. Macbeth proclaims: Which Strange things I have in head. that will to hand. The very fact that up to this point his deeds indicates that he has been he allows act or not. 138-39) Here we see Macbeth provoked into a willful contraction of his consciousness. he which in conceives the idea of what would today be called a pre-emptive strike: Time. can is fated to happen certain will next and act accordingly. himself to be drawn into a automatically to events. (Ill. be it thought Macduff I will surprise. has clearly become painful to him. destiny his task becomes figure out. the warrior wishes he could return to an earlier state of when he was a simpler man and remained undisturbed by the prickings of conscience. Up to this point he has been characterized by the unusual amount of thought he his deeds before acting (at least unusual for a warrior). and done: Seize Fife. Thus at the end of Ill. without thinking. a burden from which But the price Macbeth pays for this escape is his freedom. When Macbeth is shaken by the news that Macduff has fled to England.i. To crown The castle of upon my thoughts with acts.306 Interpretation scene banquet affairs. rather than planning them.iv. If his what no point one in Macbeth debating try to is already decided. and not due delibera be the key to his success: From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. And even now.

"A Soldier
His wife, his babes,
and all unfortunate souls




That trace him in his line. No This deed I'll do before this But
no more sights!





purpose cool.

(IV.i. 146-55)






both Duncan


Banquo, here Macbeth

plunges nant

precipitately into several murders, all of them crueller and more repug morally than his earlier deeds. But having had enough of moral scruples,
goes to

Macbeth One

the opposite extreme of unthinking action,


in this


leads him into indiscriminate

be tempted to





an attempt to annul the new speech

as simply a return to pagan Christian principle of interiority.


behind this




that cannot

be traced to



my thoughts

with acts": as several critics out a p.


Macbeth is attempting to live



have noted, in this omnipotence (see, for







138). He fantasizes



only think something and it will instantaneously happen, a pattern fully embod ied only in the biblical God. Just as he has been attracted to the Christian idea

eternity, Macbeth feels the pull of the Christian idea thoughts translate

of an omnipotent







part of

the absolutism we


for himself.

in Macbeth, he now covets the omnipotence of the biblical God Reacting against his discovery of his vulnerability as a mortal, he to the opposite extreme of wishing to believe himself invulnerable, which


him prey to the schemes. Once he places himself en in their he is able to overcome his unheroic sense of insecurity and hands, tirely in fact develops a remarkable faith in himself as unconquerable. Toward the end
what makes


the play, in

a reversal of

the way he



in the middle, Macbeth

begins to

conventionally heroic again: "The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear, / Shall never sag with doubt, nor shake with (V.iii.9-10); he fears" (V.v.9). But the irony is actually says: "I have almost forgot the taste of

that Macbeth's sense of absolute power comes just before his experience of

absolute control of


to take total command of his world,

he in fact

initiative, quickly loses while he is reduced to waiting passively and reacting to their moves, precisely prophecies (V.iii.2-7). In the end, he even because of his faith in the
enemies seize the

events, forced to


loses his freedom But bear-like As his

of movement:

"They have

tied me to a stake; I cannot

fly, /





(V. vii. 1-2).


in Act IV,

i, indicates, Macbeth



to acting in the hope
the moral



that is, he does not want avoiding "more of his deeds. Thus his speech fulfills a consequences
wife express earlier

wish that

both he


seeing, that





in the play to be able to act face up to the consequences of one's


But the
ultimate realization of this


hope is





ing: "to

receive at once

the benefit of sleep and do the effects of
we see

(V.i.9-11). In
her husband's





happens metaphorically in






life, going

through the

motions, his actions
motive or





moves and

meaning, even in his

own eyes.



lacking any inner result of the deepening




it leads him to


without consciousness.




consciousness causes a

have repeatedly seen, the opening up of Mac deep rift to develop in his soul, a painful division

in the


wants to


and what




him is morally right

to do. Though


much of

the play he

wrestles with





to repudiate it and all






finds in the depths Macbeth




of scorpions

is my





the written troubles of the

way to heal the rift in his consciousness and "raze out brain" (Viii.42). But in seeking to extinguish con

sciousness, he leaves himself prey to the

forces in his soul,



act more

savagely than he ever did before.



the con

straints of a new and

morality, he eventually repudiates

all restraints on

his actions,


a slave to

freedom turns into

a new

his basest desires. That is how his seemingly form of slavery.


In examining the impact of the Weird Sisters on Macbeth's thinking, we have seen what he dimly suspects from the beginning and finally confirms to his horror himself
their effect

is thoroughly

ambiguous and equivocal.

As Macbeth




(I.iii. 130-31). It is

of course

soliciting / Cannot be ill; cannot be notoriously difficult to pin down the exact role
opponents of the


Weird Sisters in Macbeth. As the

legitimate Christian
forces in

forces in the play, they

to represent a link to the older pagan

in many

as was of course


true of witches in medieval Europe. But


the Weird Sisters seem to be aligned with the tendencies that
out of



the pagan world


the supernatural and above all

they concretely represent the lead him to believe in particular they
squarely in either the pagan we have seen, Macbeth is a but torn between the two


Ultimately it



difficult to

place the witches

the Christian


it is to


Macbeth. As





pagan nor

fully Christian,

worlds, combining

Christianity does not, as it usually does, temper the fierceness of the pagan spirit, but paradoxically inflames it. Supplying an absolutism to Macbeth's pagan spirit,
or rather

aspects of

both. In Macbeth's case,

his distorted interpretation





him into

a crueller and more

"A Soldier
devious figure. Convinced




of the inevitability of his triumph, he lets nothing in his way, becoming a demonic parody of the crusading Christian war rior and hence a fiend in the eyes of the genuine Christians in the play. One might

think that a combination

of classical and


principles would pro





higher synthesis,

Macbeth himself "Who

suggests the

incorporating difficulty of synthesizing

the best of




antithetical qualities:

be wise, amaz'd, rate, and furious, / Loyal, and neutral in a (Il.iii. 108-9). If Macbeth achieves a kind of synthesis, he might be both worlds, pursuing pagan goals with a Christian or, alternatively phrased, pursuing Christian goals with a pagan
worst of


to combine the



witches are


hybrids, walking

violations of

tempted to impose on them (On this point, see

any category one is Lowenthal, p. 354.). Macbeth
well-defined polarities:



to be a play that deals in sharp and



evil, Christian
and so on.








But from their first appearance, the

witches work to


down any simple sense of binary opposition in the play: "Fair is foul, and foul (Li. 11). The way they violate fundamental category distinctions is the is inhabitants first thing Banquo notices about them: they "look not like seem witches to cloud the (I.iii.41-42). Above the all, earth, / And yet are normally clear distinction between male and female:




And That
yet your


be women,

beards forbid


to interpret

you are so.




because it becomes


is unusually important in Macbeth, in part the pagan-Christian opposition. The pagan in battle,

heroic ideal is

associated with a vision of manliness



associated with a

softer, sensitive,



view of

life. When Mac
might as well


that the murderers

have become too gospelled, he

have they have become too feminized. As we have seen, the fact that they reply, "We are men, my (III.i.90) shows that they are aware that Macbeth is calling their manliness into question.
questioned whether

The issue

of what

it is to be

a man




in Macbeth


it involves acting solely like a male, tme to the warrior's code of aggressive behavior, or whether the notion of manhood needs to be extended to encompass


sensitive side of




a thorough




see Jose Benardete's essay.) Lady into murdering Duncan early in the play


Macbeth is

to taunt her



conception of manhood and



treating him


speaking he later does the

with contempt

appealing to for



compassion (I.vii.39-

murderers of

Banquo. But toward the

wife. being being or in Lady her Macbeth's various attempts speech to act the part of a male. end of the action. One which of of the signs Macbeth's disorientation be influenced is the degree to he allows him his self to by female forces. As he is drawn into the world of what Lady Macbeth calls "metaphysical aid" (I. Malcolm accuses himself of "stanchless indeed an insatiable desire for wealth: "my more-having would be ava as a . creating as a warrior new hybrid forms.310 Interpretation play. suggest the larger point portray a world that I have been making about Shakespeare's is a hybrid of pagan and Christian attempt in Macbeth to elements. most fully realized in the imaging of the Weird Sisters. but action. the boundary between male and female is always on the verge of of dissolving.v. Dispute it like a man. most fully demonstrated in her famous soft in which she desires to be "unsexed" and to exchange femininity for a cruel the masculine with masculinity (I. In the long exchange tyranny" Testing duff by rice. the world. Macduff." pretending to be a tyrant. his increasing a contempt and even obsession with supernatural forces leads him to develop hatred for the In part.iii. in the Weird Sisters. Far from constituting a simple. feminized in the play. One cannot simply equate the pagan in Macbeth or the feminine with the Christian. vn Sisters' One final considered: aspect of the Weird impact on Macbeth remains to be the way they change his view of nature. Mac nature.220-21) Passages nine such as this give some idea of how complicated the masculine/femi dichotomy becomes in Macbeth.v. But I must also feel it as a man. straight forward opposition in the play. this development reflects the fact that Macbeth's desire for the infinite leads him to despise anything merely finite in world of nature.29). who plays a major role determining his course of course. the repeated images in the play of hybrids of masculinity and feminity. I shall do so.iii. But also even as mas the masculine is culinized. and lishes a hence ultimately the natural world itself.66-67).40-50). (IV. Nevertheless. infinite desire emerges as his distinguishing trait: "Boundless intemperance / In nature is a (IV. the older passionate Malcolm tries similarly to goad Macduff into savage warrior stands up for a broader definition of manhood as com when humanity: Malcolm.37 Shakespeare estab connection between Macbeth's desire for the infinite and his tyrannical between Malcolm and Macduff concerning the character of the tyrant. the feminine is This tendency is evident in the beards of the witches.

the in the world that what happens is always the product of some will.i. Though the bladed Though Though castles com be lodg'd.i. do and trees blown down.78. though the treasure Of nature's germains tumble all together. would o'erbear That did oppose (TV. Ultimately Macbeth's tyrannical even leads him to challenge all the forces of nature and the natural order itself: let them fight waves Though you untie the winds. Your wives. Even till destruction sicken. his infinite desire makes him fight have against any limits to his at war with nature itself. since Thus the tyrant ultimately finds himself the very idea of a natural order is that things will.iii. palaces and pyramids slope Their heads to their foundations. / Ere we in fear" (III. and Against the churches. both the worlds suffer. answer me To what I ask you. He would also presents himself lecherous. plunges As Macbeth titanic "For egotism that fuels the tyrant's / All ego deeper into tyranny.iv.60-65) As Shakespeare presents the tyrannical set character. His imagination leaps to picturing the dissolution in nature. independent of That explains his attraction to the idea of a supernatural order. Shakespeare reveals the actions: "But let the frame of things dis will eat our meal way" joint. and your maids could not fill up The cestem of my lust. characteristically to long for the moment when "Nature seems deeper and (II. topple on their warders' heads. In my voluptuousness. 134-35). even . (IV. that is. What Macbeth's tyrannical soul cannot stand is the limits nature all order sets to all activity and especially to human desire. Ultimately he rejects the idea that there can human notion will. though the yesty Confound and swallow navigation up. and claims that his lust brook no restraints: but there's no bottom. and my desire All continent impediments my will.iii.38 natures that Macbeth dead" seems define how they behave. your daughters."A Soldier sauce as Afeard" and 311 / To make me hunger more" (IV.16-17).52-61) This and passage provides a profound insight into the character of Macbeth's soul of his tyrannical desires.ii. He would rather see the world in chaos than accept natural constraints on his will.50). set limits to their actions. be any kind of order subsisting in nature. mine own good causes shall give (Ill. Your matrons. none. and that means particularly the dissolution of all natural boundaries. 81-82).

to the dogs. perturbation The doctor diagnoses Lady Macbeth's "a great (V.i. It is no accident his horrible crime is the murder of Macduff's wife and children. But there is his a profound irony pears in Macbeth's to be attack on the children of Scotland own marriage barren.i.v. Macbeth turns confusion in order be profoundly confused.47). as the more tempted subject he is to look down own the world of nature and view justifiably to his will. And in his out attempt to reject the natural and embrace the supernatural. destined to serve his purposes and his purposes alone.i. for he needs it to generate an unnaturally tries to deny her role as a woman a kind of curse on her natural potential as a mother (I.92-94). Ultimately that Macbeth turns most to be at war with natural generation. I'll it" (V. Shakespeare brings in a Doctor of Physic to treat Lady Macbeth. Perhaps he nature was aware that the root of word physician plant and is physis. In Act V. the Greek problem as of word for (related to the Greek in nature" for thus emphasizing nature as a generative power).i.iii. Perhaps the ture's most striking feature of Macbeth's speech is his curse on "na germains. Even the tyrant heir. Lady she cure be helped than the physician" only by supernatural forces: "More needs (V. Macbeth's that rejection of the physician consistent with the rejection of nature has informed his yet whole career as a tyrant. such him" as a man not bom only by powers be When Macbeth hears that he cannot be defeated "until / Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / on Shall come against (IV. The confidence riddling they deceive him build his power of the natural order. having turned against the natural order. Faced with the doctor's failure to contempt all the divine Macbeth none of expresses his for medicine: "Throw physic his wife. its fecundity.40-50) and in particular lays be establishing a pattern that those who curse natural powers will live to regret it. Having tried to deny the womanly side of her nature.74). only because of his lingering faith can in the The prophecies suggest that Macbeth be overthrown of woman. Lady Macbeth finds herself unequal to the aggressively masculine role she tries to play and her mind snaps in the process. thus leaving him without the heirs he needs to perpetuate cannot ap his line of and hence his achievement. here it is difficult to believe that he was not aware of the Greek root of physic. yond the natural order. He despises the out generative power of nature." the seeds out of which all the world of nature springs.312 if it it Interpretation must be a sinister one.71-72).54-59).vii. for nature will come back to take its revenge.9) and supplies a formula for the fate unnatural both Mac Macbeth beth and his wife: "Unnatural deeds / Do breed troubles" (V. Shakespeare seems to Early in the play Lady Macbeth (I. The doctor can suggests now that. For Shakespeare's is supposed lack of classical learning. his reaction depends his belief in the limits of the natural world: . The Weird Sisters prey upon his to instill a false sense of security in him and lead him to his to prophecies with which destruction. The more Macbeth feels in league upon with supernatural forces. dispense with the power nature.

"A Soldier That Who can will never Afeard" and -313 be. bid the tree Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! Rebellious dead. Macbeth has become totally world. when Macbeth o' sees the apparition of the other dagger. see Davis. He expects everybody everything to be bound by the order of nature with one exception: Macbeth himself (On this point. his wish to be invulnerable and Macbeth's problem is that he does omnipotent. only ecies in light of his own desires. Macbeth finds himself bom ultimately defeated by it.94-99) We and see here how truly egotistical Macbeth has become. look carefully enough at what the Weird what show he listens to he hears and interprets the proph Sisters him. Having attacked the natural order. he forgets that someone else might achieve the same power. suggesting the exact manner of not Malcolm's later stratagem. abbve all. but The man of woman turns out to be simply the product of a Caesarean section. and the prophecy concerning Bimam a is delivered by a child with tree in his hand. This disjunction between portant pattern sight and the other senses advice of forms eyes an im in the play. rather than allowing himself to be and into interpreting the revelations in light of his own hopes desires. As several critics have noted. he the says: rest" "Mine eyes are made the fools th' senses. p.i. As the last line in the passage shows. he might have been destruction. In the conclusion it is purely natural forces that of the play is surrounded by a only mysteriously destroy Macbeth. good! (IV. rise never till the wood Of Bimam rise. the prophetic apparitions come with their own man not explanations. one need only note that here he is rejecting the possibility tion that only two scenes earlier he himself had contemplated. To see how inconsistent his thinking has of resurrec become. supernatural aura. he is relying on the power of nature at just the moment when he con ceives himself as raised above it. 226. / Or else worth all (II.40 bom of woman is delivered by a The prophecy concerning the bloody child. suggesting a Caesarean wood section. and our high-plac'd Macbeth Shall live the lease of nature. His experience with the would witches' apparitions suggests even more strongly that he own have been better off trusting tricked what he saw with his eyes. And the miraculously moving forest turns out to be nothing more than a camou flaging maneuver.i.39 defeat Macbeth. Had Macbeth followed the spared his in this scene. even though the prophecies The suggest that supernatural powers could simple natural in the not event the forces that triumph have explanations.44-45).). impress the forest. Earlier in the play. . confused Having demanded end in sorting out the natural and the supernatural in his to be above the limits of nature himself. And the deepest irony is that the Weird Sisters did not in fact conceal his fate from him.

to the mysteries and para No interpretation will ever seem fully adequate doxes of Macbeth. Macbeth is in the odd position of a heroic warrior whose ambitions have been redirected and redefined him by the Christian influences in his world. he finds a desire for the infinite awakening within his soul. As Macbeth finally comes ear" to understand. Meier for the tially revised the text based on criticism I received of the earlier version and my own rethinking of certain aspects of the play. the many riddles that have puzzled critics of the play. In particular. I have substan by Heinrich Meier).314 The Interpretation ultimate trick the Weird Sisters play on Macbeth is to make him think he is seeing with his own eyes when in fact he is interpreting what he sees in light of what he hears from the witches and their apparitions. along lines suggested to Faced with the Christian critique can no of the transitoriness of pagan of values. If one were to analyze fully Shakespeare's the transfor that he mation of was the pagan hero into the tyrant to the of infinite desire. Macbeth and all of longer settle for the kind for glory that satisfied Achilles those Roman fools. 1991. the Weird Sisters only "keep the word of promise to our ought (Vviii. future. Macbeth feels some in his life. which Shakespeare links with thing absolute Macbeth's human new form of tyranny and his new attitude toward nature as subject to portrait of will. I want von Schottland by the Siemens Foundation in 1993 (translated to thank Dr. Transposed into a world with the expanded horizons of Christianity. Thus they blind him to the nature. although I have been able to take into account only a fraction of the work on Macbeth that has appeared since I first formulated my interpretation of the play. which eventually destroys him. into a political program. The original version of this essay was given as a lecture at the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Munich on November 28. between might sum nite perhaps the ultimate lesson Macbeth one's to learn is the difference hearsay and and seeing with own eyes way: (cf. All quotations from Shakespeare are taken from G. Blakemore Evans.. can in part be traced to the peculiar situation of its hero. 1974). One up the Weird Sisters' strategy this desire a supernatural alliance and appealing to his dream of breed a contempt for the power of awakening Macbeth's infi omnipotence. ed. something absolutely secure and absolutely lasting. The Riverside Shakespeare (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. into ideology. .21). under a need the influence of the Christian idea eternity. Romans 10:17). An ex "Macbeth" panded version was published in German translation under the title und die Evangelisierung edited by Anke Heimann and opportunity to lecture in Munich and for the original publication of this Macbeth essay in book form. one would see prophetically looking prefigures the tragedy of modernity. But I have tried to show that the strangeness of Macbeth. they make him long for natural world in him. if Macbeth could have found a way on earth to translate his personal what we would call an hopes for heaven tyrant. the tragedy of the Scottish warrior Indeed. he might well have served as the prototype of the distinctively modem NOTES 1. I have used this opportunity to update the scholarship.

3. one point set all slouthfull and lingering in most speedie wise. a the story Shakespeare chose to suppress. 47 (1980): 1-31. 1 (1970): 63-75. see Lowenthal. Proser. 137. 91 (1963): 1-5. p. and especially the question of witches. For a good discussion of this passage. pp. 1990). On the complicated matter of the historical details of the principle of succession in Scotland." of Macbeth. This may well is suggested by a passage sources in Hector Boetius' be one of Shakespeare's for Macbeth. "Macbeth: Shakespeare Mystery Play. 490). p. In general. pp. pp." New Interpretation. Jr. Shakespeare found a confused mixture of pagan and worked Christian elements in Holinshed's account of Macbeth and Scotland.. p. For insightful discussion Words. Duncan's "small skill in warlike (Bullough. he writes that "he also applied men of his whole indevor. Macbeth siders also appears to be returning to Shakespeare's Henry VI in the way it con the influence of women on politics.. 7). Holinshed 9. as originally embodied in the figure point of Joan de Pucelle.. 11. 8. and Littlefield. For further analysis of Duncan's problems king." Duncan's kingship. my Shakespeare: Hamlet (Cambridge: Cambridge affaires" University Press. see H. 431-32. On the distinction between aner and anthropos. p. pp. 5. this is the only appearance the concept of manliness in of the word gospell'd in Shakespeare. of manliness "Macbeth's Last Interpretation. 1987)." 7. For an incisive critique of the tendency of idealize Duncan as a perfect ruler. 1973). p. See Sanders. This Macbeth of ten years during which ruled Scotland justly and well. 492)." Seth Benardete. Macbeth (Oxford: Oxford University Press. and vocations" the church to attend their divine passage comes a section according to their Holinshed writes on a period service part of (Bullough. Nick Potter. see Bullough. becommeth verie hardie and active ward" the king himselfe critics to governed in the maine battell or middle Q3ullough. that a dull coward ." Southwest Re view. p. 75 (1990): especially pp. David Lowenthal. and see and a similar analysis. Paul. 65. constreined by necessitie. For Narrative vol. "Achilles and the Hermes. see Harry Berger. UK: Harvester in Graham Press. 244-49.."A Soldier 2. see Lowenthal. Holinshed writes of speaks of especially pp. 12. plays the playwright to sharpen and develop the contrast. Turner. For another good discussion in Macbeth. and began to assemble an armie for oftentimes it happeneth. see Geof Kegan Inter frey Bullough.29-32 and Nicholas Brooke. 331. Their Friends Families OLondon: Chatto & Windus. Shakespeare: The Play of History (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. from to cause to exercise themselves in vertuous maners. 59-65. 221. Shakespeare's Skepticism (Brighton. 1965). On this point. see Graham Bradshaw. 51-91. 16 (1989): 351. 6. 14. Is in Wilbur Howard Jacobson. For a contrary view of Duncan's policy. 1978). pp. The terms are Michael Davis. and John Turner. 7. 130-31. 300-301. pp." pretation. 321-23. "The Early Scenes of Macbeth: a Preface to ELH. see Iliad. 497-98). and John Turner. the idea of giving it a specifically ant-Christian inflection seems to be Shakespeare's own. Afeard" and 315 all of According an to the concordances. At p. "Courage ed. ed. like a verie valiant capteine: delaies apart. "The Tragic Romances of Holderness. see especially pp. and slouthfull person. Done. 13. At one point in Holinshed's young men account of Macbeth. Although clearly Shakespeare derived his sense of Macbeth's cruelty from Holinshed. 10. 54-55. 1987).. Shakespeare's Magnanimity: Four Tragic Heroes. since The Description of Scotland (which Holinshed included it as a preface to . see Shakespeare's Political Pageant. Shakespeare's Magnanimity. see Matthew N.iv. MD: Rowman in Holinshed's taken directly from Shakespeare's source Chronicles. The best attempt I have seen to characterize the Scotland of Macbeth is by Wilbur Sanders in and Sanders and an imaginative essay entitled "Macbeth: What's Done. See my "Othello: The Erring Barbarian and Among the Supersubtle Venetians. see Jos6 A. Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (London: Routledge 490 (all references to Bullough will be to vol. On Scotland as an elective monarchy. also develops a positive view of and weakness as a Feudalism. Joseph Alulis and and Impotence in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Here Shakespeare departs from his Duncan: "he sources to sharpen the contrast. 1996). The Heroic Image in Five Shakespearean Tragedies G'nnceton: Princeton University Press. 4. pp.'" in Vickie Sullivan (Lanham. Benardete. 125-31. 1989). 74.

& called by the name of Thanes and this denomination giuen vnto them after their land.316 his Interpretation of history Scotland). 297. 452: "This tragedy of Seneca's seems espe imagination. The contrast Achilles' Choice: Examples of Modern seem to Tragedy the Prince between Macbeth in the and and Achilles may be blurred appearance in the by Greek hero's underworld Odyssey. Malcolm indicates he is at least aware of what a "mercy" remarkable combination of virtues a true "lowliness" "courage" king must possess. vol. That Shakespeare may indeed have had Agamemnon specifically in mind when writing Macbeth is suggested by the fact that critics have found a number of verbal echoes in the play of John Studley's 1566 English 20.S. In general. (1985): 56-58. p. and a general discussion of this theme in epic literature. that some were named dukes. For discussion of how Macbeth "is unnerved Man. he does understand. ed. H. see feeling.3). On the oddness of this moment.i. see of I. For helpful discussions and Mal colm's role in a the play. ." The most remarkable of these verbal parallels cially to have seized on Shakespeare's can be found in the Act I Chorus of Studley's Agamemnon: "One hurlye burlye done. which would seem to undermine the between pagan thisworldliness Christian otherworldliness. aptly that characterizes Macbeth as "the heroic destroyer heroic age. now which excelled other men in riches possessions. 24. p. But the point of distinction Homer's presents- . 1975). As Turner points out. 21." by what not see Howard B. 2 (1971): 149. The not parallel tyranny" disconcerting to realize that Macbeth's Christian worsen his phenomenon of religious wars. to this Macbeth. I. uted to Shakespeare's fundamental conception in Macbeth. See Bullough. some lords. Lowenthal's belief helps 22. 523. was barons. and Empire 18. Before time the noble men of Scotland were of one condition. Boece discusses the decline of the virtue of the Scots as they came to not and imitate the English. pp. 17. On the importance of Macbeth's "pagan see Wilbur Sanders. see my Shakespeare's Rome: Republic (Ithaca. For an possible implications Golgotha reference. p. see see also Berger. Turner. cf. Shakespeare motives explores the strange ways in V. p. shows that Christianity is may in fact be combined with it. Bradshaw. Johnson. Boetius contrasts a primitive and barbaric but austere and heroic Scotland with a civilized but overrefined and effete of a and sophisticated England." 26. Jackson. especially in ton: history Henry 23. 221. 1807-8). 426. States." Kenyon Review. London: J. In and a late exchange with Macduff.. Turner.ii. T. 144-45. 123-24. it fell would out yer long. 7 N. On the 11. see that Macbeth and Banquo "meant to anti-Christian memorize another a pagan Golgotha" in this ac (I. with most some he be taken most glorious some that went loaden titles. 1968). For the translation of Seneca's Agamemnon. in vaine puffes they fixed all their felicitie. p. see Lowenthal. 219-20." with and See IV.93-94. formulation: "It is (p. and See Vernon Snow. but in prowesse and manhood. The Dramatist and the Received Idea: Studies in the Shakespeare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. David Lenson. insightful analysis of Duncan's Macbeth. pp. 223. Cf. specifically in their handling of aristocratic titles: "Furthermore as men walking in the right path. pp. and Davis. 353-54. 143. White." 15. pp.iii. Holinshed's Chronicles: Eng Ireland (reprinted New York: AMS. Bullough. Scotland p. 1965." 16. p. Princeton University Press. . which religion may supply for warfare throughout his plays. earles. whereof which it came to pass. For a discussion this passage.ii. see W. On the "epic rhetoric" lightness peculiar conscience. "The Horses of of the praise of aspect. and hence Bert O. On the importance 19. For a fuller discussion of this point. 142-45. suggesting something negative about Mal Boetius' Description may have contrib renaming of the Scottish thanes as earls. pp. The of this passage." of and Plays of Marlowe phrasing battle Bradshaw. see on in Boetius colm's sheds a new light the end of Turner. 5. NY: Cornell University Press. not that whereas and he in times past was accompted honorable. and simply antithetical to the warlike spirit and especially the Crusades. pp. 348). for example. "Macbeth and the Tyrannical Interpretation. 1976).39-40) lends a strangely tion. The Hero King: An Epic Theme (New York: Columbia University Press. 1982). As if he were a sixteenth-century Walter Scott. See. another doth begin" (Bullough. in particular a synthesis of of "fortitude. we began to follow also the vaine shadow of the Germane honor titles of nobilitie. p. this passage Macbeth. 219. Macbeth. and boasting of the same after the onlie English maner. desert and of merit.

30. see States. and . anguished imagination. Macbeth's speech in Act HJ. when 'tis done. 1963).i. Macbeth is the only Shakespeare hero who corresponds to a bourgeois type: a murderous Babbitt. one can hear the difference between his Christians just in the syntax. 1967). 194: "Macbeth and his the future into the present by main force. In these lines. Far from in the Odyssey is so close to nonexistence that Achilles says that he Odyssey this a slave on earth than rule in the underworld. to master seen of this pattern wife seek to The best discussion I have "Senecan in Macbeth is to be found in Gordon Braden.38).111-13). would rather the afterlife is precisely its attenuated character. one might guess. also Tragedy and the Renaissance. See also Macbeth's mention of the "crack of doom" at IV.40. not a higher state as in the Christian vision. death" Macbeth immediately / It were twisted up in the convoluted: "If it were quickly" done. Maynard Mack's formulation in Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Tragedies (Lincoln: make Chiefly time.iii.38). let us Originally appearing in Harper's Magazine (June.1-2). psyche as also p. 9 (1984): 287-88. on the Scottish fairways. We are .ii." Illinois Classical Studies. Meaning of 110-11. 130-32.iii. vertiginous. 29. of pp. Bradshaw's formulation: "Shakespeare's Macbeth is warrior with an terrifying warrior but a intensely imagination" (p. that the desire is boundless and the act a and slave to infects the tugg'd with Cressida.i. grasp Whereas Brutus begins gets difference between Macbeth and with the straightforward: Brutus simply in the opening of their "It must be by his (Il. pp. and count myself a interesting parallel to Hamlet's lines: "O king of infinite space were it not that I and have bad or-nothing discussion is dreams" (II. as if he were some kind of Elizabethan Hegel. the Christian hero thinks longingly ahead to the afterlife. 1951). even when in the afterlife. As different aS Hamlet Macbeth are. / That I would set my life on any chance. then 'twere well done Shakespeare's Romans soliloquies and (I.81-83).ii. especially his characterization of "an . For a parallels between Hamlet and Macbeth. offers an God. Macbeth's all-or-nothing attitude apparently Banquo.14. Macbeth sense of 26." 1962). p. intimately difference involved in the inner corresponds with workings and processes of Macbeth's thought classical and feeling. see Harold C.i. 10). a golfer. HI.iv. IU. 229: "A commonplace man who talks in commonplaces. rather than in certitudes or assurances. Bradshaw. the pagan hero be Achilles' thinks in Sylvan Barnet." on the University wrench hereafter now. longingly back to this life. Mary McCarthy. I discuss the distinctive nature of the in Shakespeare's Rome.vii." something stratified. .. One soliloquies. a scene iv. 117. unlike the Christian hero. p." modes of 27. See my Hamlet book. ed. even that the will limit" very different context by Shakespeare's Troilus: "This is the monstruosity in love. p. gustine. But in fact Shakespeare does use the word absolute three the word acquired contained (I. When in this life. 28."A Soldier tion of the underworld in the Afeard" and 317 may be in Homer is a pale shadow of being desirable. vol. is infinite and the execution confin'd. 50-52. Shakespeare and Society: Critical Studies in Shakespearean Drama (New York: Shocken. they share the all- attitude of I have been discussing. in the Roman plays 113-16. though it the sight of the heroic dimension moral of the play. the pagan hero does not take his bearings from the afterlife. Whatever afterlife there life. which [Erich] Auerbach analyses in Au 255: "Shakespeare has sunk himself into the mindfalls of Macbeth's . For the importance Macbeth as of the apoca- apocalyptic mode in Macbeth. 250). the and that Auerbach's distinction between Christian can feeling. pp.iv. .254 56). pp. IV. say. . 1993). See Terence Eagleton. decidedly unclassical and unSenecan. to Nebraska Press. Cf. As case shows. Macbeth's dilemma in a lady. Indeed. The provocative Shakespeare (Chicago: expressed University of^Chicago Press. Cf. Goddard. Cf. "General Macbeth. The use of the term Absolute may sound anachronistic in a discussion of Shakespeare. 252: "The 'Christian'. Macbeth (New York: New American Library. and with something of the force in German Idealism. fortune. one of whom describes himself as: "So weary with disasters. character of appears in its terrors. still 25.14) and "absolute fear" ( 2. loses this wrong-headed article nevertheless verges on interesting insights into Macbeth. / To mend it. much of what I am arguing about Macbeth is it portrays times in Macbeth in the movement between "absolute trust" (I. and corresponds with that die Cf. I could be bounded in nutshell." Cf. or be rid (Troilus murderers of on't" (IJJ.

from die premises of the plot. Cf. it is done. pp. The Gnostic Religion (Boston: Beacon Press. hang'd himself 32. For (Charlottesville: on expectation of (U.iii. Tragic Alphabet: Shakespeare's Drama of Language (New Haven: Yale University Press. it makes. is Future-driven. On Tyranny (New York: Free Press.v.50-53) In both passages. especially. pp. 191. analogue of Sanders. 133. That my keen knife the wound (I. See. for all its problematic recognizes this point in aspects. 1974). 1958).318 lyptic See Interpretation personality: a man obsessed p. Macbeth. 138-39. your Stars. is be in his See Francis Berry. thick night. 209-18. 39. 145. For and suggestive analogues Nihilism. On this subject. The Passions of Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes Virginia.50-53) Lady Macbeth. 1963).iv. see Leo Strauss. "In a one who cannot play which. and Mack. p.ii. by absolutes. Time and Mood in Present. 141). for example. by finality. the essay "Gnosti 31. p. pp. There see White. when yet Which the fears. pp. parallels. See Lawrence Danson. 270 of and 279. the tyrant becomes a slave to the force of desire in his soul. Macbeth. White. Nature lacks eternity. Howard Felperin. Lady Macbeth's line about Banquo and Fleance is suggestive: "But in them nature's copy's not (IJJ. For a discussion of these see 38. This brief essay on "Macbeth: Tense and how Macbeth's distinctive sense of time is reflected in the and the grammar of the play. let that be see. hide Let The not fires. eye wink at the eye hand. Existentialism. And pall thee Come. smoke of in the dunnest see not hell. Shakespearean Representation: Mimesis and Modernity Tragedy (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Roman Polanski's film of Macbeth. in Elizabethan 40. cism. 1977). eterne" Republic. 95. 320-40. 33. a similar analysis. p. 19495. impotence" nightmare of (p. see Arthur University Press of Macbeth" 34. Poet's Grammar: Person. synthesis of classical and biblical morality might produce an ethic very different from either. like the pagan hero. "The Relation of Thought and Action in in Shakespeare's Political Pageant. 1990).38). in Hans Jonas. Kirsch. the characters blindly act without fully a 36.4-5). and to Macbeth's by his bondage to see time" (p. 37. The central parallel is the idea that in seeking to liberate his appetites. The Dramatist tragedy is plenty" Received Idea. For the idea that unconsciously reveal what they will in fact do. Turner's formulation its about Macbeth: "the magical sense of omnipotence is haunted by fellow-contrary 35. 58). ." devaluation. 53. also 154. terms visual Polanski intercuts a scene of a Caesarean section with the original man not bom prophecy of the of woman." Poetry Mood" (London: Routledge provides an and insightful See also analysis of Kegan Paul. are interesting parallels here to Plato's presentation of the tyrannical soul in the especially 571a to 580a. pp. An that this aspect of Macbeth's th' provided by the Porter in his tale "a farmer. light see my black and deep desires. to (I. nature appears defective in Macbeth's eyes when judged by the standard of eternity. especially p. namely act realizing the consequences of their deeds. p. see Timothy Fuller. In this context. 1991).

a much greater Blessing things. Bloom's observation suggests that he had not read novel. they than Deliverance from Robinson Sense will Crusoe2 Some centuries ago Robinson Crusoe aftermath. as if there has can been among some publishers little awareness of the fact. unawares. Flanders Boston College with Robinson Crusoe Rousseau banishes poetry altogether and suppresses all lies. to hint to whoever shall read it. . and thou shalt glorify me. 3 . effort a remarkable notes Green: in the it transferred Defoe's book from marked marked one (very humble) niche literary system."4 And Rousseau made of it he did through "a "had editing. . I took up the Bible the first Words that and "Emile"' and began to read . with Allan Bloom. in the Day I will deliver. interpretation." and exalted niche. testifies to on a verse its Juxtaposed the meditation by Robinson Daniel Defoe's a careless uted from Psalm 50. Allan Bloom.. No. And I add this Part of of Trouble.3 Many of rewrites. but instead to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Literary historian Martin Green argues that most of the world since 1762 "has taken Robinson Crusoe to be what what Rousseau made of it. Call on . At most he gives Emile Robinson Crusoe. Mahoney. occurr'd to me were only having these. changed the text Defoe effect. Above all. Yet many of the more than twelve hundred editions of the novel to appear in English have not been editions at all. Vol. 24. no gods. and Paul Seaton for insightful comments and to the Bradley Foundation whose fellowship made research and writing possible. But how could this be? One may assume that Bloom." ruthless act of His discussion of the "radically. Rousseau's though nonchalantly. to a different "pastime reading for the or "the textbook of our "the one book needful" nonliterary. times. due to Ernest L. 39). Fortin. that whenever they come to a true find Deliverance from Sin Affliction." And other intellectuals followed his lead. opened me the Book casually. . had both entitled Robinson Crusoe and attrib to Defoe. this. not read a work scholar. suffered a shipwreck. who is not an "other" but only himself. drafts. Daniel J. The surprising truth is that the common experience of Robinson Crusoe not mainly be traced to Defoe. bowdlerizations. There have been few intellectual fortune for Thanks on earlier are such dizzying changes of a single book. here. .Rousseau's Adventure Todd R. Title pages can give no hint have been versions. Spring 1997." had written" story (p.

as after inspired story several published accounts. (Pp. purposes. To illustrate this loss. have predicted the widespread could not Robinson Crusoe that Emile was to prompt. 41-42) Soon in after the publication of Emile. Further.320 Interpretation For one result of Rousseau's recommendation of this one book (out of the dozens [Defoe] had written) was that Defoe entered into literary immortality. After Emile. we subtitled "On books" Green may see Rousseau's choice as because he is (and Rousseau's stated are) puzzled by it. does not randomly pluck a volume from a library's travel section. of course. Another book in pinch" a (p. let us review in outline what is commonly as sumed about Robinson." Green's conjecture. that such knowledge has largely been effaced. 41). He thus refashioning have predicted of the novel in Emile would eventually have on popular Defoe's book. the effect his use knowledge of survives Friday. and then two paragraphs later names a book. namely. Rousseau-inspired grew own revisionism commenced several languages. can If. declares. Alexander Selkirk's celebrated survival on an island (1704-9) had. might its aptness. a single book. also can "shipwreck" a Crusoe be credited to Rousseau. and of Crusoe Defoe's in a popularity that continues unabated. If Defoe's novel had to undergo subsequent transformation to be suitable for purposes to which Rousseau endeavors to particular book? Green suggests employ it. much like the adventure story offered the young Emile. writes and only is by his finally wits. Neither is it simply to consider in its integrity or his intention with it. then. Defoe's book see ranges so possibly accidental far afield from characterization that make sense of our puzzlement. all. on which his protagonist's pubescent education will hinge. And all of it is wrong. to trace the remarkable hero from childhood." our common store of Philip Zaleski of Wesleyan University. why did he choose that that Rousseau's choice of Crusoe "may even might replace that one be in part accidental. I seek here to If Defoe's Robinson Crusoe ill suits Rousseau's Rousseau have had unstated purposes in to it? it is difficult to adverting . the voyager-surviving-shipwreck amounted at the time to something of a Swift's best-known in a work satire well attests. Rousseau of could not. A philosopher who. however. "I hate (Emile. out to belong to "Such is Robinsoniana. so he be credited with one of the most spectacular salvage jobs in literary history. The interest Defoe's of the present of a Rousseauan lineage masterwork essay is not. discovers a footprint that turns rescued. genre. literary critics talked about Robinson Crusoe. p. 184). although some con siderations along these lines will be necessary.5 It is the stuff of a child's adven ture story. some thirty years after his literal death. The main interest is rather to inquire into Rousseau 's intention in utilizing Robinson Crusoe in the first place. Yet I cannot agree with Education. He is shipwrecked without resources on a desert isle.

RIGMAROLE "Jean-Jacques." with Robinson Crusoe 321 Emile's pedagogue. his deed of suppression and if any Rousseauan truths are to be its scope. and beginning with Robinson's to his island will take him from it. . novel. and had a Prospect Industry. . the brink of great success. fortune. for man. lured by still another voyage. and all desirable to Pleasures. "This served." (nearly one third of the whole) and nothing of a fair amount in between. ending with the arrival of the ship be Emile's entertainment and instruction. the Robinson of Defoe's Rousseauan perspective could be regarded as a web of will lies. in Robinson's state. through even a casual Defoe's text. Although Rous seau does not explain what constitutes the expungeable of this readily becomes discernible undertake a casual moment us then reading for this purpose. novel. "suppresses himself." Ap an industry. pleasure. "My be Father ." lies. Robinson's father is economic man of the Lockean vein. with a Life of Ease and satisfied with of Pleasure" raising my Fortune by (p. 5). whose life from a be seen." This is gives Emile is in truth As what Bloom said of least partly true. Neither here nor anywhere else view. 184) Emile will know nothing of the beginning or the end of the story "rigmarole. in the novel father's bless Rather. Application pleads with and introduced. gives his charge Robinson Crusoe be a while cause through it the boy will come to see himself. having him would not self shunned paternal advice. "all agreeable Diversions. me. Let The earliest word about Robinson is . derlust. asked me what his seafaring proclivity made him a Reasons more than a meer wanand dring where Inclination I had for I might well leaving my Father's House my native Country. diversion. he is but to amass When misadventures on Robinson turns to planting. him: Robinson is gives an but only [Emile] But the hero Rousseau Emile is practically made out of whole cloth. both a state "not that will of a social On the basis of this experi ence of solitariness Emile be raised above prejudice and placed beyond societal expectation and the moral dimension all of human interdependence." anyway.Rousseau's Adventure I. His father Life. Robinson is convinced does Robinson (who narrates) disparage his by misfortunes that. and wishes his son be the same. which comes (P. prescinding for the reading specifically from theoretical difficulties." Robinson to be with "the middle Station of Such a life is blessed plication. must himself be at suppressed Rousseau hints writes." he disencumbered shipwreck near of all its rigmarole [tout cefratras]. at Rousseau." his father's prophecy is fulfilled: "God life not Robinson eschews also the middle station of wealth. Allan Bloom The hero Rousseau "not 'other' said. ease. Soon finding himself only to indulge a wan land him in Brazil. that prodigal son.

33). man's precisely. 71). contempt. stranding our hero on the author of plain famed isle. presumably to live the life of ease and pleasure recom mended by his father. he would have his chattels without needing to This was the mission that aborted by shipwreck. or. The adventures are. In Robinson's view. a This is not disap Robinson's island. is he that "natural with simple Rous needs.. Robinson be that of the "meer can and Brute" primarily life according to "Principles of to (p. seau. more whom he regards ing curiosity. human being is likely to to be a cannibal." . He readily distinguishes himself from Afri Nature" American native peoples. it turns out. Why would a well-to-do leave his personally to risk such a voyage? As supercargo. situation. neither If Robinson Crusoe man" the prodigal son of as the Luke. That the tionable wonder Emile should find such early elements of the novel objec with is to any having the philosopher who passing familiarity bemoans man's lot "in even a with Rousseau. is he a modem Odysseus. admitted. I could not be away from my Parents. is who wish destination for savages from the Fri gratify a passion for "inhumane not just happen onto the island but is brought slated captive. He does end up considerably richer than his father would have found prudent of and Robinson is surely the better Lockean for that.322 Interpretation once As I had content now. and concerned considers "natural" On the contrary. island narrative plainly shows.. in the breaking leave but I must go and the of . undivided. any expectation precivil pointed. This prodigal returns to his native country with his economic view of life intact albeit enhanced by the memory of diverting adventures and. evoking as it does the phor parable mere but literary from Luke's Gospel. for devouring. both Friday's liberator and new captor. and promptly undertakes to wean him of the nearby mainland day himself does Feastings. soon leams that his man too is a cannibal. no family reunion. (No the reader chains" prefers of Robinson Crusoe to begin the shipwreck and not the voyage!) And. Defoe hints. have my equal Share of the Negroes without providing any Part of the (p. diversions. or has is gained no substantive or insights into fulfillment from his travels not from his encounters with exotic peoples. "I Stock" pay.. only to pursue a rash and (P. so there is no reconciliation. than Nature of the faster the 32) Thing rising done . The image the prodigal son with which the novel begins. His father is dead. of Nor. Robinson settles reaps an enormous fortune in the sale of his Brazilian estate and then back in England. Robinson is not contrite upon his nor meta return to England. the novel's conclusion is little better. when subjected to Rousseauan scrutiny. Robinson. In other words. the prospect of more to come.. so of being a rich and View I had happy immoderate Desire thriving Man in my new Plantation. often. horror and variously with condescend fear. What was the purpose of this irresistible voyage that promised to expedite Rob inson's rise? planter should Acquiring estate slaves on the shores of Africa. whole. Robinson nature. is in the end neither allegory allusion.

and executive. he seeks to imitate his nation's An early project is to fashion a table and chair Robinson designates himself king. does not crown himself king. Yet for all his fondness for his homeland his situation on a and appropriation of an in desert isle attests to not its customs. the Pilgrims to America. gave God Thanks that had cast my first Lot in a Part of the World." Robinson stood still a while amaz'd. He declares the island his "Castie. Feet. He comes and goes as he pleases and if he pleases. He is but his gratitude to others invariably dividends. I looked up with the utmost Affection [he] such my soul. takes prisoners. he is legislator.Rousseau 's Adventure with Robinson Crusoe 323 apparentiy natural lust for human flesh. When men come ashore "Governour.6 Wherever possible." His cave- dwelling from the he dubs vessel a which He is "Master" to Friday. the man Rousseau disparagingly called the That Robinson is a bourgeois is evident in the He picture that emerges on the as seeks control over things and men. man as his Englishness (or. "realm. and then recovering my self. he becomes their On his island. . While England lives in him. He a new type of man. . with housecats. the very fact of ambiguity in Robinson's relationship a subject no with England: a citizen does forsake his city. There is There is son's no controlling bond of family. but he is unobliged. . judge. Robinson in gland. either views other human beings or to instrumental. Hands. where I was distinguish'd from of dreadful Creatures as these. Never in the story is there consideration of duty way lives for En to country.) Natural man in Robinson Crusoe is of a red in tooth and claw. Robinson benefits from a common national store of experiences and mores. or fatherland. This is a novelty. more broadly. Robinson's Englishness is accented throughout the island narrative. who is wholly different from that of. 129-30) Robinson tial." he eventually leaves.7 Englishness that can altogether do without England. when on to his business not ungrateful. a properly. And consider Marx's reflections on Robin common earthly economics: island . or service Wherever he finds himself. wages battle." social and so that he a may dine parrot. no success when off the island his escape pays it. (Pp. and with a Flood of Tears in my Eyes. Reeling and other from his first of discovery "Shore spread with Skulls. holds hostages. (The present-day reader finds a comic aspect in Robinson's effort to persuade Friday that alternative victuals provide tolerable substitutes. at times he deliberates over justice. one char acterizing bourgeois. friendship. good. Bones humane Bodies. His attitude toward country say. and subjects including rude dog. grants amnesty. his Europeanness) as essen that alone which separates him from the depravity to which uncivilized sees prone. political customs. journeyed two generations His is an earlier. is It would be inaccurate to describe the heart of this novel as concerning Man on a desert isle. island. Rather it concerns a late seventeenth-century Englishman on a desert isle.

he is and on seized for my Preservation and Supply. not exactly the self-preserving impulse of Lock And Robinson's religion is not the tame. . 72). . I never had so much as one Thought being the Hand of against for my Sin. we take no ac reflection on Protestant count . and products finally he possesses. applied "to the Works (p. and having saved a watch. repentance. of the various operations necessary for of the labour-time that specific quantities of these him. All the relations have on average cost between Robinson and . for having long . these objects that form his self-created wealth are simple and transparent [.. 169). . he knows that they hence only different of of one and the same different forms Robinson. or was so much as a Punishment for the of a Course . perceive the reality of retribution. ledger. 72) Christian Robinson does conversion that same stop at feverish first year. by "the Horror of dying in such mind turns himself only Amidst the struggle Condition a miserable his heavenward. ink and pen from the shipwreck..324 Interpretation are diversity of [Robinson's] productive functions. This is ean contractarianism. In the Morning read Bible. Robinson is moved to reflect on of suffering his life a life-endangering and bout ague. my were . He so rebukes himself for having long with . . . All the more astonishing. my wicked Life. His stock-book contains a catalogue of the useful objects their production. rebellious Behaviour God. I took the musings. all the Variety of of Miseries that had to this it day befallen or that or me. He will come his self-preserving activities to the will of God as he understands it. illness. to keep a set of books. civil religion of Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity. and to read Providential script. I meerly thoughtless not God. since our friend takes pleasure in them recreation" and sees them as (p. and upon beginning my at the New Testament. picture of Yet the Robinson-as-mere-bourgeois becomes blurred. or a Providence. I every began seriously to it. and redemp tion. general it was a just Punishment Sins which my present of great. . His fear of miserable death will become an impetus for a wholesale religious to subordinate reinterpretation of life.. when During "the his first year of solitude. Despite the . he soon begins. . Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Defoe's island nipresence of narrative is the om Providence. my Father. by experience. activity only Our friend Robinson Crusoe learns modes of human labor. He undergoes a powerful July 4." of lot. sin. . and] contain all the essential determinants of value. ignored the hand proper Providence. Pleasure? Recreation? Consider: Robinson begins to [T]hro' during divine his affliction with the ague. (P. is a comment of Marx that betrays a Rousseauan pedigree: "Of [Robinson's] prayers and the like. in this light..8 Robinson and after on the island is the homo economicus that he was before he landed he departs. . He begins to in his life a recognize a radical dependency God. like a good Englishman. and impos'd self to read a while Morning .

" and I frequently me. we had here the Word of God to read. and . thou Son of David. the have but In this their differences fall by the wayside. "a secret Joy run through every Part of my Friday Soul." necessarily be "disencum of a vast amount of II. I cry'd out aloud. of course. not by consanguinity. by something that unum necessarium. Remainder of my Time. Afflictions that could which I so often thought the most dreadful of all possibly have befallen made To have saved a soul seemed to him at that time to have it all worthwhile. than if we had been in England. In this thankful Frame I -was now a good continued all the a much Christian. . to know whom is life When Robinson would reflect on this. is virtually Augustinian. to give Words. not by any but fatherland. "natural" other ties. though I have reason to hope. I came to Saviour. not both transcends and attenuates by love of a condi last. set with seriously to this Work. for that matter. seriously in my Thought: I was earnestly when it happen'd providentially the very these begging of God to give me Repentance. had eternal. but I found the Wickedness of my past Life: ran . upon returning to England. and comforted restor'd Penitents. . Jesus. Toward the end of his lortg and the foregoing is hardly an isolated ex years on the island. Robinson Friday one book as a constant compan ion. Their book. diffi from the text. So in order for Emile to avoid that book the Robinson and to avoid so much more Crusoe that is to be his bered" constant companion must "rigmarole. The prose thou exalted Prince and Saviour. that we were equally penitent. Robinson rejoices that is brought to "know Christ Jesus. and no farther off from his Spirit to instruct.Rousseau 's Adventure : It was not every Night long after I Heart more my deeply and sincerely affected with Robinson Crusoe 325 and ." rejoyc'd that ever I was brought to this Place. Give me Repentance! (P. He is exalted a Prince and a Repentance. the young Emile is not to encounter at all. and Like Emile. . for having reader ignored his father an act which he had termed his "Original Sin"? The is at a loss. Jesus. All these Things have not brought thee to Repentance. Day that reading the Scripture. (P. 172) The savage and the Englishman are united at tion. and to give Remission: I threw down the Book. 77) ample. DEFOE AND CRUSOE: SOME CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS When a culties emerge reading of Robinson Crusoe turns from casual to inquiring. and the Words. bless God for it. to repented when given repentance. The Savage better than I. and with my Heart as well as my Hands lifted up to Heaven. identify exactly of what sins Robinson Certainly he had no qualms about having em- . . in a Kind of Extasy of Joy. . How is it possible to square Robinson's religious reinterpretation of life with his lack of contrition.

n. reading elicits enough real interdependence in the volumes to justify saying it would be as arbitrarily foolish to ignore the lesser known portions of the work as it would be to interpret the island narrative sympathetic [I]n the case of Crusoe. . "I take all these works by Defoe. as has Ethic. i. be resolved by chalking it up to a nascent Protestant An appraisal in light of the "Weber proves unsatisfactory. so everything is said to be first in the intention. and The Farther Adventures of Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe. mechanically in light of those portions. into a life of otherwise blatantly worldly strivings. self. as such. and the of Serious Reflections as a disjointed assortment Defoe essays packaged for marketing purposes under the name of his famous protagonist.. the presumption as rebuttable to be sure is that he wants us to read them connected. . "Considering Crusoe. How. The tension. as parts of a whole which. (Pp. my and last in the is not I come now to acknowledge to reader that the present work . His method involves comparison of Robin Crusoe with two lesser known Robinson Crusoe. In a tour de force of close reading and the best overall analysis available. typified by a tone nation. despite cal attempts to see such resolution. 6) Schrock's interdependence hypothesis stands in contrast to a tradition that has generally taken the Farther Adventures as an afterthought (begun and com pleted within months of the first volume's appearance) designed to cash in on the original's popularity. . narrator. guides to the interpretation of each other than are any extraneous documents. are likely to be more reliable .e. all said to come from the mind and experience of the same protagonist. further. although this would seem to have been the proximate cause of his island distress and thus might easily have been barked interpreted powerful as an invitation to divine conversion retribution. of by Crusoe him As the design execution. when an author presents a work of ostensibly connected parts. 78-79." He even makes a solid argument of esoteric writer. can Robinson's that Christian be squared with the bourgeois self-interest continues most to characterize him throughout the novel? The above are but a sampling of difficulties that have These provided grist for the mills of over coexist two criticism. Robinson never son's conversion and the thesis" successfully integrates his religious musings.10 been argued. for example." neglected writings he notes. seriously.9 centuries of and other elements of the novel criti in considerable tension that is never resolved in its pages. Schrock reveals a depth to Defoe's work belying Green's view that Crusoe could initially have been deemed "pastime to the effect that reading for the Defoe was a sort son nonliterary. who Schrock's hypothesis would seem to be supported says in the preface to the Serious Reflections. Did Defoe intend to leave unresolved of ascetic resig tensions? What kind of a writer was he? A study by Thomas S. Schrock.326 Interpretation on a slave-trading expedition. because I believe that."" suggests that De foe did intend to leave tensions in the novel. between Robin ongoing bourgeois character of his soul cannot.

(2) cannot itself Machiavelli. Schrock's is strong. It could of course be that De foe's Robinson intended a moral to be drawn from the narrative volumes that no discovered the latter collection of essays refines and elaborates. contrast. Less compelling would be an argument which. but the two first volumes may rather be called the product of this. He civil society. or at any rate God or Providence. making explicitly Robinson's statement in the Serious Reflections that "the two first volumes may be called the product of should be viewed cautiously as what it was. Let investigate key components of the argument. "that religion is his principle" vital (p. He flirted with Grotianism. Yet Schrock appears to be unique of "first wave" Crusoe scholars in his contention that Defoe. fear a man la is compelled by a of violent necessity which death especially is the human being's fundamental animating principle. I concur. . The fable is always made for the moral.'2 The moral that Schrock draws from the three volumes is.. clearly. indeed the great theme of present day Crusoe among studies. plausible. that Defoe had some modem political philosophy that is at least in does convince. was and also elements of the to culminate in the thought of serious modernity that Locke. Schrock Maximillian E. Schrock that Defoe intended such esoteric moralism in toto. not the moral for the fable. relied on For own his . roughly. edges to be the "prevailing view. along with critic interest in and knowledge of early part displayed in Robinson. (3) a la Hobbes. if not one of the first rank. statement made after the fact and on the heels of earlier popular success.. fourfold: (1) there grace at is no God. . a kind of political thinker. By 1701 ." Defoe was. I have corroborating evidence that Defoe penned Robinson Crusoe as the opening installment of a three-volume opus. That the whole of the hands of men this moral can be extrapolated through painstaking com the three texts parison. even a moral largely corre sponding to Schrock's portrayal of it.Rousseau 's Adventure with Robinson Crusoe 327 merely the product of the two first volumes. could natu The uniqueness of what I shall call Schrock's irreligion thesis rally be as much a sign of accuracy as of idiosyncracy. Novak. the fear of only necessary and sufficient salvation God is as nothing next to the fear of man. and (4) a la Locke. and. case and analysis of is. material comfort is the sine qua non of anything that could be deemed happiness or blessedness. as Michael Zuckert has observed. as evidenced in an early pamphlet. He stands against what he acknowl discounts Robinson. Defoe had embraced Lockean principles. The crux of the thesis us then briefly he summarizes as follows: All [Robinson's] talk about the blessings of religious deliverance has to be read in all the light of his virtually the ceaseless endeavor to deliver himself back into what he along regarded as him. "sooner or later he started to make Lockean arguments instead. It is or in addition." to wit. granted. a avoids this" . 76). overcome."14 quite possible (as has often been done) to extricate Lockean principles from the Crusoe trilogy.

Is there not contradiction here? Moreover Robinson has a tendency. Schrock. but not on the relationship of son to the threat of hell troubles vision (see Robin Crusoe. After his conversion. of religious to enlist Robinson against himself on the subject and even polemical sentiment. But his last word on sickbed conversions is that a man is not 'fit for on me ." . Schrock "the principal defect in Crusoe's conversion. yet he labors and plots endlessly to return to civilization and to appropriate compan who represent ions in the meantime that larger goal in microcosm and are instrumental to attaining it. Crusoe may have experienced some religious feelings during his ill ness. 77) rogues and sav Robinson speculates routinely on the threat of repentance falling prey to ages. not on prayer or Providence to free himself from the primary (P. 91).. alternatively. The startling revelation of a veiled disavowal of faith by Robinson hinges on Schrock's June 28 placement of the conversion. "To be sure. that of Locke in The Reasonableness of Christianity. what I have called the virtually Augustinian attempts Robinson's religious musings. principles that betray a confused sincerity. in tention in the "Crusoe's conversion occurred flu. which is the state of nature and not the state of sin. Textual "reasonable" examples quoted in section one of the present essay character of illustrate. he is views it as a warning son sign of all-too-human That this calls more real to Robin any vision of God. Is not this word? to use Schrock's of But showing that elements ingenuousness is not identical genuous. he suggests. and I will deliver.'5 vision him. Schrock understands Robinson to be spurious" sub tly telling the reader that "at best his religious feelings were all along. Robinson's religion is not. knowing the comfort of salvation. 97-104). intimated at points in the narrative and more pronounced in the Reflections." altogether Providence to necessity or toward the sus (Schrock. revealing. 79). a satiric narrative's religious contents. He interprets as evidence of conversion a part of the June 28 journal entry in which an ailing Robinson ponders words of the psalmist: Call ing a bout of a seventeenth Day of Trouble. and thou shalt glorify me." One can detect philosophical and theological problems in Defoe's presenta on tion of Robinson's religion that smack of Locke's veiled disingenuousness says that the subject of Christianity. it bears repeating. 77). Robinson he would be satisfied to pass his life in solitude. pp. And this placement is oddly chosen. Defoe's presentation smack of a Lockean dis with showing that the presentation is itself disin Defoe's presentation may. When a demonic perils. than p. Defoe expends no effort on making it appear in any modem philosophic sense.328 Interpretation and prudence fear evil." dur observes century version of the Hong Kong Schrock (p.. pension of evidence of toward subordination of Providence "atheism. 87-92. in the Repentance on a Sick Bed'" (p. Robinson had on that occasion "opened the Book" and only "casually. however. bom cal of an embrace of Lockean falls somewhat short of theoreti understanding or consistency. rather.

no hint date that his rience A that night was itself decisive. And the conversion aloud" cry'd out for ecstatic movement-in- and repentance are all reliable signifiers of metanoia. that I was as one who Heaven thought the rest of seem'd not worthy to be number' d among the Living. though." Yet it was on date that Robinson. to Day we seek what to Morrow we shun. at least that Brain. "Have I Sickness?" been deliver' d. "in a Kind of Extasy of Joy Jesus to give him repentance. But in order to make so this statement. and he convey that on There is no intimation "upon them very Robinson is the twenty-eighth he did not fully have his wits of a proper conversion often.Work of Providence is the Life about as of Man! and by what present! differing differing To Day we love what to Morrow we hate. that former Confidence in God as of which was founded . could among have and the greatest Blessing that Heaven it self. much of now vanished (Robinson Crusoe. that to have to me a Raising me from Death to Life. not In a state of awe the and day before Robinson had written. I should now to the supreme Blessing of Salvation. / say. . conversion to did not take place on a sickbed. Robinson's what could gathered from a more evaluation of reflections after that discovery. my own or to appear would his Creatures. nay even tremble at the Apprehensions of. for I whose only Affliction was. the conversion much better placement of is July 4. expe experience. Schrock shock: makes much of a particular reflection following all Robinson's initial I had "Thus my Fear banish' d all my religious Hope. This is not. his p. that I was alone. . from aloud. next seen one of Species. circumscrib'd by the boundless Ocean. very Apprehensions of seeing a Man. God." Time. p. make 122). Schrock must nothing at all of a lengthy passage on the very next page. religious feelings (Schrock." This had "at first almost stupify'd my which Robinson concludes the evening by downing tobacco-steeped mm. Although the biblical "Words was to think made a great at pains to about him. this was exemplify'd in me at this Time in the most lively Springs are the Affections hurry'd Circumstances Manner imaginable. and was ready to but the Shadow or silent Appearance of a Man's having set . 75). too. How secret strange a Chequer. . understands Robinson elsewhere informing be the reader that altogether discovering inclusive the footprint in the sand. the-Spirit. . "flew up in my Impression" Head on violently" (p. that I seem'd banished from human Society." him." 329 but "the first Words with that occurr'd to He avers that "my Head was too much disturb 'd same tobacco the Tobacco to bear reading. cut off from Mankind. 77). and condemn d to what I call'd silent Life. upon such wonderful Experience his Goodness. bestow. for my Schrock after "vanished" "Immediately" he had knelt down to be and given wonderfully "God Thanks Recovery from my Sickness" (pp. that tremble at the sink into the Ground at his Foot in the Island. 76-77). a about which Schrock this says only that "Crusoe began serious study of the Bible. Devoted biblical inquiry. to Day we desire what to Morrow we fear.Rousseau's Adventure the psalmist's were with Robinson Crusoe me.


Such is the

great many uneven State of human Life: And it afforded me a Speculations afterwards, when I had a little recover'd my first Surprize; I considered that this was the Station of Life the infinitely wise and good Providence



God had determin'd for me,

that as


could not






Divine I


be in





was not to

dispute his Sovereignty, who,
govern and


his Creature, had

an undoubted



Creation to


of me

absolutely as he thought fit; and who, as I was a Creature who had offended him, had likewise a judicial Right to condemn me to what Punishment he thought fit; and that it was my Part to submit to bear his Indignation, because I had sinn'd

reflected that

I then


who was not

had thought fit thus to he did
not think and

punish and afflict

only Righteous but Omnipotent, as he me, so he was able to deliver me; that if
also to

absolutely hope in him, pray to him, daily Providence. These Thoughts took Months.
. .

fit to do it, 'twas my unquestion'd Duty to resign my self entirely to his Will; and on the other Hand, it was my Duty

quietly to attend to the Dictates and Directions of



up many Hours, Days; nay, I may say, Weeks

This from There

a man


whom all religious with

are other

difficulties in

supposedly had vanished? Schrock's irreligion thesis, but our consid


thus far





the very



Schrock is Robinson



the error of seeing in the


a uniform manifestation of some religious

orthodoxy, or a

new stead

fastness in trusting God. The passage reproduced above, with its tone of pious resignation, is not Robinson's last word in religious sentiment any more than

the prior passage highlighted


Schrock. And indeed Robinson's dread
soon returns.


the threat represented







there is no



religious sentiment or on religion


and an effort


elicit one

cannot succeed.

As observed, Schrock views the great realism of Robinson's fear of man, in contrast with any fear of God, to be the principal defect in the conversion to Christianity. It may in truth be Calvinism an orthodoxy with
proves of a grave

defect from the
some critics

vantage of orthodox


have wrongly, Schrock

beyond doubt, associated Robinson. But why should a Calvinist standard orthodoxy be similarly applied by Schrock in dissociating Robinson from
That Robinson's
creator was a


Dissenter is

a matter of

record, but this


not of

itself be



and might even militate

against, positing


as a standard




religious views or those of



acters should affiliation and



tells the reader Robinson's Protestant


almost silent about


Schrock takes this

as still

more evidence of




likely, I think, is

it indicates

the same



do the variety



expressions and

reflections, namely,

an eclecticism

or, to

it differently,

Rousseau's Adventure


Robinson Crusoe






(a perennially



may not be Defoe's, whatever Defoe's but Robinson's religion would not have

been lence


in the


terrain of English Chris

tianity during

the late seventeenth and





Robinson's denominational
a religious





served to turn

Robinson into

Everyman for

a popular audience.

It is, further, the

very recognizability



views that

has fostered the prevailing

that religion

is his

vital principle.

Robinson's ongoing desire to be delivered from the "state of conflicting statements about Providence, his lack of contrition for
awareness of certain



even and


and other

tensions between thought



action, all present serious theoretical problems that could be interpreted



theorist as marks of atheism. But to credit Defoe's Crusoe with atheism

is to

him too

much credit.

It is to


in him

a theological and philosophical


that simply does not exist, and,


extension, to

to Defoe a





warranted neither





early his

modem political



"The fable is

always made

for the




in Serious Reflec


are now



three prongs of Schrock's

fourfold moral, its Machi

avellian element

(if tempered),

its Hobbesian





Schrock is

correct moral


part of the


in sensing that consistency would is not that there is no God.






to a

question with which we

Robinson Crusoe

and not some

began: why other book? The


Rousseau have Rous

suggestion that

seau selected



Crusoe accidentally is not, I have argued, supportable. Nor would suggestion that he read the book only cursorily: his acknowledgement of
that must


be dispensed

with shows care reference



what consti

tutes the rigmarole. And he makes

to minute





He bothers


to note that Emile will






adoption and


recharacterization of a popular of


writer of

who pronounces

his hatred




by a deep


and a studied

intention. It is surely


that Rousseau never


Defoe, thereby effectively displacing him
that an

as author.

Yet if objectivity

first be







some readers of





to encounter the real writer of Robin

Crusoe. Indeed


we may assume that, in calling the attention of his audi book alone, Defoe's novel, it was Rousseau's expectation that

some should encounter

Only by

reading Defoe

could the reader of


aware of

Emile become Defoe





Only by

to those


attentive student

discover that, in





his silence, Rousseau

to be engaging an




the Socrates

Plato's Republic (329b), Rousseau forbids his

to say

things and orders

him to tell tales


their opposites. In

this sense, what Bloom wrote of Rousseau


he banishes poetry

as the




approach of

first installment in any



of unified

taking Robinson Crusoe intention, only in light of the

whole of which can


be adequately

Rousseau too
religion, and




the tensions among philosophy,




in the first
Indeed the


that prompted Schrock to seek their resolution else


the elements that cause the tensions.


recommendation of


the one volume

may indicate

an appraisal with

that certain tensions in Defoe's Robinson are fundamentally
or without

on the

the latter volumes,

and also perhaps a

final judgment


and coherence of

Robinson's thought.

If, though, Rousseau is engaging
engagement must

enemy in his

use of

Defoe's work,




other than shoddiness or

incoherence. If he




poet, it must be for

Rousseau's Emile
man and

presents the education of the


renaturalized political

is thus

a crucial element

in the

articulation of a new political philoso


popular novel presented a character




on teachings of

Rousseau's political philosophy ex plicitly engages. Defoe's novel and its hero could, then, be seen to be ripe for a dialectical encounter with Rousseau's novel and its hero. Robinson provides the
earlier modern political philosophers whom

quintessential portrait of a problem

Rousseau identified in his

predecessors. what

About Defoe does say



creation and


have said, derivatively,





spoke about savage man and

they de

scribed civil


in the

state of nature
all of which





avarice, oppression,



Rousseau deems imports dangerous



society; Robinson

his island

manifests all these


and the



importation from the

place to which

he longs to

an irony in Robinson's impulse to return to civil society. When in England, Brazil, wherever he is bored to distraction. He needs civil society but has no vision of what happiness in its bosom would be. In its bosom, he invariably wants to leave. His life is finally what Leo Strauss, in an

There is


analysis of

Locke, memorably

phrased a





But Robinson's

for diversion is

rendered a

bit less Lockean

and per


a touch more









characteristics that threaten the potential

for happiness Robinson
nor to

ther attributes to nature, as had Hobbes and




to overcome pre sented special challenges to geois a philosopher who sought the bour made in the names of nature and the city. This confused modem hybrid. And Robinson was immediately to a popular readership in eighteenth-century England. he would not shudder with recogni tion at Nietzsche's within portrait of the "last man.Rousseau's Adventure bom any of with Robinson Crusoe dangers 333 in society. a confused modem hybrid. cunning.24 being's intrinsic religiosity. the sin of fallen judge man is not amenable to merely human correction. Defoe's Robinson is a recognizably island. direction. was one of only more interesting. what might be bourgeois charming He en an essentially self-interested contractarian his hero's complexity of character: Robinson of apolitical otherworldliness by an all the while evidences vestiges of chau vinism. it is impossible to any correction. Yet in need of liberation. He study in their failure to understand the socialized human of other. Defoe gave his an agreeable hero blessed with a highly diverting life. toppled real thrones and real altars. "civil" adventure- someness. he Still. the hybrid fully . no longer experienced the need. anyone a new and called the adventures. or to deal effectively with the delicate interplay this dimension of soul on the one hand and societal convention on the For the man general reader of on an stranded Emile. Defoe's novel ac The general reader charmed by cording to have been unlikely to have experienced a tension between being citizen or subject and being what would come to be called bourgeois. This hybrid could not easily be to see himself as debased or contemptible. to clarity of its deformations are amenable For the early or in attentive student of Emile. as did Rousseau. When Robinson he attributes recognizes sin. With a little luck and a little gumption. Having within. at all of these characteristics them rather to Unlike deformations wrought by dumb nature or societal convention. and satisfaction. as Robinson is. in attitude and aspiration. and piety are attractive audience where immediately attractive. I say blessed says cursed Robinson since) readers would not would because early readers of the novel (and most typically have left with the impression that Robinson have wished was cursed. and them have eagerly awaited reports of Robinson's "farther They have seen in Defoe's hero one who.26 felt no tension between any peculiarly of these and his religion. and also impossible melange. and so he had rebuilt similes of them had not genuinely overcome them. Defoe's Robinson betrays human passions the failure modem political what philosophy to apprehend in their origin is required further offers a case for their containment. Defoe could be said to have epitomized breed nobles with of (to Rousseau) dangerous poet. And he would have would Rousseau." He did not perceive the divisions fac his soul.25 unseemly creature. He would have been. so typical of actual bourgeois societies. whose economic ingenuity. And if one considers sin in light with of a Robinsonian whether confusion about Providence. man was not as a close study of Robinson suggests." among them could be Robinson Crusoe. would would They they could trade their lives for his.

Schrock is right to question Robin son's sincerity. Robinson is charmed reader of to become like Emile. made Rather. Robinson's bourgeois soul. Religion necessarily be part of his education eventually. and so had been unable to prescribe for his Centrally. supplying him with the nature denied him by Defoe and misunderstood by Defoe's philosophic teachers. Defoe's most famous work reveals the extent of such a task son among modem men. Rousseau's young Emile is not at all. though. and his dauntlessness in the the scale of face of them. something of the requirements and Rousseau's engagement of Robin of Crusoe shows his awareness of these also reveals realities. . His island is State of Nature. in contrast to Robin which son's. sincerity was to become a sufficient But Emile's sincerity. He was educable. That is augmented Robinson's by the heart of the problem. measure a consequent of "Man" inten is not whole. is to be of a piece with the rest of him. of the citizen. Rousseau saw that earlier contract theorists had not perceived man in wholeness. Robinson is neither Schrock showed that soul it makes no theoretical sense simply for Defoe to have overlaying it with a veneer of religiosity. CONCLUSION Schrock's insightful analysis has been crucial in leading his us to discover the of heart of a problem that Rousseau addressed through use Robinson Crusoe. Rousseau recast Robinson Crusoe to the experience of that novel way that ables enables him to inhabit Rousseau's Emile's education. is educated to integrated whole.334 Interpretation self-satisfied either. haphazard grasping for be an Emile. in large tional philosophic enterprises. In Robinson. and Emile's religion too be sincere. but he is constitutionally blinded to the possibilities of original freedom. It thereby something his ambitions. Because his soul is so augmented. they did se with sulted not understand the role of religion proper political in integrating the human being per its incarnation. his wholeness. in fact its presentation through the Savoyard Vicar's profession would spark a revolution of faith in criterion of religious authenticity. made to become like Robinson. unfelt needs. as a whole To remake the human being is a task of Rousseau's political thought. Their theoretical failure re completion that we practically in the kind witness in Robinson. But Robinson's religion turns out to be strangely sincere. we witness one such man a in a situation rife with human possibility. through Rousseau's invites the in a legerdemain. nor citizen. in the end. Rousseau redraws Robinson. Only thus may gain some Only inkling thus may he dis of a way to their satisfaction. novel instead in a way man that en him to his share Only be he thus may the hybrid discover in himself the cover confusion that must overcome. will will on the other hand.

2. and we are reminded that they go on Robinson's "religious reflections . Ellis.. ed. p. 60-92. 177-207. Interpretation 1 (1970): 76-106. concerning the absence of Defoe's religious themes from many editions of Crusoe. centuries of 9. op." his vision that dubious piety in the Crusoe corpus. Karl Marx. ed. Zuckert. Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe. 1979). . Schrock states that existence of chance ment that by Providence.. There have been Crusoe. pp. .. 12. 1977). University of California Press. the Soviet Writers Circle put Defoe. May 1995. pp. cit. NJ: Princeton interpretation" University Press. 40. op. Chelsea House. trans. Robinson Bible taken reports of me. edition." several more since then. trans. Robinson Crusoe (New York: 1962). Novak is. p. p. One other such difficulty has to do in a universe governed with chance. All Robinson Crusoe citations are from this authoritative 3. (Green. "the one prominent truant from the (p. 10. p.198 editions in English of alone. That year. 6. cit. cit. 77. 1995).. Novak. Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books. 39. 13. even when Crusoe. 1975). 1963). Op. 75. reminiscent of a passage saw . in the Hebrew by Christians to be the key instance heaven of messianic prophecy: "I one like a son of man [who] came with clouds of (Daniel 7:13). 38. 169-232. Crusoe.. Novak. Michael P. 1990). and most recently in Harold Bloom. "Emile" W. p. The Marxist fascination Ben Fowkes (New York: Vintage Books. Schrock. Capital. 169Robinson Crusoe gained peculiar expression in the Soviet Union sonesque 1933. Robinson Crusoe. ed. emphasizes that 7. Defoe and the prevailing school of Crusoe Nature of Man (London: Oxford University Press. in Harold Bloom." the narrative is matters" concerned with other ("Religion and Invention in Robinson Robinson denies the an in Ellis." 1969). ed. 5). p. 77 n. in Frank H. "The Economic Meaning of Robinson in Frank H. pp. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Robinson Crusoe (Englewood Cliffs. search 82-83. Halewood accurately views this passage as an indica are unceasing. p. Giants and Dwarfs (New York: Simon and Schuster. of 70. 290-91.. See Maximillian E. 5. 5. Daniel Defoe. 97-102. 101). Ian Watt. Robinson Crusoe. See. 1. Schrock remarks with measured approval. ed. a Norton Critical Edition (New York: pp. op... Essays from the Crusoe criticism can be found in the Norton Critical Edition. . 9. Natural Rights and the New Republicanism (Princeton. 140). The Rise of the Novel (Berkeley: pp. cit. 4. 15. p.) 17. along with Verne (who wrote the RobinLTle mysterieuse) and Swift. with 8. . 11. Michael Shinagel. Daniel Defoe. Zaleski's article. Emile. for example. at the head of a list of authors most deserving of translation p. Yet Schrock cannot but acknowledge that Robinson's customary denials of the existence of chance "place him in perfect agreement with his author... In his for marks of overlooks a candidate cloud" here. vol. 123.W. Ellis. He also develops interesting argu Crusoe in fact subtly and almost imperceptibly supplants Providence with chance and thereby again reveals his atheism. ed.. The Robinson Crusoe Story (University Park: The Pennsylvania State Univer sity Press. NJ: Prentice-Hall. 14. tion that 16. black pp. "The Strange Shipwreck Robinson First Things. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. first alerted me to investigate the possibility of a Rousseau connection. 81.Rousseau 's Adventure with Robinson Crusoe 335 NOTES 1. Schrock "I saw a Man descend from a great at who was prepared "to kill Robinson's language is a least vaguely " . Norton & Co. as the latter is understood" generally and perhaps correctly (italics supplied. A 1979 count found 1. in Allan Bloom. The Mayflower Compact their sovereign the disgruntled Pilgrims remain loyal subjects of lord King James. Essay reprinted as 1990). See Philip Zaleski.. Martin Green. pp. William H. 1994). See Maximillian E.

Schrock's interpretive approach requires him to foe's enterprise. He reads this coherence back into the assume a high level of coherence in De " ." (pp. . "is intended to be unobjectionable to both Anglican and Dissenter. 18. or some thing like the immutable laws of natural though. Paul Hunter.. nobody's liter ally define themselves S. 19. too. 103-4). Schrock wisely sidesteps the issue of Defoe's religion. Defoe con a person and/or a doctrine uncongenial to his own religious. Hooker. p. Defoe's preface to the 1715 volume of The Family Instructor applies equally well to Robinson Crusoe: 'In the pursuit of this Book care is taken to avoid Distinctions of Opinion. There Robinson approvingly quotes a clergyman as saying in the direction of certain events." ventures that by the "superior direction" meant "either the Chance. only by discounting it listeth. surely right to But the enigma cannot well explained by being explained away.." where Schrock grants that this statement 'mock-goddess' is "enigmatic. we are not justified Crusoe. For all we know. 78 n.. Robinson Crusoe. as I hope both cit. distinction' " ("Robinson Crusoe's be an orthodox Deliverance. and that goes for many other points the great Anglican and the Genevan would be united in opposition to the attitudes and ideas with which Crusoe indulges himself. 20. sensibilities" in Crusoe. lifted from John 3:8. without the n. though." in Harold Bloom. p." not a char enthusiasm accords a role to chance. and the Advice is impartially directed to op. Schrock and views as more Machiavellian than Calvinistic here. Calvinism remains Schrock's standard of orthodoxy. . .. or by Robinson Crusoe. But on the subject of this is little if any difference between Hooker and Calvin. in a note. and thankful acknowledgement of the divine mercy and (In Shinagel. he allows that "Quotation from Hooker may make the reader wonder note there on which just what orthodoxy I think Crusoe should be judged by. "Providence might that while Providence may have "some share" perhaps be limited by some superior direction. He may reach this conclusion. Schrock is right that the Jesus' clergyman's use of biblical phrase is in be a context wonder what it could mean utterance. if not to from the book of essays: seeing how troublesome those books [the narratives] prove to be.336 Interpretation Robinson' What then Defoe's Larger Robinson are we to conclude about position on chance? About Defoe's? About relation to Robinson on this issue? remain. in speaking of a "wind motion" blowing the where clearly the Holy Spirit. (p. where Jesus. is one partic ularly astute observer among many who found Robinson's religion both real and unobjectionable: "Crusoe rises only where all men may be made to feel that they might and that they ought to rise in religion. Defoe's religious per goodness" "[Supposing suasion can be and in fact is known from expressed sources other than in assuming his persuasion is sciously decided to portray . observes J. avowed Christian who was spokesman for orthodoxy. While adverting repeatedly to Calvin's authority. so and no offense can are be taken here on the one Side or the other. Coleridge. 289). his artistic. about chance and the questions doctrine of Providence. And wholly alien to that of for God's Providence to be directed by God's we are Holy Spirit. in dependence on. as to Church both of England are or Dissenter. But he also acknowledges that there narratives ." the words means (pp.) faith will not An "unobjectionable" faith of any stripe. . identifies a passage in Serious Reflections which he deems the coup de grdce in establishing the priority of fonuna. or sees the hand of Providence events that otherwise appear does not render him a Machiavellian. that Robinson occasionally particularly to both religious "natural. Simply in himself variously prone put. but Machiavelli Calvin are hardly the only significant thinkers who have grappled with the of notoriously perplexing perspicacious relations of Providence be and contingency. Schrock. an against objections. T. since orthodoxies 8. 24). should "Anglican orthodoxy" (almost always a some troubled concept) be consulted in the matter of Robinson's religion? Robinson's faith. Nor should the making conflicting statements about this complicated matter taken to mark as duplicitous any but the most acter theoretically drawn by a dilettantish thinker who was and enthusiasm for the new philosophy. In so doing. it is the same that guides all the solemn dispositions of Nature. ed. it was considerate of Crusoe to comment thematically in the Serious Reflections" (p. 194). ed.. 118 Christians least both treated here as such. in resignation. for that matter. Schrock turns to the authority of the An glican divine. but and was a wind blowing listeth. 6). what But why? Why. 88 n.

26. Book. churned out seven other books the he fathered Robinson" (Zaleski. The First Discourses (New York: St. and as extravagantly Remiss. . Book 4. chapter 8. Gildon has Defoe answering charges brought me?" by Robinson and Friday. and with an even esoteric should be in a similar vein that same year "Defoe. p. 38).. ed. in Roger D. inconsistent Being. Charles Gildon. as a journalist. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. death to "man" himself in a position to live. Book 4. Consider also Novak. and Crusoe's life is that his brains to find even seeks 'Always moving. "Why. in Twentieth Century Interpretations. ." usually could as Gildon's parody as a rant. Defoe asks. A contemporary critic of Defoe (the two knew and disliked each other). .Rousseau 's Adventure are with Robinson Crusoe examples: 337 instances son says "simple mistake[s] on Defoe's in the Farther Reflections that he raised of part" (p. toiling. See Social Contract on the vrai chretien. read 21. some critics 25. Second Discourse. Rousseau's civilized man: occupations: 99: "In spite of his environment. in three Weeks losing all the Religion of a Pious Education. Cf. and when you bring me again to a Sense of the Want of Religion. It from an acquaintance of Defoe moreover easily be read as contemporaneous evidence that Defoe and his creation were alike paragons of inconsistency. informing the reader that while aboard Critics have germane long observed such was instances of what appears to be hasty and careless editing. cit. the Theatre. 206). "what are your complaints of Robinson responds. p.' " 24. 185). The religiosity intrinsic to socialized man is to be distinguished from the nonreligious in Rousseau's state of nature. but at according to the family accounts in the first volume. 102. Inconsistent Creature. you make me extravagantly Zealous. noted Defoe careful enough in his composition of these books to have devel subtlety? oped philosophical and religious themes of studied coherence. Al cases we must Moliere in the Letter to M.. In a parody. p. Cf. saw the more substantive inconsistencies in the narratives as representative of inconsistencies in Defoe himself. any nephew would by then have been off' least he thirty-three years old.. Second Discourse and the Savoyard Vicar's simplicity of profession of faith in Emile. Martin's Press. 1964). The plausibility 22. you make me quit that upon Defoe later every Whimsy. And (2) in Robinson Crusoe Robinson says that he "pull'd his clothes before swimming back to his ship for supplies. as sour grapes from a writer of lesser success than Defoe. defends himself by saying that "I have been all my Life that Rambling. others give Robinson Crusoe that distinction. that you have made me a strange whimsical. It is significant that in Emile Jean-Jacques wants for his such "felicity" Second charge a on Robinson's island that Friday will hardly of be a concern (p.. sweating. on that Defoe's novel had been placed on the criticism of Church's Index in 1756. since that is of a Piece with the whole Design of my . I would not have you therefore complain any more of the Contradic which I have made thee. Rousseau may be Emile. To take but two his first a nephew upon return to (1) Robin England. D'Alembert whereas though Rousseau engages Moliere assume directly he suppresses Defoe. who made his living op. The It issue here is. with form. in both that Rousseau's selection of an opponent is deliberate. racking and still more put laborious he goes on in drudgery to his last moment. Masters. If Defoe simultaneously through truly the originator of a new art identifying dangerous potentialities of the new art and. later stuffed his pockets with biscuits. correcting them his own practice. Critics have tion of your character. and 23. Rousseau's of this contention is enhanced when we note what Rousseau surely knew. Although identify was Don Quixote as the first true novel.


Auto-da-Fe Eternal Return Colin D.scene iii 'Through the Better shadow of the globe we sweep into the Cathay. his sun-mystery. 24. and the world. mm to the foremost English-speaking Prescott. back into the blood-sacrificial preaway from his own white .H... . Act I. No. his soul world. own white conscious D. Vol. to and of the recent sesquicentennial of the publication of great histories. Would Desdemona seriously incline .. 3 . when we turn cott we are relieved to find no simple paean to the over Europeans we and their intellec tual and cultural superiority the conquered." departed back. Spring 1997. But and to a lesser extent. Pearce Humber College and "It was my hint to speak of Cannibals that each (other) eat. Lawrence INTRODUCTION It sary seems altogether appropriate of in the light of the the half-millennial anniver a Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World just his few years ago. .Prescott's Conquests: Anthropophagy. These things to hear . In the final and he accepts the superiority of Western civilization over all others. the European of the or Spanish takeover of the New World was justified in the light Aztec." younger day: Tennyson fifty years of Europe than a cycle of "Human sacrifice! . Rather find a sympathetic interpretation.' student of the Spanish conquests in the Americas William called landing on has forth some The five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus's adverse comments both on the European impact the original peoples of the Americas and on the treatment this episode has received at the hands of the most analysis militant of those clamoring Western historians. The Anthropophagai. Othello. and men whose heads (Do grow) beneath their shoulders. and he argues that for all its faults crimes. Prescott's treatment may not satisfy for politically correct history. and the moon-power day.. to Pres Inca practices of human sacrifice and cannibalism.

Prescott of enables us to better understand "values" the particular culture and the Aztec and Inca societies consis order He carefully sifts and weighs the available evidence in most detached picture of these civilizations as is humanly ted. shores. and an even-handed and sometimes radically critical discussion of the mentality and conduct of the Spanish conquerors on the other. why Prescott's histories "culture. example of Prescott may serve to overcome the stereotypical image of the Vic torian progressivist liberal as a dogmatic booster of all things to do with the modern West an and with no interests or sympathies beyond these bounds. Prescott's classic historical work on the Aztecs and studying Incas is a reminder of what "social or "comparative can be. Prescott stance of this culture or outlook that perhaps can provides an in be corrective of the view held The by some that the "WASP" mind or the WASP historian is incapable of appre ciating the merits and accomplishments of other nations and other cultures. What distinguishes Prescott from more recent scholarship of and gives his work a theoretical coherence which this latter lacks is the fact a his being guided by philosophy of history." the concern butions" they exhibit with "unique" with the and with the "contri made what by peoples. they will also reminded of how this their type of Europeans appeared to the Aztecs and Incas as they first arrived on But of perhaps more allows an immediately insight into mean important is the "culture" consideration which that the study Prescott another "culture" is neither Spanish early nor "indigenous." contemporary uncertainty among social constructing of social models or defining the laws of social progress. and Thus his histories should encomiasts of leave both the politically correct enthusiasts the Western way of life equally dissatisfied. cott assists encounter to arrive at the possible. as too aware of the potential or possible serves to civilized Prescott dissolve the stereotype of the Anglo-American liberal "Eurocentric. They will be reminded of Aztecs and Incas appeared to the particular type of and Europeans that be went New World in the first instance." Here I the of late eighteenth- and nine teenth-century Anglo-American Protestant liberalism.340 Interpretation discussion of and exhaustive one the life and society of the Aztecs and Incas on the hand. Thus Pres how the to the his readers to improve their historical understanding of the initial and between the Old New worlds. He does onto a Proems- try dogmatically to force the facts Aztec Inca society . or more broadly stated. Lack of a or scheme within which to handle historical details is not scientists with respect to the science" politics" We may add that in light of the "context" his problem. while at the same of the time being West. by an over arching lated at conception of civilization's relation to barbarism. By providing all instance of such a type being genuinely barbarism open to the virtues and accomplishments of "semi-barbarous" peoples. But it "grand must be stipu the outset that Prescott's not adherence to a scheme" or model of historical development does not lead him to of slight or slant the and details." the simple An additional reason are refreshing at this time is in "sacred.

they should rule because they are "in the poets and prophets scientists and know. But at a later date it is law yers all claim knowledge that back up rule. civilization. In the earlier stages of civilization there was the direct force of the conqueror. a truism to Why refer say that all modem liberalism is ultimately Hobbesian in to Hobbes in particular when discussing Prescott.2 LIBERAL CIVILIZATION: THE HOBBESIAN BACKGROUND It is my em contention that and as such Prescott's conception of civilization "Hobbesian" is that It is of mod perhaps liberalism is fundamentally in nature. astrology. and why the more modem scholars research working with a century's worth of subsequent have been unable to add anything fundamental to his analysis. while Commonwealth."3 But leisure. certainly meaning the cultivation of things." In the ancient kingdoms the backed up the royal rulers to such an extent that it was standard to see the monarch as a credulous subjects were divinity on earth.Prescott's Conquests tean the 341 bed of preconceived categories. Smith. and Leasure. Peace. or the immediate authority claims to of the father. For Hobbes. could serve as a more direct of The answer here is that the Hobbesian interpretation the rela tionship between barbarism and civilization shines through very clearly in Pres cott's works in a way that is not perhaps so noticeable in other great figures in the liberal tradition. also involves the production of new opinions about mately leads to turmoil as men begin to contend for their versions of right and wrong. prophecy was and so on. I would suggest that the fact that Prescott such a basic outlook explains why his work stands the test of time. This ulti the mind. this fundamentally Prescott's assessment of the in pre-Columbian America. requires above all and the possibility of mother of Philosophy. of which is ultimately "completed" by the flourishing the mother philosophy leisure. is writing about societies which were very close in many respects to the medieval-feudal-theocratic regimes against which Hobbes wrote. philosophers. who many Prescott's time. comparison? Mills. This in turn is explained by the fact that Prescott. beguiled the both rulers and ruled alike and shall thus conferred the real political authority on them. Priests. "Leasure is the of and the arts and sciences. through its claims to wisdom holy books. who Macaulay was another historian of Prescott's time fundamentally Hobbesian ideal of civilization in his great Now deployed the English studies of . for Prescott details history held to the way to his philosophy of history. The to as catch in this arrangement was which that the real power behind the throne tended in such mysteries minds of be the priestly caste. as there somewhat or even much closer to or the character. Hume. are other writers Montesquieu. while his philosophy of points the way to the details. As we situation see. although he is writing in the nineteenth century. point To make a long story short. say Locke. sacrifices. In this way the kept in peaceful subjugation to established authority.

" only referring to the five Hobbes. like and Comte sions. overcome. liberal West. Hence he improvement." the philosopher by "system subsequently so much and to Gibbon as the historian who more than any other writer "exhibits more dis the full development of the principles of modem history. who wanted "more of in the "progressive" same" sense of more of the measures which were in progress even as he wrote.342 Interpretation But History. that going back beyond his own and Macaulay's time to the kind of is more recognizable in Hobbes. cott and John Stuart Mill like Hegel with their Theological-Metaphysical-Positivist divi All free" and his "One. are arrangement." The mythology p.6 History he labels "the For Prescott the poetic age of of Mythology may be regarded as the period of age. Pres which has a tripartite conception of the Stages of Mythology-Theogony-Philosophy.4 Macaulay of wrote and ushered seven centuries centuries was writing roughly two hundred years Thus in his in the "New Political Science. "vary with that of the mde tribes in which it origi (Mexico. Macaulay been formed writing about a highly civilized community that had the influence of Hobbes and those liberal thinkers who the way down to Bentham and the Mills. Few. Prescott is ambiguous as between and the "Americans" but not as between either of these two and Protestant. in turning to the Aztecs and Incas was society the Spaniards the modem. He is not the earlier stages of the historical process which Hobbes followed therefore could after him all focusing on "feel.5 PRESCOTT'S TRIPARTITE SCHEME OF HISTORY In discussing may be the rise of the modem fers to Voltaire "as the sition said personage by whom historiographical approach. but also to the two centuries not alludes to English of leadership desiderata was career of political In a word. and the secret character of by which the operations of nature are will conducted. but it is always the same expression of man's efforts to . Hobbes's list out from the Leviathan had been more or less filled by the time of Macaulay's mind. Prescott re the present laws of historic compo into system. 36)." development the religious principle in a primitive "It is the effort of untutored man to explain the mysteries of agencies religious nates" existence." virtually Hobbes himself was at one point in danger of losing his head to the religious politics. Hobbes lived very much in the society he sought to But this is only conditionally so for Macaulay. then was under as a great exponent of the "liberal part of the checklist of the advancement of civilization." writing. and Macaulay himself." after Hobbes overview of English development he is in Britain in "the from the twelfth century up until since Hobbes's initial impact." to have been whom this first arranged was a to Montesquieu as refined." Thus we are tinctly not surprised to find that like Vico with with his Divine-Heroic-Human scheme. Prescott by contrast.

and the makes itself felt." brings clarity But in the and Great poetry such as The Divine definition to these conceptions. however. of all the objects of adoration in a credulous the delight saying that Hesiod and "filled up the shadowy (p.9 It seems the most enlightened of individual." What was and initially Homer age." deductions divine science" of (Mexico." and more refined the stage of Theogony. tion of until they had the them in beauty kindled the imagina others. philosophy must "seek to succeeding shelter itself from the charge of impiety by giving an allegorical interpretation to the popular mythology.Prescott's Conquests understand - 343 his place in the universe. "mde only "forms of ideal and becomes in the hands which are ones" of the likes of Hesiod beauty. 37). and a new and sensible form. and thus to reconcile the latter with the genuine the one. by "conceptions or it were. It poetical embellish ments of At this stage. rationalist thought comes more an increasingly direct effect on society. Comedy Paradise Lost age succeeding that of Theogony. where The "accommodation" earlier period was one of itself. There is a kind of Philosophy" Hobbes" within the "Age of which is the "Age of Enlightenment. carries around as part of the furniture his soul of the angelic hierarchy. But the philosophers this period treat the traditional- mythology in such a way as to make it antiphilosophic. there is nevertheless a fundamental distinction between the two. p. What Herodotus means by succeeding Homer "created the theogony of the is that they Greeks" outlines of tradition with clothed the bright touches which of their own imaginations. The Age of Philosophy is not popular secular or atheistic. But at this point one has to be careful. as pp.10 Religion is longer at odds with science-philosophy because it has been improved and adapted to it. even ened given by to today. argument that Prescott's history issues in the "the more . philosophy disclaims "alike the legends of the primitive age. Although Prescott would be inclined to describe both the of medieval and the modern periods as falling within the Age Philosophy. feels "his own conceptions of the angelic hierarchy quick those of the inspired artist. 36-37).'"1 the "Age of In order to see this more clearly we need to consider Prescott's interpretation conception of world of world political history. 36). however."8 The "power the phase of poet" of Theogony and may be felt even when is in "a much riper a period. Thus the "Age of Philosophy" should Stage" really be divided into two periods. appear as not antiscientific or "impious" as such or strictly the day which of It simply adjusts the necessity is religion to the highest knowledge of no scientific. as it were." society has gone beyond In Dante and Milton the reader. outline" that "we sometimes find these primitive legends com bined into a a regular system under the hands of the poet." philosophy or reason "sheltered into the "Fourth or open and has In the later period. It still appears that in the Age of Philosophy some there can still of be "impiety." Society has its of "rules" backed up by form authority. which images had before floated dim that even and undefined before him" (Mex nature ico.7 It is at "a later period.

" still under constitutional mon of speculation and which although a political product of his "freedom is not yet the final stage of humanity's destiny. the West. based has on gone from east may be called the natural rights In Asia there are "extended despo "nation slaves."12 geographical The "progress which west. and in history.344 or Interpretation character of less liberal the social institutions of a country may be deter mined by its position. is a kind of civilization denotes the final stage of human history." the European philosopher. acts for himself nature. p. which For Prescott it is the New World the scene as has been marked out by history here as for the full flowering of human freedom. to and humanity. civil and reli gious. 79). . master" their responsibility. The culminating stage is distinguished of the above all will by popular freedom and republicanism. was basis for despotism. and Christianity. or of environment within which there was no scious contrivances. These considerations cause Prescott to view Europe world when compared to Asia. their will. as that [of the Old World] to the democratic forms of our In explaining why this should be Prescott points in the direction of the Puritan heritage." tisms" "a solitary master" his rule over a of There the monarch is the state and "the people have existenc no political There is no constitution properly which so called. Christianity is the freedom. he thinks. The peoples Old World have to can undergo more training and experience in self- government before they soil" qualify for entry into this ultimate political order. Its "doctrine already 6). "The own. denounced dangerous in their ("Review of Bancroft. ." and explores fearlessly He lives the secrets of time and But even in the in most advanced parts of the a transitional stage. Old World is still not truly free. virtually another free agent. The Puritans found an "trace of civilized man."13 his con Under these circumstances of they could were in a position to who "reduce to practice" the "beautiful theories speculation. of of the enjoyment of those rights. the "true for which is in the Western Hemisphere. and religion therefore prepares human beings for free provides a self-govern political A like Mahometanism of by contrast. He is archy." atmosphere seems has been so fatal to the arbitrary institutions of the Old World. In Europe man "is a . In such countries there ress in science. Prescott gion of of and are connected with the singles out is to say in "those pursuits which best interests of as has been "little prog depend on freedom of In this context reli humanity. The rise of Protestant liberal which is to say the age of equal and rational freedom. . soul "The free spirit elevate(s) the by the consciousness of its glorious ment." Christianity freedom is and the key to progress." of as They or "verify as value" the of ideas "which had been derided own visionary." "peak" especially America. man as speaks. had risen to full freedom land. action. quicken(s) destiny" the sine qua non of progress. For Prescott then." inquiry." of freedom. Opinion in Europe needs time to catch up to the principles of republican free dom. surrendered blind fatality" designed for "those to an earthly who had (p.

as almost a prerequisite for successful politics. Prescott gives the Refor mation a rationalist interpretation. he knows he must address the fact that they liberals and were inclined to presecute those of other persuasions just as a Europe. to worship God in their own way. which is to say of the mindset which distinguished the Inquisition and the Conquistadores. then. As it turns the "zeal requisite for great revolutions in church and state. It taught them to claim the right of free inquiry." in itself "an assertion of "They came for conscience's sake. describes true Christianity. in the spirit of Locke per haps. succeeded the grip of Catholicism. They were instruments of the "cunning of History." but for all that they did when bring their with them generation living principle of freedom. and to take no guide but the reason which God had given them. It taught to distrust authority. and breaking Once this grip was broken the new reason and the new liberty could flower forth in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." tlers may indeed have been "intolerant in "the practice." 77). ism's subscribes to a kind of version of the "Weber thesis. what was made the foundation the earlier stage of American us turn to history before the West its presence felt? Let Prescott's Incas. and with free inquiry. What he freedom is that this means by tion with reason and movement's associating break with the Roman the Reforma Church in its intellectual tradition.Prescott's Conquests Unlike some of the 345 the early modem philosophers who saw in Christianity enemy of freedom and successful politics. avowed" Freedom p. avoid had away. But if Protestantism is the foundation as of the stage of world consummated America. as their of inalienable birthright. 14 particular case of the Puritans in America who were so important for Prescott were not New Englander. .16 of political institutions they at once ("Review Bancroft." Liberal advance and great success in the New World is final of fundamentally history attributable to North American Protestant foundations laid at the very beginnings. 79). is rarely attended by The Puritans themselves were not exemplars charity for difference of of liberal politics but somehow they served the historical purpose of broadening The first set this practice.15 vigorously as did the old authorities back in here end up being an "end justifies the as Prescott's apologetics out means" argument." of Prescott. Prescott inter for the kind of society in which we gave an electric shock live." opinion. Writing after about prets now two hundred years of the Reformation as a "breakthrough" liberalism's working on Christianity. to trace effects back to their causes. on the European mind. which put a lot of emphasis on the Reformation as the key event in the advance of human freedom. But here Prescott is close to nineteenth-century philosophy in general. "The benumbed glorious under Reformation to the intellect. Prescott. p. which would survive. to search for themselves. through the return to Scripture. freedom Now in the action" of ("Review Bancroft. which for him is obviously of the Protestant kind." passed It was impossible for them to serving that this purpose because their coming to America was principle. men long the influence of a tyrannical priesthood.

"practical" religion was politics and politics was religion. [their] laws divine sanction.346 Interpretation THE INCAS: DESPOTISM. and [their] domestic institutions and foreign wars were directed to preserve and propagate their In short. the 754-55). but it was the held In a sacrilege. Even so. then." case of Pern. "though nature" different way. While the "in stitutions of Lycurgus were designed for a those of Pern." that Inca Pern "had few "proceeded far of those complex interests and relations that grow community. "although petty state. The community of really a realm sepa from the rest of this order a but a part and an expression of it. with There was no separate sphere of or law and legislation concerned solely "concrete" the community's of interests." the Inca community. On the contrary. "the traditionary legends by as "mean and universe" which puerile. p.. the of which were "mild despotism." "Scarce their traditions is worthy of note or man." referring to as it might be called." such" seemed "to have an indefinite power of expansion. The the Incas in its essential principles was a theocracy" government of 776). they were highly advanced in certain respects." basis of their polity." throws much light on one their own antiquities or the primitive history own of For Prescott infall ible standard of advancement in civilization of is the past comprehensiveness of a soci or ety's knowledge of the details its the sophistication of its when "anthropology. and was possessed of a divine nature.18 But for all this Prescott does not describe the Incas as being simply barbaric. To law was not only to insult the majesty of the throne. institutions. [were] as their Spartan quite as repugnant to the essential principles of our counterparts. and were as well suited to the most flourishing condition of the empire as to its "In this remarkable accommodation to change of circum- . of their social existence." a civilized The Incas' lack of advancement is seen up in in their not human having enough in the science of crime" legislation pp. the very condition as it were." originally intended for infant fortunes. THEOCRACY AND PRIESTCRAFT Prescott inists "from a that we must be careful to approach the Peruvian which we institutions different In the point of view from that in study those of other sovereign and that nations. "Religion was the faith. All laws was not were a re flection rate divine or cosmic order. Prescott dismisses the Inca theology or they affected to unfold one of the mysteries of the . The Incas rested "claimed on a alike divine original for the founders their empire. "the laws emanated from the sovereign violate divine commission. to economize suffering by proportioning Inca regime was at bottom "as in a penalties to a (Peru." And indeed.." institutions these artificial as those of ancient Sparta. Prescott sums up the Peruvian system of law by saying that the "simplicity and severity of the Peruvian code may be thought to infer a state of society but little By this he means Incas' Hence he uses the phrase "semi-civilized" the "historiography" advanced.17 (Peru.

" land tenancy. ." According principle to Prescott the Peruvian agrarian law ran contrary to the very and therefore social soil" first "the the the of agricultural development. . . fortresses. They "covered the . exhibiting a complete the character of the soil. proprietor. 759)." allowed to take their course. and melted away before the spirit of 756). terraced and other public moun tains." Lycurgus ceased to operate after a avarice" luxury stands and (Peru. A register was kept of all the births and deaths throughout the country. p.. however. the massive character of the materials. view of also. the of all nature of its products. that constituted the physical resources of the (p. its fertility. But. . The Incas were also land" distinguished in their "public works" program. At certain intervals. It is end of which a sign of a is to control these faculties or avarice" or to repress "luxury and in the name of permanent equality "virtue. Here we see clearly that Prescott under with respect there to of be a natural inequality to the "faculties for the property" acquiring lack of civilization for there to be laws the paraphrase from James Madison). They had board of commissioners in the main which was "well in in the resources of the country. whatever degree of science they may display in their execution. so "the tenant This should have made at progressive agricultural and economic improvement least possible. operation of a time the natural order of vicissitudes of This "giving way" to nature means way to that "the usual given fortune have been inequality." and peasant could not by Practically speaking. the Inca agricultural or property laws arranged for a new division of land every year whereby the "possessions of the tenant were in creased or such a diminished according to the numbers in his law in other countries. and the character of the inhabitants of the different provinces. Prescott says. remains of temples.. 19 The extent of the Incas' advancement in "public administration" should also not established a structed be overlooked in Prescott's city view. astonish him by their number. (to time. In his permanent view desire for Peruvian improving the is "natural to the law be such. and exact returns of the actual population were made to the government every year. palaces. . 752). which.20 As to economics. with their great national projects.Prescott's Conquests stances we see proofs of contrivance that argue no slight advance zation" 347 civili in (Peru. as ." that there was very little real change of for the year was converted into a proprietor for life." family. aqueducts.. and the grandeur of the design" (p. great military roads. "Even the iron law of others. a general survey of the country was made. law This was neutralized meant by the Peruvian "love of order and aversion to change. "The traveller still meets with memorials of the past. Here we see some of the signs that the Incas had moved well beyond the state of nature as described by Hobbes." The . both agricultural and mineral empire" in short. works. and restore inequality" things to their natural This "natural results of from the "superior intelligence and thrift of some and the notes that nature proved too strong p. 763). has "after events. even Prescott prodigality for Sparta itself.. .

Social progress in some sense on the agitation and unease of the mind. the radically different.." corners of perhaps Europe" which. had "remained which Despite or because their populations with distinguished these places. As he bom. 763) The above statement leaves us in little doubt that Prescott A was very alive to the dark side of progressive civilization." possess" (De the mocracy in perspective America. Despite these curious parallel that the is nation radical differences there is one respect in which there is a between Prescott's Peruvians and their later counterparts." One does It not have to reflect long here to be reminded that Prescott was an American was and that these traits are often associated with the American who compared character. this far from were the case because the Peruvian "could rather own not better his ever condition. all might In Pern "No man could a be rich. and did enjoy competence. tribes" and government" "numerous independent and even hostile were and pur "knit together as one nation. (P. in his children were to follow." He found them "serious "do not think of the and almost sad. and civilization or social no man could ress on the other. Tocqueville of the Americans to "certain remote stationary. He and his fathers had moved before him. Prescott could see from the perspective of Pern. found no place in the bosom of the seemed to Peruvian. avarice." "The chief reason comers" he explains. those passions which most agitate the minds of men. be poor . and building. is that the while residents of the "remote the Americans "are forever brooding . How nor advance possessions." Moreover." than for himself." by a spirit of love for its institutions might devoted poses of loyalty to its the two empires were have been. "ambition. he one could not add a for others. the morbid spirit of discontent." honest industry." Ambition. 2 p." saw that "a cloud habit in ually their hung upon their brow. poverty tended to be placid of countenance and light of spirits. But and enlightened" ignorance the "free and Americans. The United States was But however this com- . the love of change. the "great fabric of arose Peruvian Empire" "by degrees" and in so doing "gave security to all. That which Tocqueville saw from of France. like Inca the Pern. 144). The very condition of his moved on in the unbroken circle in which being which be at war with change. The he was law human progress was not for him.." depends dis civilized people will show signs of "avarice. himself hair's breadth in the of social Thus the "great and universal motive to great die. over advantages ills they they do not endure. common language. was was lost upon him. even pleasures. so to This situation provides Prescott the occasion to outline the opposition between "Rousseauean" virtue on the one hand. vol. rood to his scale. Like the United States of America. prog but enjoy. common under "the influence of a common religion. animated sovereign.348 Interpretation was Prescott explains. His labors industrious. Tocqueville for this contrast." "the love change" of and even a "morbid spirit of content. that of bettering with one's lot.

peoples will possess and one it. Thus "like the early Saracen or the Christian crusader. In Mexico the influ unbounded. Spaniards. and by both (p. "the most fiendish the "voice of nature. part of p. while a trade. to Sun. love pp." Prescott states that The Aztec soldier sought himself for this god." (Peru. Psychologically character were whom Prescott izes as above all full of The inquisitor-conquistadores ultimately extending their authority over another government of aggression. 776). p." superstition has the power to stifle passions of the human heart religion" have been those kindled in the name ence of the priesthood "became lowed for more" of and (p. Their making while science. p. THE AZTECS: HUMAN SACRIFICE AND PRIESTCRAFT In summing up the animating core of Aztec "The tutelary deity of the Aztecs was the god of to martyr civilization war. worship brutish superstitions. They had piety a psychology reminiscent of the Christian Europe of the Middle Ages historians. With their domestic tranquility and commitment to a warrior foreign policy. the Incas were at the opposite pole from commercial civilization. civilized. Prescott this comparison most explicitly in his treatment of the Aztecs. 48). was "not elevated to the rank of a ical implication here is that warlike peoples tend to lack more The paradox a science of war. and impart to them the blessings of a well-regulated gov mission even as it was "the mission of the Chris This was the spread wide the the to reclaim the benighted nations from their ernment. says prepared with art." it was the priests who "bel human victims for their rites. quiet" while the "ultimate aim of [the Inca] be was domestic a (Peru. and superstition. 774-75).21 or religious enthusiasm combined with a warrior spirit philosophers and the very worst political psychology from the point of all liberal "The life of the Inca was one of long crusade against the infidel. 773.22 The in "most striking institution and that had the greatest influence sacrifice character" forming the national "Surely never were refinement together" was human (Mexico." as some have called the distinguishing institutions nevolent feature of Western societies. the encounter between the bigotry makes Spanish and the denizens of the New World reminds of the Crusades." though.Prescott's Conquests mitted 349 to permanent social change or "social motion. kind of welfare state where all were cared of even as all were required to work. Inca Pern for was a despotism." the Aztec could be seen perpetration of "earnestly invoking (Mexico. the extreme of barbarism brought as when the Aztecs would make and human flesh so closely "a banquet teeming attended with delicious beverages sexes" delicate viands. "Far from limiting the authority ." Incas' tian conqueror who invaded empire" (their) the speaking. 48).23 Prescott that human sacrifice was possi ble in Aztec society because "[w]retched Indeed. Aztecs' which is to say more peace-loving. 46). the Incas shared much with "bigotry. the holy name of reli war gion in the human butchery" 23). In Prescott's presentation. persecution.

the While the Aztecs were cannibals with civilized tendencies." this "indig nation out is qualified with contempt. The then is not the of level of science and wisdom so much as the fanaticism raise and bigotry the Europeans. "which has the vanquished" strongest claims to civiliza tion. community" Mexicans "had many though claims to the character of a civilized cannibalism. . While "we thus ruthlessly all indignation the cruelties inflicted by the early when we see them conquerors." careful not to claim "that the records of a new semi-civilized people would be likely to contain any truth or discovery important to human iards progress. from the peasant to the prince. The whole nation. . Aztec law punished "(o)ffences progress property. Prescott therefore holds the Span their more advanced stage of what iards to a standard than the Aztecs in view of development. The Spaniards too managed to combine at one and the same time advancement in civilization and the most barbarous practices. trampling mankind. These of records "could scarcely fail to throw and they had light on the previous history is higher the nation" this respect for. Aztec p." of property and judiciary independent and of the (a measure "worthy of an enlightened a people"). fanaticism" bowed their necks to the worst kind of tyranny. to that of blind (p. presents Spaniards were civilized men with such a barbaric tendencies. Prescott sees it. two more signal years before." comfort and But he is in no doubt that the Span were under the obligation to respect the records of the community some overwhelmed. Moreover. and to take a positive rank in the scale . WTrat they should have done as conquerors and did do reveals a weakness in their claim that as bearers of occupation of the empires of the plate with they in fact contem civilization their New World was legitimate. Prescott insists that a nation the enlightened mind should take pleasure in contemplating "in its generous straggle to itself from a nation of barbarism. twenty had celebrated a similar auto-da-fe of Arabic manuscripts. or openness to the history of other peoples a mark of a civilized nation." the spark of well knowledge. . Archbishop Ximenes. Never did fanaticism many Prescott is achieve triumphs. 24)." the priests to where spiritual the sovereign "often surrendered his opinion to theirs. than and by the annihilation of so curious monuments of human ingenuity learning. the victor.350 of Interpretation matters. or the point (Mexico. 50). greater countryman. 50). The first the Spanish Empire in civilization way as to make it appear as almost as deficient in and enlightenment as the heap" Archbishop of Mexico "His made a "mountain- of Aztec manuscripts and then set them alight.24 they practiced Aztec the civilization made provisions was for "the Mon rights both arch persons." Prescott notes. note that such remarks are not meant not well But it is that the of key importance to process imply The even civilizational had begun amongst the Aztecs. the standard for judging the Aztecs should be a comparative one where they are measured against the practices of their conquerors." against private civilization" fact which in itself "argues as a considerable in (p. in Granada. Prescott Aztec. they were least competent to give it. the common boon and property of "We may doubt.

" is "to lift But at of veil which covers past." the Aztecs and could never so evolve? The answer here is that there was a fundamental "metaphysical" or cosmological difference be tween the two within cultures. in his context. 52). by a death more painful than the Aztec was in some ways more horrible than the practices brother against institution "which yearly destroyed its The Inquisition sacrifices. who would extended wider and it from the brutish The superstitions that daily of wider. Thus the Aztecs. suggested modem western man might redeem himself from the burden . though they had allowed "the estab lishment of the modem Inquisition. the Inquisition "branded its signed them shows nothing degrading to the infamy in this world. they in their premodern postmodern situation sought relief by the same means which Nietzsche." bottom what will such a lifting of the veil reveal? Ultimately ahead. But the Spaniards no use were so blinded by bigotry they had even for understanding the Aztec's themselves efforts." idea of But it turns out. p. by tracing it to the human They "felt the which curiosity the common to man in almost every stage of the mysterious civilization. and poor con to everlasting perdition in the next" (Mexico." an thousands. 54)." sought "relief from eternity. did more to improvement than any other scheme ever devised by human cunning. which the Aztecs shared with all humankind. that p. But the issue was of cannibalism forced him to decide for the Spaniards. with extent of empire.26 But how is it that the the "pious cruelty" "cunning Incas could eventually transform while the Spanish Inquisition into modem Western of "humanitarianism. COSMOS AND TIME IN THE NEW WORLD Prescott begins his discussion situation as of Aztec cosmology such." conquerors Inquisition" but they of are saved outright execration would one may have "brought along with for this by the fact that the "benign once radiance" of their Christianity be History" day shine forth "the fierce flames fanaticism extinguished" should of (p. debasing Their institutions from the Aztecs furnish the best apology for their them the conquest. while stay the march of and setting its burning seal upon the lip. time stretching behind future" us and the same stretching We only infinity are "between past an either and and our limited vision can see no real distance in direction. and the more awful future. It "armed brother. "like the the oppressive nations of the as Old Continent.25 Prescott here and their how near a thing it is with him in deciding "it between the Aztecs civilization and the Spaniards land and theirs. 51).Prescott's Conquests civilization" 351 fanati of cism and (Mexico." And Aztec human sacrifice was victims with victim. They sought only to destroy all vestiges of the pre-existing civilization's reli gious and social system. Ultimately beneficently ordered by Providence rescue that the should be delivered over to another race. The whole nature of the universe and of man's place it was conceived differently by the Old and New worlds." of the Aztecs.

and when pp. however. by the agency of the elements.29 Prescott. at the time they never lost sight of the possibility necessarily and world" of the and the precariousness of the fundamental human order of Human beings live in the such nature. fore useful to consider some aspects of said classical Greek thought which Aztec thought may be well to overlap. 72-73).27 There is then something cott's presentation of or reminiscent of the Greeks in Pres It is there with the cyclical nature of the Aztecs' chronology. they may Now it is this again arrive at the threshold of civilization. While it could be said of Prescott that he knew the classics and was under their influence in inclined to their conception of time or the cosmos.28 aspect to classical thought which distinguishes Enlighten it from the ment and "anthropocentric" and historically literary oriented thought of the the Romantic periods. Laws 667dl).. For Socrates and be very sympathetic to the his companions the sayings or tales from the ancient days. he is not when he was put in Thus.352 of Interpretation his radically historical consciousness. which is to say from days before society's great prog ress. by means of the Eternal Return. the human race from habitable "classical" the earth. does between the Aztecs and fact that there is Greek a kinship Incas and the classical view of . are to placing human and social progress in its not expand on the context. at the close of a cycle. Prescott sums up the Aztec view very beautifully: "They looked forward confidently to another such catastrophe (as had happened before) to and the sun out blotted from the heavens to be again rekindled. the human family was from the earth. and from a time when scientific very important proper genuine and provide the key understanding was much more limited. he inev was not itably was in the course of his work on the Aztecs and and Incas." take place like the preceding. or periods of time. The Aztecs proceeded to break eternity "up into distinct cycles. inclined to fund of wisdom. In this contrasts with and their Plato. the dark globe" (Mexico. and the nite the arts for more or less infi arts improvement. ways. who was temporality human existence. science. to monarchy. Prescott of leaves aside the question of the ultimate or the inevitability he the human to race's on disappearance. Although the ancients understood very the social or civilizational process which moves from potential of family to clan. or and the relation of progress same in these to the possibility of philosophy of the "end situation. and at the end of swept each. each of several thousand years duration. in "ancients" order focus the means and stages of the civilizational process. he disposed to adopt their standpoint as a fresh revealing of angle of approach to the modem West. fires earthquakes. With luck few stragglers may survive these catastrophes years" in caves in mountains and after "tens upon tens of thousands of (Plato. some as the presence of thought very reminiscent of the ancient alternative. i. famines. when the sun was to effaced be ness of chaos was to settle on the from the heavens. to republicanism. and this order includes or destructive a phenomena as floods. There were four of these cycles. plagues.e. On the other hand there may be no survivors and the race may "cosmocentric" become extinct.

classical centrism "prime" Greeks belong Thus for Prescott. Man. the Aztecs and Incas in essentially the same category. worship. of which were of such importance to the Greeks point of view of the Aztecs and are demoted. More look up in pious awe and worship prospect that humankind could relapse over. on albeit modified by modem philosophi thought. have life. and In the biblical description is placed at the center of the universe and to the heavenly bodies. "(M)an is the best thing in the world for there are other things much more divine in their nature even than man. Their common civilization" the cosmo is the or product of the "infancy after all of as compared to its maturity which comes above the biblical revelation. involves come a an ascent from the lower to the long way from the days when he used to the sun. Thus heaven man. As Aristotle says.. For Prescott the biblical Despite or placement of man at the top is already a modem a given. From the moon and the Bible and no God's creation.g. modem philosophy the and the Bible the one hand. he condition focus what their civilization means in terms of the human points here on earth more than on what pre-Columbian thought itself to concerning man's situation in the universe as a whole. even after the seas and vegetation. fortitude" indulgence. then. They exist simply for the sake of man. Plato-Aristotle and the on the other.30 Life does ultimately depend them. "Christian doctrine inculcated that the ness" being best answered p. it might be that the deepest his anthropocentrism or humanism as comes not so much from modem Baconian enlightenment philosophy from revealed religion and and the Bible. and not the heavens is the peak of creation. and stands opposed "pagans" to the cosmocentrism of Aztecs-Incas. The humanism on or anthropocentrism of Prescott. We are of forced has to wonder why. Man has . the cosmos. because said of the fact that Prescott is very clearly stratum of or rationalist. Prescott's view of history. Here we must consider influence In the on his thought the Bible and Christianity. as did the pre-Columbians. To the extent then that he approaches the Aztecs cal Incas through will a biblical lens. that was evident of man as the or selfish highest thing in or passive creation. This mature the secular stage of civilization reflects conclusions that may be drawn from the Bible's description Unlike the "abstract contemplation. or the whole is more not important than . for Prescott there is no immediate higher. 1142b 1-2). the are not the stars are not not even divine. to the highest. framed" e. most machean conspicuously the bodies of which the heavens are Ethics 1141a 22-23. But the Bible inverts this man (Nicho- order of priority. the sun.. by a life of active useful (Biographical Critical Miscellanies. or This scheme is in beyond him.Prescott's Conquests the 353 the human situation. Incas. 77). a special place classical view man in the whole or the cosmic some sense scheme of things of which above and he constitutes a part. on and The deserving heavenly bodies are created on the fourth day. and antiquity." "variously taught by the various sects of and which was in the life and culture end of and of the was Aztecs Incas.


such a passive or


attitude again.


modem epoch

is in

some sense nature

sui generis

in its

attainment of

the civilized


of which



a certain

level has been
will prevent on


there appears to






foundation that


not concerned to

any fundamental the insignificance of this process
the whole. He



when seen


the light

of the eternal order or order of of all civilizations


not speak of the

inevitable decline For Prescott

back into barbarism.
require a

civilization would seem

time or "the oppressive idea of


and a on




forgetting of the infinity of focusing on the here and now. reflecting intensely on the primary

or most situation. nities


questions of a


concerning the universe, time and the human home for himself in the form of civilized commu
about the things required


his thinking

for this

end and not the

possibility that
race over

all such things pass away.


needs to shut




such prospects as the possible


and reappearance of

the human

the space of eons. Such a perspective necessarily makes each episode

of civilization appear as






no more significant



other such

instance, in

a process over which man


not exercise


control. must



there is a focus on the


of time within which man


civilization and all


accoutrements must

languish. Such "melan


reflections, to use Dugald Stewart's phrase, appear incompatible
civilization of the





the moment, upon which the ascent to the





progress seems to require a

steeling if the phase



of the spine so

to speak, which can only come

of civilization

currently ongoing is taken

the only episode that

really counts, and therefore with the utmost seriousness. We get a clearer sense of Prescott's vantage point and the






to listen to "the ancient



did Plato,

when we consider


view of

the nature of



Far from
of the

looking back,



itself slavishly

on the

past, it is characteristic

European intellect to be

ever on

the advance. Old discoveries become the


of new ones.

passes onward

succession of and



it were, into the for the

from truth to truth, connecting the whole by a great chain of science which is to encircle

bind together the


The light



shed over the


of art.


avenues are opened are



of person and thought.



devised for




Personal comforts, of every kind, are brought within the reach of the poorest. Secure
a nobler region than


these, the thoughts travel into higher

that of the senses; and the
of an elegant

appliances of art are made to minister to the
moral culture.



and a




For Prescott there is




or parallelism of



and social progress.


was not so much the case with

the premodern

Prescott's Conquests
or pre-Enlightenment




argued that after

society had developed to

the point where the emergence of philosopher-scientists was possible,

admittedly very late stage, the intellectual progress of the few would not be directly linked to the changing conditions of society. Rather, the enlightened few would always be observing the progress (or regress) of civili
at a


from their


some of


more or


powerless position.




least in

disjunction between "science


its permutations, dispensed with this for the sake of conquering nature and

Prescott's historical thought falls within this mod making it serve man's em horizon. He sees intellectual and social progress as directly linked and as


a reciprocal effect on one another.
of mankind.

And this is


to the great benefit and



Prescott tions

suggests that

it is


to the human condition to form concep


the whole

animated or

determined. The interpretations




vary widely in every human community. Thus it is that the histories of the various commu nities in which human beings have gathered over time reveal the erroneous along which mankind can wander. We know these paths to be erroneous because in the final analysis only one variation of the option, that of the mod

the local and indigenous factors at work

em, Christian own,

West, has


itself capable, through is
said and
more conducive

minds such as

or unciv


aloud whether when all





state might not

have been

to mankind's happiness and

well-being than the condition which awaits him once "the scale has been climbed to its very top rung. In adopting this critical the history of the expanding West, Prescott implicitly seems to


stance towards


truest advantage.






doubt forced Prescott to the
man's place


that the modem, Western conception of

in the

order of

the whole and his

to nature,

which makes alternatives.

this self-doubt possible



inevitable, is
of the


to all


Prescott describes the


belief in



which encompass the world's and


. . .


and regener

ation as

It is

in their desire to


from the


idea Of


fair to


that the




interest free

and concern with the ways and means of mankind's march

to universal,

and rational civilization

whether were



may have its origin in the fate of his brand of Protestant,





ism in the century

and a


he wrote, it is


to reflect on

would revise great


assessment of

the Aztec and

he writing his

histories today. Perhaps if he

Inca cosmology he would hear in



of the pre-Columbians a

sing, the "Yes





song that he too should begin to Nietzsche's Zarathustra: "Oh, how should I





eternity have I found the









of recurrence?





children, unless it


woman whom

I love: for I love you, O


For I love




to Prescott's study of the conquests came from such distinguished writers and H. H. Quarterly Review historians Milman, "Prescott's History of the Conquest of 73(1843): 187-235, and "Prescott's Conquest of Quarterly Review 81(1849): 215-48; S. M. Edinburgh Review 81(1845): 228-49; Francois Guizot, Phillips, "Prescott's Conquest of

1. First









His Times: Prescott



Edinburgh Review 105(1857):

1-45; Theodore

"Prescott's Conquest of Massachusetts Quarterly Review 2(1849): 215-48, 437-70; Count Adolphe de Circourt, "William Bibliotheque Universelle et Revue Suisse 4(1859): 597-620. The main biogra Hickling William H. Prescott phy of Prescott was by his lifelong friend and colleague George Ticknor, Life of (New York: Merrill and Baker, 1863). Prescott drew attention at the tum of this century from Rollo

Parker, "The Character

Mr. Prescott


as an

Ogden, William Hickling Prescott (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1904); Harry Thurston Peck, William Hickling Prescott (New York: Macmillan, 1905) and John Spencer Bassett, The Middle Group of American Historians (New York, Macmillan, 1917). His work began to be revisited as early as the New England thirties by Philip Means, "A Re-examination of Prescott's Account of Early Quarterly 4(1931): 645-62, but especially in the fifties by Donald Ringe, "The Artistry of Pre scott's Conquest of New England Quarterly 26(1953): 454-76; Robert Arthur Hump hreys, William Hickling Prescott; The Man and the Historian (London: Hispanic and LusoBrazilian Councils, 1959); and David Levin, History as Romantic Art: Bancroft, Prescott, Motley,
Peru," Mexico,"


University Press, 1959). More recently there has been a biogra Harvey Gardiner, William Hickling Prescott: A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969), and a study by Donald C. Darnell, William Hickling Prescott (Boston: Twayne Pub
Parkman (Stanford: Stanford




lishers, 1975).

Gary fully

M. Feinman describe

speaks as though

even on the sesquicentennial of the publication of and understand the

nothing fundamental has been discovered about Aztec Prescott's great studies: "Scholars are begin
components that comprised the
on the

ning to






the eve of



("New Perspectives

Journal of Historical


14(1988): 67). In

general the specialists

in this field

cannot make

up their

minds whether



in details

or to move

in the direction

of an overall or comprehensive view.

Renato I. Rosaldo, for example, says that although "detailed must nevertheless "be balanced by periodic attempts at



singularly important, they in George A.



al., eds., The Inca


Aztec States 1400-1800 [New York: Academic Press, 1982],
state of new

464). While attempting to give an overview of the societies, Elizabeth M. Brumfiel observes that the
"the entry


studies of the pre-Columbian
considerable extent

trends exemplify to a



concepts of consciousness and


into the field ("Aztec Religion


Latin American Research Review 25[1990]: 257). But for Nigel Davies this development Davies' is far from welcome. reason for objecting to a Marxist analysis of these societies is that
attempts to


a generalized model offer

too much of a

"temptation to distort






fit them "into is determined

some alien analytical



presuppose that constitute a

character of a given culture of that culture




number of

factors that

core, or substratum,

and which are common

to certain




Davies, "the


an overall model

that will serve (to explain)


the Aztec phenomenon, is nothing but a passing


Davies, The Aztec Empire [Norman: University

fear that the


Oklahoma Press, 1987], p. 125). But while approach might force the facts into a preconceived

36). chap. Hereinafter cited as either pp. p. It seems that for nineteenth-century writers like Prescott and De . 99)." 357 broad Davies nevertheless concedes that at some point there allow that is a need for "synthesis" and generalizations.d. religion. while nothing" (Beyond Good Evil. These parts of the work he says. p." one's In two. General conclusions of enduring interest seem few and far between. What Prescott intends by this remark is by Thomas De Quincey. 1966]. where his discussion of the appears. for the religion of paganism was not The fact really was. and of the Conquest of Mexico and n. Biographical 79. chap. but three sacrificed sacrficed human beings to god. For Nietzsche Aztecs and history is the story the for Prescott it is the progressive cruelty of stage one. but how little it was able to effect that change for itself. used local for "ceremonies ridiculous to Greeks" another" different. that Plato should ascribe to any whatever. p. ed. 1863]. stupidity. and that this is the same thing with a philosophy of The Essential Works of John Stuart Mill. Prescott after indeed produced The History of Ferdinand and Isabella (1837). 4. including our own. 186. 5). . 5. 85. Compare Leviathan. Guizot and others to produce a a "History of showing Western society's passage through the of member of the "historical It was school" his choice of subject matter." moral epoch of "one to one's god one's own strongest and instincts. 46. historical geography and cultural anthropology would take us. 12. In the end we are left wondering it is that all this ethnohistory. 385-86. Historical Essays (London: Col lins Clear-Type Press. indeed. He is forced to the whole enterprise is only worth what could this "common" while if it issues in the "core" uncovering of some "substratum'' broader meaning. chap. He a would provide the history of the Western Hemi over painting this task from his friend Washington Irving. He took "Preface. Leviathan (Harmondsworth: Penguin.)." man out in modern human history. in the direction or of the of the said that so despite the "seed" common of religion. of of As Nietzsche is the important. gious a power as that of having created a national . 7. were designed to show "the Mexicans" true nature and extent of usual the civilization of the odd (Mexico. England" various stages of civilization to the present.Prescott's Conquests "model. [to] Kaufmann [New York: Vintage. trans. and (to use his words) which is where be other than some picture of a or to all human societies. 1961]. 82. he undertook pre-Columbian America and the saga of "full" its coming sphere under European dominance. pp. Discussing Plato's plans for the poets poets in the Repub so prodi lic. p. In his in the and Preface to Mexico." And in stage three one had to "sacrifice God himself the p. Hobbes had make stage of the overcoming Incas. For him. See by detailed picture of what existed before the European invasion. from cruelty and against oneself fate. are incidental factors may for the most part 8.). #55. De Quincey says: "Strange. 172-73). 227-28). is evident from no example more than Plato" (Leaders in Literature With a Notice of Traditional Errors Affecting Them [Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. Peru. Max Lerner [New York: Bantam.d. which is "the mankind. that those which are (Leviathan. 1982). Mill says that "any general theory or philosophy of politics supposes a previous theory of in human progress. 683. Prescott is "an best says that assertion not to be taken too nation" create a religious system perhaps explained that Hesiod and Homer "created the theogony of the literally. Macaulay. pp. . Thomas Hobbes. since it is hardly possible that any man should (Mexico. Prescott explains that he invested great history" ("Autobiography. worship the stone. Walter of 67). "There is a great ladder of In the first stage "one these are the most stage philosophy in his tripartite breakdown religious cruelty. 1875). with many rungs. which would be the humanitarianism of the modern West. transmogrifications of human cruelty. Herodotus's for his claim by one man. gravity. n. 3." History History Mexico or of the Conquest of Peru (New York: Modern Library. Hallam. that the human intellect had been something independent of the mythology. pp. p." "labor" "time" "Introduction" "Appendix" and (which he says three stages of civilization "properly belongs in the Introduction"). with Lord Macaulay. 13. Prescott arrests our attention as a century precisely because members of this school Europe" "History of or of the early nineteenth virtually par for the course for such as Mackintosh. William Prescott. clamorously it began to demand some change. but following William Robertson's History to present to the modern reader the history and society of of America (1776). 6. for some time outgrowing its foul religions. Critical Miscellanies (London: George Routledge.

" James Mackintosh human authority. of 13. Terence N. pp. 1967). "The Sanity of worth: Penguin. See Friedrich Nietzsche. 12ff. G. Walter Kaufmann [New York: was a Vintage. pp. See Goldwin Smith. Again Nietzsche to the South" "transvalues" the view of liberal philosophy on the Reformation: "That Lu ther's Reformation succeeded in the North suggests that the north of Europe was retarded compared (The Gay Science. Utopian. Education. but sufficient to confide in for we our by comparison with the Enemy feare" Security. "This is the essence of the Reformation: Man is in his very nature destined to be (G. a Philosophy fail to encourage. Lord Brougham says that one cannot understand modern Europe without considering "[T]he effect of the reformed faith. long consecrated by time could not inquiry" 16). Egerton Ryerson. of the University Press. Parker. 9. (New York: Vintage Books. The Loyalists of America and Their Times. Macaulay: Prose and Poetry (London: Rupert Hart-Davis. 195. Gorgias. pp. 8. 186)." 15. R. 308). 1957). Daybreak: Thoughts Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge Continent. 1944).J. end) to Cicero (De Natura Deorum 2. Ralph Barton Perry. 722-24. p. See D. wherever it was established. and most of all on the most deeply interesting subjects" Progress of Ethical Philosophy [Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. See Oliver Wendell Holmes. 16. vol. 17. Unlike Prescott D'Altroy key possible adjectives describing the Inca regime. Republic bk 2. on 11. of George Bancroft's History of the United States p. 1835]. 5-7. p. 2 vols. (Toronto: William Briggs. Discovery 12. trans. 1986). ed. p. Democracy in America. 2 vols. laws ("Autobiography. William Prescott. Philosophy in [London: Charles Knight. p. From the 75. Laws bk 10. #149. pp. "Indian in G. For Nietzsche the Reformation moved disaster in that it tide of the Renaissance that might humanity to its highest possible plane. Ethical and Political Since the Revival of Letters in Europe [Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. 358. 1. of theological opinions so subjects. F.4. W." D'Altroy be a observes that "Depending on the perspective of the author. see also Daybreak #88). the Inka state" was considered to feudal. The Spirit of the Laws (New York: Hafner Press. trans J.4) to Paley (Natural Theology [1802]). "The Professor at the Breakfast the Atlantic (Boston: Little Brown. 316-30. Gooch. Young. H. stopped the p. p. in Edward Weeks and 13. does not include "theocratic" 18. "Review The North American Review (Jan. 190. vol. M. P. pp. 337. In the state of nature Hobbes says there are chap. totalitarian. Lawrence. 1974]. 9-11. Alexis de Tocqueville. in emancipating the human mind and causing reason alone to be consulted in all controversial vol." and Thomas Babington Macaulay. and certain 20. in Major Critical Essays (Harmonds 1971]. Plato. 1835]. Hegel. This may be said to be the tradition of natural theology which stretched from Socrates (Xenophon. See Baron de Montesquieu. "The Multitude number. matters" (Political "The . . 2. of vapours feeling beauty of a cloud lighted by the is in no hindrance to my knowing . 417.H. 33-46. 1982). to says that Luther "in his warfare against Rome had struck a blow against all and unconsciously disclosed to mankind that they were entitled. 63-64). 31-33.. 17. Compare John Stuart Mill: "The intensest setting sun. 1841). and Jas. Aphorism #189. things as require much force" removing such (Leviathan. 17. Memorabilia 1. Lord Brougham's description this period by any number of writers after Christian aristocracy may stand for the interpretation of Hobbes. Dugald Stewart says that renunciation Europe. George Bernard Shaw. chap. or rather bound." a state of suspension 93). 224). 1861). 19. Puritanism and Democracy (New York: The Vanguard Press. 1880]. English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Philosophy of History. 10. a great part of 1844]. p." the Prejudices of Morality. Art. Sibree [New York: Dover.. 1954). Sir free" Table. of moving. pp. "no Instruments p. 1945). 21. p. (The form and utter their own opinions. communistic or monarchic ("Intro as one his Ethnohistory 34[1987]: 3).. Lectures on Modern History (Oxford: J. on all other congenial freedom of (The Progress of Metaphysical. Studies in Classical American Literature (Harmondsworth: Penguin. p.358 ' Interpretation the broad "forces of History" Quincey one or have a greater explanatory of the power than the literary genius of two great artists. 1949). pp. have trans. is not determined by any (Leviathan. 'To the union of constraint and obedience with . Hundred Years Jubilee: One Flint. subject to all the p. polity of duction. of Emily 14. p. 1. 1956]. eds.. that the cloud is vapour of water.

as inferred by their political institutions. than fall into the merciless claws of the Priests. 154. he thought in beginning and ending of history." would restore the past. and Beyond Good and Evil. furnish[es] gether the one of the most important links in the great chain of communication which n. pp. and comparative advantages for the human of. Riddle. he certainly did not believe. #18. Ross Hassig is loath to enter into the question bian studies condition is the whole purpose of pre-Colum for Prescott. i. p. of and "The Persians had hence a cycle of one hundred years" and twenty (Mexico. "The existence of similar religious ideas in remote regions. See also Evelyn Waugh. . Mesoamerica" albeit tailored to the social and technological realities of (Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control [Norman: and the 27. 8. proletarian power idyllic state of man's tribal own. . and barbarism on the other. #229). University in Thus Spake Zarathustra. 1967]. 26. For Nietzsche ment made the cruelty at the earlier stages of human develop are is quite while that of the later Christianity is less so. Prescott devised says elsewhere that the tion was "the most terrible operation on the engine of oppression mind" ever by man. inhabited by different races . 267). while at the same time all high culture is the (See The Genealogy of Morals.. in a new Golden Age. Daybreak. Daybreak. and the fight against capitalism would be resumed over and over (The Aztec Empire.2. the loss of which amongst modern Europeans was Machiavelli's despair. . p. . Alfred" 25. 65 n. and (Daniel Defoe. 64-69. n. and led itself on spiritual fury of their onset was such as might by their priests as well as their feudal vol. 38 5). p. Vintage. 1907). pp. He approaches the world of assumption the Aztecs "on the that Aztec practices were as rational as those of any other society. binds to Inquisi for its distant families nations" of (Mexico. not much short of that en joyed by our Saxon ancestors. "liberty" is explained in terms that of paganism's world. p. #77." sacrifice which at all times most exalted and elevated (Nietzsche." and possessions of candid on this it "contains some energy and ferocity in pursuit of "the ingenious reflections much more ingenious than the opposite tendencies of Christianity" (Mexico. ceremony independence of submission. love of conquest engrafted military life. "What is 1974). 33). 1965]. 1988] p. in a succession of worlds. 576)." Human sacrifice military virtue. See "On the Vision (New York: Viking. 125). from fanatics trained to a lords 22). . trans. zeal" (Political Philosophy. clergy. Robinson He remarks to a Spaniard whom he had Spanish colonies. . "Of all the means of exaltation. religous enthusiasm and personal courtesy the on be expected . Prescott notes of Machiavelli's Discourses. Walter Kaufmann of was a p. 228-30.. history. At bottom human beings happy by the sight of the torment of others. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Progress?" The Atlantic Monthly Aph #341. 1966). Zarathustra p. The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. like the Aztecs. Prescott tated" goes so far kind as to say that the conquests of the Aztec Empire were "greatly facili helped by "the ferocity acquire a of character engendered of by their sanguinary rites. the relationship between. Critical Miscellanies. trans. was added the superstitious and pen with civil veneration of the ances. [was] radically different from terms of a Thus Marx's philosophy of history would have been incom to the Aztecs. which Angus Ross [Harmonds worth: Penguin. product of cruelty. producing man" "Cruelty is one of the oldest festive joys has of mankind". 1. 158. may be considered.e. Persian. inculcated by constant engagement in warlike pursuits." Oklahoma Press. #45). Black Mischief (Harmonds worth: Penguin. 52 n. Nigel Davies comments that part of the and of difficulty so in studying prehensible the world of the Aztecs our is that their "concept time. with the implication that the proletarian revolution would one again" day succumb pp. wherein antiquity's greater the Aztecs to devotion to honors 23. 243). 24. and with whose comrades he might escape to the be deliver'd up to the Savages be carry'd into the and Inquisition" devoured alive.Prescott's Conquests the 359 bravery . "Marx inherited the Judeo-Christian notion in that respect.. p. . trans. 36). pp. 321 22. under (Mexico. p. The Gay Science. not so terrible body as on the with (Biographical and Crusoe seems to agree entirely Prescott's view. with Lord Bryce. "that I had rather rescued. 2. in which. 274. and the scrupulous observance of a religion full All these circumstances introduced a strange mixture of warlike . 5-7. Prescott says of the Aztec society that the "degree of civilization which they had reached. p. 38). it has been human "innocent. civilization on the one hand. ed. Compare Friedrich Nietzsche. Walter Kaufmann [New York: Vintage Books. perhaps. (August. 1965).

Compare Thomas Babington Macaulay. Consider arising out of many of fire and water. 77). no space into the philosophers' context of the defense of the idea of the divinity same heavenly bodies." are described together with Atlantis being "mighty and proud . 1965]." and from those the works of the Pearce describes the such as Francis century Scotch historians and writers on Hutcheson. and other lesser ones by Plato's Laws 676a-c. "The deifica universally operative (Hans Jonas. "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral ophy and Truth (New Jersey: Humanities International. Describing the Incas. as Coya. nor any science which is hoary with (22b5-c3). as all ancient a stance which was note bound up with a refutation of the atheists or "material But it is important to here that this stance puts the classical philosophers in the camp peoples. is under the influence Bible. 899b. 1979). Venus. The credulity of youth has given way to habits of cautious inquiry. the greatest have been brought about Egyptian priest say to by agencies also innumerable causes" (Timaeus 22c 1-2).J M Dent. French in Daniel Breazeale.27. "paganism" 255).. in respect of "social relations and Egyptians (Mexico. [they] the acknowledged various objects of was the way or other connected as part of the with this principal deity. 1963]. Pursuits were estimated by their practical results. 1961). p. here to go and Cicero makes the case in the Tusculan Disputations. whom he (Peru.. . One "Besides the the obvious similarities their agreement on the divinity of the between New World cosmogony and that of the Greeks heavenly bodies.360 Interpretation of 28. "then called Tyrambel. and there is not an old man in mind you are all young. and Lucretius. Adam Ferguson. We recall here Plato's reliance on an Egyp tian priest in the Timaeus who says to Solon: "You Hellenes are never anything but children. Thomas Reid. We keep in mind philosophy of the and of all varieties on the one all hand to the Bible modern historical thought on the other. North America. was adored as the page of the Sun. 82-83. especially from those Scots social theorists who influential in their thinking. It is regarding interesting to note that in the New Atlantis. "Peru. vol. except one. Plato argues for the divinity closely in his rising and in his the heavenly bodies in Laws. sister-wife. 29. he might have laid greater stress on the Egyptians' value of the ancient wisdom and less on what they reveal to the historian the preconditions for social progress. the Stars. The vivacity of the imagination has been blunted.670. and sometimes to a phlegmatic scepticism a new struction of growth" standard of moral excellence was useful was preferred to the formed. Such fairest of Moon. ed. As one scholar has observed. many destructions of causes. 778-79). Roy Harvey Pearce." "a sociology of progress. as being the con upon and verified built "grand intention of the eighteenth society. Critical and Historical Essays. 1. there is no old opinion handed among you down among you by ancient tradition. p. the contemporaries of our day may be said to have reached its prime. a theory which would make comprehensible at once social (The Savages of America: A Study of the Indian and the Idea of stability and social Civilization [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 196a33-34. Aristotle expresses this view in the Nicomachean Ethics. 366-71. 79. Philos peoples of of p. says that the Aristotle "first human beings . The Gnostic the relation of rationalist and tion of the heavens or of the chief reasons an element heavenly p. for his modern. an old Plato sums up the point directly in the Timaeus. Prescott says worship in some was that Sun." and Mexico. revered heavenly attends so of train. If Prescott had been more classical or Platonic in his outlook. Consider Nietzsche. Prescott. 155-56. . 2. speaking generally of American students of the indigenous says that "They could learn of the law of progress from any number who were so learned authorities. (London. but reason is matured. them. 33). and the (Prescott. Lord Karnes and William Robertson. pp. 2 vols. his . are likely to have been similar to average or even today" simple minded persons (Politics 1296a6). when he has Solon: "There have been and will be again. The same revolution has taken place as in the growth of an individual. age" "American" society." mankind Rerum Natura 6. in which Bacon presents the outlines of the new scientific then called of ornamental" Prescott says that there were "points resemblance" culture" between the Aztecs and the ." Physics. pp. . Biographical and Critical Miscellanies. it would seem.28. pp. Scots. bodies is for the most natural and one)" in all ancient religions (except the Jewish must then Religion [Boston: Beacon. enlightenment rationalism.) "If the Greeks lived in the infancy of civilization. De Sense.. and setting" 1141M-8 There is of the ists.

or Stewart allows either the to slacken the exertions of the friends humanity. do you The ones that tell of many disas which have destroyed human beings and left many other things truth in the ancient sayings? race. Dissertations Discussions (London: George Routledge. any which has occurred in the preceding ages of the Following Francis Bacon he insists that the the art of printing. According to Stewart we physical or the moral order of the to reject a universe. Song). the purity of modern religion and "retrogradation" increasing store of science available to modern man provide assurance that has become impossible." physical convulsion which shall renovate or destroy the surface of our for the possibility of Thus he must explain that "The than to the object which I have in view at present further pp. 44). in Thus Spake Zarathustra. and Plato's. 1986]. 500). see also Phaedrus 229b5-230bl). even all the host of worship. 34). in light calculated "every theory which represents to damp the hopes. p." 361 arms. that is. extending no last three (Collected Works. Greenberg." only to tiny remnant of the human Kleinias replies: "This sort of thing seems everyone" (Laws 677a3. In his Laws Plato ters both believe that there's floods a and plagues and Athenian Stranger say to his two interlocutors: "Well. 1949). Hepburn Aztecs. makes the some Robert P. be unto him a people of inheritance/ 31 . 1929]. vol. as the thinker who in giving philosophic currency and validity to the modes of life and behaviour of archaic (The Myth of the Eternal Return [Princeton: Princeton University Press. on a history of our species during the is comparatively confined. All Too Human. pp. shipping repulsed and and Bacon suggests that it was Tyrambel or Mexico ed. 220-27. in Human." of But at the same time "some planet. 1. Mircea Eliade says that entirely credible "Plato could be regarded as succeeded humanity" the outstanding philosopher of primitive mentality'. 168-71. and the stars. to as ye are this day. are entitled trans.d. which the Athenians Tristram Coffin in the Timaeus (A Book of Seventeenth Century Prose. 30.. p." to be destroyed overnight by wild and senseless ("The Wanderer and His #275. III. eyes unto pp. Time and Western Man (Boston: Beacon. "The Seven Seals (Or: The Yes and Amen 231." Dugald Stewart explains that the "very and hinge of the controversy" between those who em or phasize a progressive curean future for humanity those prone to what he calls "Atheistical and Epi prejudices" is "the essential difference between the world. Modern Essays (New York: Macmillan. In Deuteronomy 4:19-20 it is said: "And lest thou lift up thine heaven. point. According to Nietzsche there is now in place a "chain of tremendous pro phylactic ourselves measures which are the conception of modern times and through which we separate from the Middle Ages. vol. 16. Alexander M. Prescott policy" explains that "the genius of the Peruvian monarchy" and the and that the "key to its habitual was that "Science was not intended for the people" "amautas" or wise men if science it could be that was available to them "engrossed the scanty stock of science (Peru. and Karl Lowith." present state of society. 32. it would put very clear limits on how far society might progress. and serve them/ which the heaven. But extending one's gaze is satisfactory as long as one's focus is beyond this necessarily forces one to earth. p. 191-22. then. 125-35. in ancient riches. as to concede the and 33. Hollingdale [Cambridge: Cambridge Uni versity Press. 1854]. 500). (The Collected Works of Dugald Stewart. pp. eds. In few other words the progressive vantage point centuries or millenia. 791). Witherspoon [New York: Harcourt. shouldest be driven to heaven/ But the Lord hath taken you. See Carl Becker. p. Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole and brought you out of the iron furnace/ even out of Egypt. ed. n." called.). 376-77). 1954]. pp. 1. the discovery of the New World. Sir William Hamilton [Edinburgh: Thomas Constable.J. 1962). 34. if it be allowed that the diffusion of an elementary understanding of nature and its laws is the sine qua non of society's advancement. While this may in fact have served to preserve the polity. centuries" 490. 437-40. 1957)." . pp. and See also John Stuart Mill. Brace. p. R. Robert A. and when thou seest the sun. and the moon.Prescott's Conquests kingdoms. Meaning in History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press." "We make it henceforth impossible for the fruitful fields torrents" of culture again Shadow. See Wyndham Lewis. which consider the possibility of telluric or life-ending catastrophes on the planet "Progress" is as much in James C.


the only one that can be truly to have changed the course of history was delivered to the Republican all and State Convention in Springfield. Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural. tial and his doctrine of popular middle ground whose existence Lincoln denied. The however. The utterances that have come down to us. can nonetheless serve a deathless end. seemed to offer that very Douglas. perhaps more than any political The House Divided speech. and tell us how our lives. permanently half slave and half free. or or the house to fall. are are profound medita tions on human experience. Although these speeches arise out of particular events at partic times. as time-bound mortals. the they designed to reconcile us fate by discerning hand of God in events that might otherwise seem merely ular chaotic. might might but he did it to become all one thing or all another.Discussion The Speech That Changed the World Harry V. they draw back the curtain of eternity and allow us. South. The House Divided interpretation. . to the turmoil of the passions of war. no middle ground existed reason it was any longer. Its theme is expressed in the biblical In it Lincoln admonition that "A house divided against itself stand. whether greater or lesser. 24." cannot declared that he believed that this government cannot endure. 3 attractive. graven in bronze like the in stone. In the midst of the horrors of destruction and and amid our death. Illinois. one path or the other would have to be followed. however. sovereignty. a middle ground that influen Republicans were finding increasingly Vol. because Lincoln's message. Jaffa Claremont McKenna College Of said Lincoln's speeches. 1858. Slavery become lawful in placed all the states. He said that he did not expect the Union to be expect dissolved. That was Lincoln's message was that Stephen A. North as well as slavery be so that the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction. to glimpse a divine purpose within a sorrow-filled present. Spring 1997. June 16. was a causal agent in bringing about the terrible events over address of the time which Lincoln was destined to preside. No. however brief. A point of decision had been reached.

364 Interpretation intended to speech was minds. and with it an end a to all institutions." There ensued battle royal. was that his policy aimed uncompromisingly of slavery. in the Congress Douglas.. the focus of national attention was upon the struggle on the plains of vention of Kansas. had framed an essentially proslavery constitution and Union. in short. A mmp con participating meeting in Lecompton. was Douglas. What it did know. still further. to direct a struggle to prevent Kansas from becoming It of a slave state represented an almost incredible the reversal of political roles. South.1 with it had applied for admission to the President Buchanan chose to endorse the action of this delegates elected without free-state voters convention. Suppose. Why did Lincoln pose the alternatives of slavery and freedom promisingly? so uncom Throughout the winter and spring of 1856-57. that slavery was to be strangled where it was. Or suppose. nor to exclude it and . the Kansas-Nebraska Act had declared it the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory therefrom. This would enable them to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery with out the consent of a single slave state. Suppose a burgeon outside ing the slave population. but to leave the people perfectly free to form regulate their domestic institutions in their own way. In that the exclusion of slavery.. many of whom be employed or sold existing limits of slavery. if slavery was to be preserved. For championed by none other Douglas. federal responsibility for its "do with the free soil forces than the redoubtable Stephen A. destroy any credibility that it might have had in their The South knew very littie about the Lincoln who became President-elect in 1860.. And the same power relative to was now or never the North that it did in 1861. From that perspective. No protestation on his part that he had at the "ultimate extinction" no act intention whatever to interfere with slavery in the slave states could counter the impression left by the call for "ultimate the extinction" in the House Di vided speech. that the addition of free states would eventually give them a three-fourths majority. however. it for Southern independence. . a mere three years before. with his incomparable energy and skill. None of Lincoln's met promises never to interfere slavery in the slave states themselves the South knew that it would never in future possess with these objections. without external intervention. Kansas. with a view to the quick admission of Kansas mestic as a state. who was the Missouri Compromise place of was restriction principally responsible for the repeal of slavery in all the remaining Louisi ana Territory. free there was little reassurance in Lincoln's surrounded "non-intervention" Suppose that the slave states were to be by an ever-more-powerful cordon of could not states. subject only to the Constitution of the United States or State. in Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. From the point of view of policy.

as part and parcel of an atrocious plot to exclude and from our a vast unoccupied region own immigrants from the Old World it into a free laborers from States. inhabited by masters and slaves. Douglas. but for voted on the same side were the Chase Wade and the men who no one had treated him in ever 1854 as if he Antichrist. famous in the annals of Along with these similarities. of because his southern sympathies. party leading warfare once again to a pitched political . Hence Congress with presented a new spectacle. and we want practical. We will open all it unhappily receive the sanction Territories of the Union to the ingress of should slavery. as a criminal betrayal of precious rights. previously the Senate floor leader for the administration. had been induced. standard Republican practicality is too high. Congress] a new [of Nebraska bill has been reported by the of Senate Committee Territories which. At the present session on January 19. 1854. and convert dreary region of despotism. The same tireless energy and the same matchless readiness and resourcefulness in debate which had carried Kansas- Nebraska to victory were now devoted to the defeat of Lecompton. Whereas Buchanan could not face the revolt of southerners if he opposed Lecompton. In many respects.. battle. One was can hardly imagine rhetoric more inflammatory. especially. Stranger bedfellows had a season it was seriously believed that Douglas might become a Republican. and him as being "of more weight to our cause than any other ten men in the Horace Greeley. now declared: "The party. for all his professions of idealism." . for some time of known the Anti-Nebraska party. and Day after day. First. Once again. party followed. arraign this bill as a gross violation of a sacred pledge. Some of the eastern leaders. there were two important differences. this was 1854 all over again. Douglas. the unorganized Congress. took up the idea of supporting him and bringing him into the praised country. manifesto slavery -it appeared denouncing it became in effect which was the originating statement of the Republican Party. Here are some excerpts from the Appeal Independent Democrats. Douglas seen. was to throw His idea of something more Republican support behind Douglas in Washington. and the arch-criminal who its chief object was Stephen A.. to support a bill that a was highly revolt objectionable to the northern members of his own party." From the circumstances its introduction longstanding exclusion of as a wholly proslavery as the measure. Yet champion of by the spring of 1858 Douglas soil movement came who to be looked upon as the the free by had subscribed to the Appeal. Once again a newly elected with all the influence a new president commands.2 account of many how the struggle over Lecompton transformed president. Douglas could not face the hostile response of Illinois and of the North generally if he supported it..The Speech That Changed the World This of 365 was the famous doctrine repealing of a "popular The sovereignty. Here is David Potter's political loyalties. was now the floor leader for the opposition. Stephen A." Henry Wilson believed Douglas would join the Republicans.

366 Interpretation praise his Tribune began to believed that it Douglas extravagantly. have taken the contest between Lincoln of Douglas in 1858 would not The Declaration anchor of Independence. kept it up for twelve years. Let us be Republican" Illinois Republicans had have come "sustained" Douglas. Douglas As a never undertook to say. however. and urged Illinois Republicans to "sustain" Douglas. slavery was found profitable. It should be cate of "pop by no may have been sufficient for opposing means represented the whole of the slavery remembered that Douglas was a fanatical advo "manifest destiny. cessful revolution against the government that had invited them. and became independent. he didn't care whether slavery was voted up or down. . he cared only for whenever and wherever the sacred right of the should people to make that results of decision. early Schuyler Colfax about as as December 14.3 end. There memorialize would have been Gettysburg Address. To the end of his life.4 Then Texas's with Subsequently boundary the end Texas was annexed with as a slave state to the United quarrel of dispute Mexico became the the United States. States. finding that it was not profitable we abolished it for that Clearly. he Douglas. rest of the result being the annexation of California and the land area American southwest. Lincoln's argu secure as ment that the rights of white men could not long rights of black men were not recognized would have been lost. if the "practical" the exercise of that right indif ferent. There was nothing remaining of Mexico or of the rest of means. slavery in Kansas. From Antichrist to Savior in three years! The "season [when] it was seriously may. In would have been sound Republican strategy to support Massachusetts. tried slavery. reason. in any or true meaning of its republic terms as the "sheet American no would have been aban doned. be anything like it. sov" matter. Why the right of the people were have been sacred. Lincoln's and political career would abruptly to an place. Banks In Washington. Had the Republican standard been lowered as Greeley desired. from Douglas's point of view. there were no moral inhibitions against it." with no scruples whatever about lands inhabited added to the by "inferior races. Nathaniel P. As he never tired of saying." It must be remembered subjugating foreign how Texas had been staged a suc United States. to as the the Founding in the minds of American citizens.5 Latin America Mexican that might not peonage might have been acquired by similar Certainly have been combined with American . but that extension threat. Douglas talked with Anson Burlingame oppose southern forming a great new party to disunionists. have been believed that Douglas might become a about one thing: if the clear the gravest of all the crises of the Union. an addition of approximately 40 per cent to the of the United States. Americans had migrated to Mexico. The at essence of "pop sov" is revealed in this passage from the joint debate Alton: and We in Illinois .

either by issued in the same year as the passage of the Kansas- Nebraska Act. first of all. however: returned to have been in 1860. without How the closed ranks behind Douglas in 1858 doing the same in the greater contest of 1860? Douglas Lincoln became rivals for the presidency in 1860 only because of their contest in Illinois in 1858. Lowering could the Republican standard to accommodate Douglas would have lowered Sew ard's place along Republicans have with Lincoln's in the leadership and of the party. he set out to destroy set out therefore. Douglas opponents. Fidel would (long before Castro!) as well no certainly have be doubt as a supplier of to the older states and newer territories. When Lincoln sat down to House Divided speech he faced a triple crisis: one of his own political career. as evidenced to that no other political leader of the time could have was always the most dangerous of political of by his ability to deceive many compose the of the eastern leaders the Republican Party. one of the Republican Party. was with calling for the acquisition of Cuba. He would expansion in fact have his given a vitality slavery done. radical Seward's "Irrepressible speech speech until the antislavery by a Republican leader Lincoln's House Divided speech. If the proslavery South had been more intel proslavery forces in the it would have realized that Douglas could do more was. One thing may be the Senate. and one of the nation. Just as he had persuaded Horace Greeley have "pop sov" was good enough to make Kansas a persuaded Greeley's Cuba opposite numbers free state. have turned to rebuilding his that support in the South. and with his free soil opposi tion effectively neutralized. and Douglas's not made smooth. one who No resourcefulness knows anything of Douglas's political ambition and can doubt that any merger of his political following political with the Republicans would have ended with the Conflict" Republicans was being most the tail of the dog. Lincoln's path to the presidency would have been closed. with a view to 1860. For Lincoln.The Speech That Changed the World 367 slavery to produce the necessary instruments for racial domination. come a slave state slaves its large black population. so he in the South that "pop would sov" was good enough to add and the rest of Latin America to the Union as slave states. as either free destroy Douglas's credentials as a importantly. The Republicans renewed would discover only too late that Douglas had given a vitality to the expansion of slavery. Cuba. ligent than it actually . it is difficult to forecast exactly what the party alignment would taken as certain. He free soil country. but not less his credentials to become again a leader of the or slave. Douglas would. It must also recalled in many respects hard to distinguish that the Ostend manifesto signed by James Buchanan among purchase or others by force. It should also be recalled that California became a free state largely because Chinese labor was found the cheaper and more efficient than slave "coolies" labor. opposed Had Douglas been by Lincoln in 1858. Had that contest not taken place. But the conditions under which labored be were from slavery. Less obviously. to leader.

These same Republicans little. Douglas had many times before. concrete enjoyment "abstract. in any lawful way. in the debates. that this off wizardry. or rather approved of the fact. Lincoln's genius was rather in relentlessly press ing the matter." According to by the Supreme Its the settlers the success of this reply that had persuaded Republicans like Greeley cared that Douglas was their man. however. tactics stature in the South It is unlike sometimes overlooked that throughout the campaign of 1858 Douglas. he said. in one another.368 Interpretation good" for them than any "positive ing the plains of Kansas but in slavery. Lincoln. Douglas. Douglas had accepted the premise that the and Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott represented the tme that therefore any citizen of a slave state might go tory and there lawfully hold his slave as meaning of the Constitution. Calhoun. reference every the joint debates knows. United States. has at peculiar to the famous second question addressed to Douglas Freeport: Can the any people of a citizen of the of a formation United States Territory. that Taney had said. exclude slavery from its limits State Constitution? against the wish of prior to the Don Fehrenbacher has shown.7 On the contrary. it answered was a question that. The South. Buchanan's point man was his Attor one of ney General. throwing Douglas form or his guard. that .6 What was remarkable about the administration attack on Douglas its essential Lincoln's as attack. He and out. Not in contest filibustering south of the border lay the future of subsequent even more The genius of the House Divided speech. Jeremiah Black. and Lincoln's in the joint debates. contrary to was not a sudden stroke of political much popular mythology. What Lincoln did pointed was to make certain that this casuistry did not prevail. which his fellow Court lar a citizens of the territory were free to grant or to withhold. said Douglas. his ability to enjoy this species of property depended upon local legislation. In this way. student of Lincoln's attack. disciple of John C. slavery the In Douglas's casuistry they themselves cheated of fruits of that victory. All federal office holders especially postmasters and replaced by administration owing allegiance to Douglas were fired supporters. The Douglas was political warfare waged by the Buchanan administration against intense. and into any United States Terri property. But. that Douglas was in effect seen "nullifying" Dred Scott. agreement with the sharpest debaters of the was day. and was battling on two fronts. and in hammering home the inner intent inconsistency of Douglas's answers. destroyed Douglas's effectively than in the North. Douglas had agreed. the people of in fact exclude slavery from their midst. had entire national Dred Scott as the certification of their debate over the constitutional status of saw victory in the in the territories. the right of the slaveholder in the Territory recognized was merely might sovereignty" of territory It was depended upon the "popu in the territory.

Yet the South was foolish in lenses Lincoln had speech.The Speech That Changed the World the 369 in property in the territories was "expressly the Constitution. for all we know. as it had been in both 1793 and 1850. the territorial government withheld legislation securing the slaveholders well an property. These same seven states would secede from the Union before Lincoln's inauguration from the Democratic Convention that the was following But it was secession a politically decisive. No one. kindly provided it did. as "expressly fugitives in Article IV of the Constitution. They might then have elected a president who might have done everything both necessary and possible to guarantee the survival cess of slavery. on August 2. Indeed. where geogra soil movement made realized and a militant free have it unlikely that slavery would not could take or else needed They would that if slavery was extended to Cuba. could take an oath to support the vote Constitution as every Congressman did an and yet withhold his from legislation implementing expressly affirmed constitutional right. seven states of Deep South withdrew. the result of the August plebiscite foregone conclusion. NOTES 1. The stages various shifts and changes in the forms of the Lecompton Constitution in the into the details of various in the struggle need not engage us here. firmly code committed to Douglas. refused favor of a slave for the territories. slavery might be flourishing us even now. Lincoln said. then that right stood upon the same slaves as right to hold affirmed" constitu affirmed" tional foundation as the right to reclaim fugitive slaves. in June. "Popular constitutional sovereignty" a means of on nullifying of "expressly affirmed" right placed Douglas This the side the abolitionists! evisceration of "popular sovereignty" by Lincoln in the course of the joint debates had its ultimate fruition in the Democratic National Convention to adopt a resolution in the that met in Charleston in April of 1860. and suc amongst That it does not. . could apply as as to any fugitive slave law. It actually looked at Douglas through them in the debates that followed the House Divided demand for phy root. everyone knew that South that would not accept Stephen A. When the majority in that convention. If this was so. which resulted in the final rejection of Lecompton by the voters 1858. When Lincoln delivered the House Divided was a speech in Kansas Territory. As Don Fehrenbacher has written. the year. Douglas as leader of the Democratic would never accept Party the Abraham Lincoln what as President of the United States. a slave Had they been wise they would have abandoned their code for territories like Kansas or Nebraska. we have the House Divided speech to thank. But the right to reclaim was also a merely abstract or barren right unless implemented by congressional legislation. when Douglas's ever argument against a congressional slave code for the territories. Nor will we enter the English Bill. have where south of the border (as in the case of Texas) they a federal slave code.

It acknowledges that has equal rights with liberty. filibustering for all South of us. and magnifying of Douglas? bune mean by .000 for can the Douglas Democrats. September 10. generally. 6. Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850's (Stanford: Stanford University Press. 3. the Name of the People: Speeches and Writings of Lincoln and Douglas in the Ohio . Lincoln's the eve of the Winter. concluded that the republican cause. it will save us a great sacrificing us here in deal of labor to surrender at by "As yet I have heard of no republican ears of here going or . Once fastened on us as slavery settled policy. Jaffa and Robert Johannsen (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press. 1857. can best be promoted Illinois? If once. 1859. This is a good sample of what was said the Douglas from Buchanan administration side of the political battlefield throughout the 1858 chap. 1962). be seen that five or ten thousand readers of Greeley's Tribune in Illinois could on have exerted powerful leverage the Republicans margin of 4. "The Famous 'Freeport Question. victory or defeat. reprints "Observations on Senator Douglas's Views in Popular Sovereignty" anonymously. and making slave states of it. The by Don E. 1848-1861. . Sov. . follows in spite of us. Lincoln wrote to Lyman Trumbull: "What does the New York Tri Have they its constant eulogising. but if the Tribune continues to din his praises into the its five ten thousand republican readers in Illinois. 1976). sorry any republican inclines to dally with Pop. holding our free state constitutions to be unconstitutional. 121. 7. campaign. in future. 5. and 5.000 for the Buchanan Democrats" (Potter. of any sort. The 354). completed and edited 2. Fehrenbacher (New York: Harper & Row. so we would like to know it soon. 1959).'" . In early Supreme Court decision. edited with an Introduction by Harry V. it is more than can be hoped that all will stand firm. Although published known that the author was black. 320. In December 28.370 Interpretation Impending Crisis. slave-state senators (and electoral votes). It statewide vote of the Republicans in November of 1858 was "about 125. "I am with an 6. it might be divided That is to say.000 for the Repub p. and surrenders all we have contended for. 321. rather than two." apprehensions on the eve of the war were no different from what they had been on 1858 campaign. with the that. and admiring. pp. 1860. weight of he threw the On December 18. in the midst of the "Great Secession to extend the his influence against the Crittenden compromise Missouri line to the Pacific. it against soon was from the Washington Constitution. Campaign of 1859. When Texas consent of was annexed. licans. it was provided Congress into as many as five states. Texas might have added ten. over to Douglas.

Astrophysics" omy. in this sense. The method is the interview with leading practitioners in fields indicated in bare by the headings. Spring 1997. In the left hanging.. Geophysics. interpretation. for a physicist to know all of General" Indeed. Horgan is a competent. 308 pp. Astron of Institute Physics. in distinction to Jay Gould to Noam Chomsky. i.e. well-qualified prosecutor. It means just what it says. 3 . The latter is not equivalent to our Mistrial. He is But. The End of Science (Reading. into a seamless exposition of the concepts involved and Mr. and Not Proven. Vol. At the possible. 1992) runs from "00. Support Facing for the charge that "pure science might be provides both the generating over" force and leitmotiv for his book. life. MA: Addison-Wesley.. 1996). This charge is an armature on which a substantial employed chapter intellectual structure is sculpted. to be able to present time physics. They range from Roger Penrose to Thomas to Stephen Kuhn. it is not even creatively in any and all fields. Were such a and social sciences classification constructed for all of the physical. Alex Harvey x + Emeritus. Horgan's indictment is the amplified a trifle in the subtitle on the jacket: Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age. i. He charges that there is little more of a funda mental character that could be expected to be discovered. but judge are a skillful of paraphrased questions and answers. Not Proven. Everything is Proven.00. to know prosecution of the case there is a great deal of ground Not since the mid-nineteenth century has it been work possible for a scientist all of science. and comments ments made. Horgan's indictment must be judged Not to be covered. 24.Book Reviews John Horgan. there are three possible verdicts in a criminal proceeding: Not Guilty. Guilty. in skills He has for many years capacity he has not only honed his journalistic the leading scientists of our but has had the opportunity to interview many of time. Mr. it might well be the size of the Manhattan White Pages. exact quotations. Queen's College Mr.e. No.. the Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (American to "90. from Steven Weinberg very familiar with the land. does he prove his case? In Scot other Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions. which been a staff writer for Scientific American. $24. and and takes more than 26 pages to list the complete taxonomy. These interviews weaving are not presented Q and A form. scientific evidence.

point. Evolutionary Biology. This problem resides in the nonquantitative sciences. The possi in any given field always exists. entific ror of there are or final chapters entitled "The End Limitology" of "Sci Theology. In a number of that science instances he cial support. God. Horgan fails to even seems overcome a vaguely that he does not fundamental bar to proving his thesis. of he might believers in astrology. These questions and others concerning your favorite science must exemplars science. source of much that entirely beside the This is scarcely to be taken seriously. Cosmology. Both are One recalls readily the sudden increase in funding for space programs when the Russians bility only of a similar unanticipated stimulus successfully launched Sputnik. of This he does by of restricting the discussion to science. but they are largely One speculative. and interesting array Science. of which Horgan combines into Chaoplexity. In end various fields he what attempts to buttress his has little view because For can be accomplished reasons now plished. Horgan his choice of topics. and In addition. is best described efficient when compared very Paul Feyerabend: "Prayer may not be to celestial mechanics. distinction between mathematics quantitative and The fact that of social is employed in various sciences such as some not make them quantitative. e. various cites disparate more is coming to an very nearly been accom can be added. Horgan.. It try too hard. Mr. branches science and economics of does The predictive power economics. Chaos and disciplines: Social Philosophy Science. the choices. It is possibly limited by the number have been able to interview. Neuro- Complexity. or channeling. but is it anything the practice more? It does not seem to have the slightest relevance to of science.372 Interpretation must constrain an Clearly. but it surely holds its own by vis-a-vis some parts of economics. the preparatory reading he had course. Physics. be put to Mr.) His not so broad. The progress? and a "no" criterion should be: Can there be further should be registered with extreme circumspection. If evolutionary biology is have an infinite future? Why is and do paleontology geology coming discipline does discuss many fascinating included? This of science philosophy Popper's concept of is entertain issues. time to absorb. Mr. "reasonable" (In this do not consider choice of of people topics is. a flat earth. "falsifiability" ing." The problem is that if a particular disci- .g. Perhaps he intends his selections to be are and the pessimistic conclusions to be extrapolated to all of Mr. increasing public apathy to science and a drying up of finan There is also a burgeoning Luddite public antipathy to science as a is evil. Horgan's definition of science is broad enough to include almost any context we activity that a reasonable person might call scientific. The result is the eclectic mix noted earlier. and the disciplines chosen to support his thesis." The End Machine Science" and an "Epilogue: The Ter These latter resemble in structure the earlier chapters. The argument over Karl might ask some questions about to an end.

Cosmology titative structure to make clear judgements and even is there the necessary quan here they remain question In the early part of the book reference is made to The Answer [author's emphasis]. only a speculation can be advanced that it has reached its limits. least which it would include the It has gravitational force and provide the masses of the hints. We seem not in this area. The effort was never successful. Without our experimental friends to . Persuasive though the arguments may be. unanswerable and the other will not The first is that the experimental questions are intrinsically is that As data theoreticians feed be available. Theorists are. Georgi. Progress has been into the for unifying the Electrodynamics force the weak forces have been "electroweak" force.. a reason yet to produce other than tantalizing to be pessimistic. then any judgements about it are necessarily At best. the distinguished particle theorist. all it does is emphasize to have a clue to the solution of the Are there no problem of consciousness or self-awareness. This is certainly nicely how wide open manifest in the chapter on neuroscience. after all. In physics this is the Holy Grail. Horgan that progress will become the unanswerable.e. has put it: "The progress of the field is determined in the long run. the modem search for which was initiated when Einstein sought to relativity. Then there is the with so-called standard model electroweak the strong forces. M.Book Reviews pline 373 is essentially qualitative. was a recent suggestion that there might be a fifth sufficient negative experimental made. ever since. There may be two on which die away because the questions have reasons for such a situation to arise. but is This has been seriously addressed in the so-called Grand even these have drawbacks. but unified particles." justifiably contemptuous you an dismissal of free parameters: "Give make me one parameter and I'll draw elephant. There is much yet how it is to be done is no reason not the be done. neutrons. and the even heavier mentary force. for and the absence of a clue as to for pessimism. with the classical electrodynamics of unify his theory of gravitation. breakthroughs to be made here? the chapters on Physics and Only in able. but the concept of unification has been a driving forces and force for physicists To the two forces known to Einstein when he initiated the search there are two more fundamental nonelectrical forces: the and "weak" which mediate the interactions the of electrons of positrons the "strong" force ele which governs interactions There protons. The result is a with theory One with remarkable predictive powers but too many troublesome loose ends parameters. It has too many adjustable recalls Eugene Wigner's wiggle. they can hardly be conclusive. i. give me two and I'll its tail Unified Theories to or GUTS. to be considered the last word. elementary but that is scarcely suggests particles. reason String theory is that one of the regions being explored. parasites. qualitative. by the progress of experimental particle physics. general Maxwell. This situation pertains in all the areas he covers save physics and cosmology. While it explores some of the conflicting opinions the field is. data killed that and possibility. H.

Horgan is acutely aware that looking over his shoulder as he and the people he interviews judge science to be entering its twilight years is the sim ilarity of this judgement to that started made almost a Max Planck advised his doctoral studies by his mentor that there was century ago. as in particle physics. And even if it did is it would have provided all the information needed to make deci not guarantees. general relativity. To this elementary particle interactions the initial phases of the about cosmology. Cosmology. We cannot. larger the accelerator. Georgi seen refers to. It is said that when in the late nineteenth century he was little more to be done in physics beyond well tying up In 1894 of some at the loose ends and that of the dedication everything was Ryerson Physical more known and understood. run an experiment to mation. This leaves open the possibility of a succe. Both the Electromagnetic forces. A cosmological model is then nothing more or less than a solution of the Einstein field equations. Thus. weak and bang. mology is discussed solely within the context of the Einstein theory of general relativity. doubt that it cessfully must stands or falls with Einstein's This is not a stable configuration. firmly . obtain some specific infor We must take what the Hubble telescope and our radio and optical telescopes provide. including the idea that the whole structure may take a different form. As observations are refined so will be our distinguish able and select a whether best candidate among the various models. It also is quantitative. . Albeit Michelson of physical science said.f theory to general relativity being found one day." "big being important in understanding There are several things to be understood as The only force are short forces strong at work range. Data only by observation. there is no consensus. Our only choice we adjoin is what we will observe and record. is the study of the structure and dynamics of the universe on a Here Mr. Here we have Congress termi not there machine. cancel out by virtue of having both attraction and repulsion. None of these questions is intrinsically accelerator ever unanswerable. Horgan has a stronger case. would the ultimate globe-circling built? There are many open questions here.374 do the Interpretation real work. which are long cos range. ability to We will be the to decide the presently observed expansion will continue or universe will reverse and contract to a big crunch. we might as well philos be mathematicians or More and more data at higher the and higher energies are what Dr. in this domain is gravitation. thus. and there is little Despite massive effort this has not been suc There seem to and accomplished. Mr. Money provides possibility And even if limitless be money were available. but are obtainable there is an important difference. be quantized. In this case the problems of cosmology are once again open to reconsideration. The higher the energy nate funding for the huge Waxahachie no guarantee sive progress. be as many schemes to this end being pursued as there are pursuers. "The all important fundamental laws and these are now so facts have been discovered. General relativity is a classical theory. Cosmology global scale. Laboratory at the University and Chicago.

in the Introduction there is the statement: "Many physicists. . sense that there is of Mr. level. Einstein's at tempt at unification involved These are minor matters. but early thirties. For instance. single. That he does not convincingly. an expert in any one of the fields will find something objection able. groundbreaking discoveries do thereafter always be competent younger physicists so at to It is thus questionable that the elder statesmen of the discipline are the best qualified psychologically to make predictions about great new discoveries just beyond the horizon. It is known that and physicists who make in their twenties the highest make. Without doubt. looked for in the tion sixth place of decimals. had into a tried and failed to fuse 'unified' quantum mechanics and general . and smoothly past the mind's eye. overview sented. Nonetheless the book is For each of the a fields covered. Horgan than no be a straight question-and-answer format. from the last two chapters and the epilogue. In some report seems a debate. This is in instances his way objection It provides a certain spice. . They will not be the ones doing the discovering. The nonexpert in any of the disciplines treated might enjoy reading the book. well general expect to profit as well as glides written. of the subject at the technical are well level of very fine state-of-the-art Scientific American is pre somewhat They in focussed and very effective more if idiosyncratic would idiosyncratic in the manifest able.Book Reviews established that the new 375 possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of discoveries is exceedingly remote Our future discoveries must be ." Mr. relativity This is incorrect. It is supple. No. apart the verdict must be Not Proven. . Horgan do reproduces this predic in order to refute well it. seamless theory. They will great discoveries will be for other. relativity and classical electrodynamics. but not of sufficient importance to vitiate the entire chapter. beginning with Einstein. well worth reading. .


Protarchus may be too the intense pleasures. opinions or How then does the most philosopher differ from "there is a this the aesthete? range of He differs in that the experience beautiful is also the truest: and human that is incorrigibly false. order to articu late and interpret what is the best of His "way." ability to enjoy many thinking (either at the merely instrumental to pleasure. not of the body and its actions. Protarchus argues that without wants a combines pleasure and thought." he says. from the in a beauty that reflects a "divide between man as man and such radical man as political animal that abstraction denies" poetry (p. 15). Spring 1997. as Yogi Berra said. 3 . particularly sexual pleasures. is life that one to throw his interlocutors into "perplexity" (p. that to being. Socrates knowledge know one is being pleasured and that thought therefore outranks optimistic about pleasure." where the tme good xi). for the poetry" (p. Vol.. while same time or at many other times). the recognition of is known to the soul. Socrates does say that genesis sake of and being are distinct. Protarchus. which "did philosophy" is impossible. that genesis is for the a good means and being. It is true that body farther above the city. The Tragedy and Comedy of Life: Plato's Philebus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. finally. he is it seeks. xiv + 250 pp. xi). Socrates he initiated the dialogue in human possessions. Is. Socrates has not exactly replaced the good beautiful. consists of This book two main parts: a translation of the Philebus and Besays nardete's commentary. 1993). 24. then how does philosophy differ from poetry in kind? Benardete answers that philosophy's beauty is a beauty of the mind and its thoughts. If means. ix). No. ix). "You can't hit and think Socrates may not show by this argument that thought is not at the same time." finally replaces the good with the beautiful in his the Benardete states (p. not educate [the philosopher] either in its (p. Will Morrisey Seth In the Philebus "Socrates goods. which is always trying to divine itself and "hides from the enchantments of is. more beau of discourse" poetry" "better" tiful.50. $37. beautiful with the the true good? In that case. Philosophy's superiority to summary but in its ability poetry "cannot lie in the neutral impersonality of its "to tell a better story than (p. ix). well aware of the difference between the good end He suggests a solution to the problem by are tme and closest false pleasures. then.Benardete. is would not a man who wants to have it all. the life "in which one should choose the saying that there kind of life that is pain. but that only makes it more beautiful. but thought- there was neither joy nor interpretation. His principal interlocutor here.

"the fled for us into the nature of the beautiful" (p. Soc in turned away from the teleological physics that previous philosophers had myths. cannot grasp the truth. 91). 72). it is similarly ranked. . the first the quarrel of philoso when phers with poets concerning for the status of myths the other human. Human pleasure is double: tragic or comic. . the most intense plea He distinguishes thought not eliminate and pleasure while subordinating the latter. offered as a replacement The uniqueness of the not Philebus the consists mentioning city and almost mentioning the law. Philebus does We are forced to wonder . In that sense the beautiful "replaces" the good. an understanding that "is by in the way" nate way. purer. But tragedy or comedy. and measure be prior to pleasure. Some knowledge is clearer. that it is activity that cannot have a beginning always strictly determined kind. 67). But again. nature always same (p. The death or senility also cuts short his quest without affecting the and ends almost philosopher's own unending life of philosophy itself. (P. It begins in medias has 'missing' a beginning. whatever the human good turns out to be. 88) cosmological Philosophy rates has two beginnings. any blending requires measure. The dialogue res and so itself embodies these concepts. (P. does requires that mind power of it. for that issue must be settled once and for all if the philosopher is not to be in doubt about the good of philosophy as the human good. 91) . it is not informed by any social (p. Socrates finds insufficiently about Socrates does sure. Protarchus easily grasps this point in the abstract but applies it in an unfortu Asked if there is a truest understanding. Protarchus rhetoric Gorgias' mentions pure. than other knowledge. Benardete comments that measure requires the concepts of the limited and the unlimited. and. Measure is beautiful. there. else philosophy col- . combination. even though the philosopher begins somewhere in the neighborhood of the true beginning of philosophy every question short of the answer he has set out to find. opinion that rhetoric is the best not art. As for knowledge.378 Interpretation possible" ful thinking as pure as (p. "All of morality is out of bounds in the Philebus. Socrates the good has says. 90). . alone or in "Philosophy must be by itself the truth of comedy and tragedy and the good of human life" (p. say that thought is or brings and. 81). but it cannot represent the true state of the issue of the human good. whether the unbounded an not represent something essential about or an end of a philosophy. must reflect the The dissatisfaction that Protarchus feels unfinishable character of at the end of the Philebus any true philosophical question. . The argument of the Philebus must come to a nonarbitrary end while it opens up everything else. not virtues" its presentation of Socrates after his 'turn' Laws treat human perplexity by answering questions with finality.

tends toward tyr anny. the morality. how to know in advance that the which settled practically by providence or necessity. at least in his own mind (although if he he preaches he would free). The desire to maximize pleasure and thought simultaneously is Utopian. and that a new effort rowing. reasoning life is best. is a way of life. the limits of philo inquiry 'poetic' and who needs thought yields a political sort In Protarchus. Protarchus needs to want a that the The "second sees first sailing. the purgative elevation of lords of misrule. holiday" is Mardi Gras. gets one nowhere nearer the truth. the oppo he does not know his He wants moral own true powers or his own true weaknesses. the feast As for the philosopher. moral-political That the life and of reason a certainty concerning the human good denied to men and mindless not without hedonists. The moral-political life represents a 'third independent of either philoso well" way. whose desire for self-sufficiency forever sophic 'participate' contradicts his real dependence on others. Protarchus fails to achieve such perfectly free self-determination. even if very fortunate. Socrates the Athenian Stranger deals with his interlocutors. but each of the other ways of many particulars that life has its own funny form of idealism: the too-political man. as hedo nism's limit is the thoughtlessness that demarcation set upon precludes knowing you're having a good time. beyond practiced the rhetoric site of opinion. as certain limits are inevitable in any life. wants certainty without Socratic "free own men" dom from the and gods and other very much to know its ignorance quest- thereby arrives at for-certitude. Protarchus is well beyond the first sailing. he does not want to know that he does not know. on the winds divine inspiration. the problem of the one is its problems the many being perhaps the foremost of of among them of does not of course problem of Socrates' escape notice. The of the moral-political man fools. 106). A eager to win. then. than he is interested in mix pleasure and pleasure" rhetorician unbound by the laws. this is the how to rationally the reason. Not only is hedonism "a conceives pleasure as a kind of univer in it. that thought is needed to sort them science of pleasure. "To be silly is a privilege of the wise on idealism" (p. This actually may be would thus set a make the origin of philosophy unfree. 109). the (in a sense) too-philosophic man. Socrates. and lower limit on the philoso- . or at least not to lose. which funny form of sal with (p. using one's own powers public is necessary. 94). but one of potentially the most dangerous type. It is unprovidential or random. Socrates or cannot as deal with him he deals with the respectable sober but waver ing Crito. of them. He is not yet at the second sailing. in that find himself dependent. "Protarchus is more (p. means 'Protarchus' first beginning (p. the attempt to of soul.Book Reviews lapses back into not 379 poetry. an apolitical-political as man. and must convince Protarchus that there out and rank sailing" are many pleasures. 103).' phy or the life of pleasure. as "Socrates stands just for thinking in all its purity but for the effort to think as (p. choose In terms life the life of philosophy. 107). Plato's whose life delineates rescue. Philosophy.

219). else there would be no distinction tween a philosopher and the village atheist. be the philosopher does laugh. The human soul by does not rest content nor can if it never could. Some simply do not incline to laugh the entire basis of Antigone's souls more than satisfied belief. Obviously. Socrates implies. Few bring themselves to live happily according to this disenchanted truth. 202). pain" To recognize this is to abandon "the psychology of pleasure and and (what finally just and the pious mirrors that psychology?) the hopes of reward for the (p. which is not a pleasur souls soul to recognize it. . the purposeless pleasures of rest or hedonism would suffice gives it "simply postulate a goal outside itself that the soul no taste of its own goodness. 236). "Socrates nobility" rejects with a (p. (p. is goods" an exact account of one's own "Self-knowledge. lack of self-knowledge is nature more comic than tragic. The truth the philosopher uncovers is "the truth of structure" our perplexities and their able truth.380 pher's Interpretation freedom. 199). although necessary it is good for the (p.

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