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[Writer’s name]

[Professor’s name]

[Course title]


Relation of Literature to the Present Era

I was slightly apprehensive, at the beginning, to compare the two timeless pieces of

literature and drawing a relationship to the present age. The question reverberating in my

mind was that is it possible to relate two old pieces of texts, one written about 2800 years ago

and the other 400 years ago, with the current era? But a cursory glance towards both the texts

made me realize why they are declared as timeless. They are still as fresh as they were at the

time of their conception and they tell the same story of human nature which hasn’t changed

much in the last 3000 years or so. It is true that we are living in the age of Internet, Beckham

and Britney but the basic human characteristics, like love; hatred; deceit; loyalty etc., are still

very much the same.

The storytellers and dramatists of all the times have tried to display nearly the same

facets of human nature. The only discernible difference between the modern day story writing

and that of the Greek and Elizabethan periods is the mediocrity of protagonists. The

traditional heroes of Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Hamlet were shown to be superior

in one way or other, and their fall results from a misunderstanding, which was a result of

some judgmental flaw or error. Usually the drama is provided by an excessive pride causing

the hero to neglect a godly warning or to break a sacred law. But the modern day writers

focus on the common men’s tendencies of being played in the hands of fate. This “tyranny of

destiny” angle is something that links all the aforementioned eras.
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The love for his father which Hamlet has felt was shared by Telemachus of Odyssey

and also by every one of us. The loyalty, faithfulness and love of Athena and Ophelia are no

rarity even in these times.

The avenging tendency of Hamlet and Odysseus is another proof of the human

fallibility when the pain and suffering can no longer be ignored. Odysseus on a number of

occasions used deceit as a shield against those who use it as a weapon. The modern day

phrase of paying someone in his own currency reflects the similar thinking pattern.

Most notable aspect of the texts is their intricate and subtle representation of the

human relationships. These relationships are used as metaphors for the human need and sense

of belonging, even a person living in a modern day metropolis feels the same kind of linkage

with his/her parents living in suburbs.

Another worth mentioning similarity between these texts and the present age is the

greed of money, power and sex. Human beings from the start of times are insatiable by

nature. Whether it is the act of Claudius killing his own brother for throne, Gertrude marrying

Claudius for money and power or the act of Odysseus’s men of opening the bags, given by

the king of the island of winds, in quest for treasure, all these examples only strengthens the

above mentioned hypothesis of human hunger for money, power and sex.

In the end we can conclude by saying that storytellers are part of our society and they

usually tend to narrate their own observations of human behavior and psychology, in a sugar-

coated way, therefore, it is no surprise that the storytellers 2800 years apart are talking about

the same issues. As the same race inhabits the planet earth for all this period it is difficult to

say that the two texts are completely irrelevant to the current state of affairs.

Works Cited

Homer; Fagles, R. (Tr.). The Odyssey/ The Iliad. Viking Adult; Gift Edition. 1996.

Shakespeare, W. Hamlet. Barron's Educational Series. 2001.

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