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Choose one of the questions below for your essay response. You are not required to include outside research for this essay. Your paper should be 5 – 6 typed, double-spaced pages. Remember to support your opinions by reference to the texts, and be sure to quote passages from the literary texts. Please see the (attached) English Department’s rubric for the grading criteria.In his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton recounts the story of the revolt of Satan and his banishment from Heaven, and the Fall of man and his expulsion from Eden. Compare the Adam and Eve in the Biblical Genesis to their counterparts in Milton’s work.Although Milton’s Eve has a jealous and possessive impulse, one cannot ignore her other noble impulses of love and self-sacrifice. On some occasions, Eve is at least Adam’s equal in both intellect and argumentative power. Her desire to work apart may be based on pride and wandering vanity, as Adam says, but the poem does not allow us to assess her motives. Eve argues for freedom and growth, while Adam argues for prudence, playing it safe, and stasis. Rather than causing the Fall of mankind, is Eve in fact the heroine of Paradise Lost?Satan is often considered to be the epic hero of Paradise Lost. Throughout the text, Milton’s God is described as a tyrant, whereas Satan is a compassionate leader of the underdog. Regretting his actions, Satan feels ashamed of his vain boast to subdue God and laments that Adam and Eve have found happiness in Eden, while Hell is his prison. His evil intentions result from exclusion rather than callous apathy. Satan appears more emotional and less conniving than the devil of Biblical renown and assumes a heroic position in early modern works, primarily because he encourages individuality, and because people could identify with his conflicted desires and personality flaws (his willfulness, courage, and endurance dwindle to “ire, envy, and despair”). Do you feel sympathetic to Milton’s Satan?The 1997 movie “The Devil’s Advocate” directed by Taylor Hackford shares similar themes with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Goethe’s Faust. Choose one of the three essay questions: a) Both Dorian Gray and the talented novice attorney Kevin Lomax (played by Keanu Reeves) lack father figures, and both are influenced by their wicked mentors to indulge in pleasure and to commit sin. Hackford’s film features Al Pacino, who plays Satan in disguise as the head of a major international law firm, and who is a charming and persuasive mentor to a naïve and impressionable protagonist. Pacino’s character – named John Milton – sees women as entertainment for men, and has disturbing thoughts about women. As Kevin’s boss, he intentionally keeps the young man busy and away from his wife Mary by having Kevin devote all of his time to the law firm, encouraging Kevin’s sinful tendencies. Similarly, Lord Henry is a toxic influence on Dorian in regards to his misogynistic views on women, and the jaded aristocrat is cynical about marriage. Both protagonists allow temptation and vanity to dominate their lives, though they are warned by a loved one of what the future could hold for them: Kevin has a religious mother, Alice, who asks her son to turn to God and to pray for light to enter his life, while Dorian has Basil, a compassionate friend who tries to keep the naive young man sheltered from the world and also advises Dorian to follow his higher soul. Compare and contrast Wilde’s novel and Hackford’s highly entertaining film.b) Analyze similarities between “The Devil’s Advocate” and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.c) You may also compare this film with Goethe’s Faust, who sold his soul to the devil, as the Faustian legend did in fact serve as an inspiration for this film.Milton’s Satan shares undeniable parallels with Lord Henry Wotton as both characters are great orators who are very persuasive and wish to manipulate and to corrupt others. Both diabolical figures are tempters who encourage immorality and express a strong dislike and disregard for the conventions of society. Dorian Gray, much like Milton’s Satan, experiences a physical degradation due to his moral corruption, though both do possess a conscience. Dorian also shares many characteristics – such as beauty, vanity, individualism, selfishness, sinful self-indulgence, a weak will, and remorse – with another Miltonic counterpart: Eve. Compare and contrast Paradise Lost and The Picture of Dorian Gray. (Please see my sample essay for this question in the same module)The film “American Psycho”, a psychological thriller that was released in the year 2000 and was based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, shares similarities with Oscar Wilde’s novel. The film’s central character Patrick Bateman, a wealthy Wall Street banking executive, shares parallels with Dorian Gray as both protagonists are narcissistic, vain, self-obsessed, and misogynistic. Both young men indulge in excessive material consumption, both are driven by rage, and both characters commit murder. Compare/ contrast Wilde’s novel and this film.In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian’s nature is gray as good and evil are locked in combat within him. “Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget. When I close my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something different. I don’t know which to follow”, exclaims Dorian to his diabolical mentor. Just as the hedonist Lord Henry Wotton is the voice of evil, the morally virtuous Sibyl Vane – reinforced by Basil Hallward – is the voice of goodness in Dorian. When Sibyl dies, Basil becomes exclusively the voice of goodness for the impressionable young man. Dorian starts his inner journey caught between the caution of Basil, the dispassionate logic of Lord Henry, and the passionate zeal of Sibyl. Discuss Dorian’s inner turmoil – the battle between his higher soul and lower soul – throughout Wilde’s novel: how do Lord Henry, Sibyl, and Basil reflect Dorian’s inner conflict between good and evil?
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