Critical Lens Essay Quotes

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Duff Brenna once said, “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason, that motivates characters in literature.” This quotation implies that characters act according to how they feel at a particular moment, without a sense of purpose. This emotion forces a character to act rashly and tactlessly. The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy, and Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, both feature characters that are motivated by emotion rather than reason.


In The Mayor of Casterbridge, the characterization of Henchard shows that emotions are a controlling factor of a character’s actions. When Henchard’s emotions overcame his reason, he sold his wife and daughter for five guineas. Although Henchard loved his wife and daughter, when he was inebriated enough, alcohol and his bad emotions suddenly took over. Henchard felt that his family was hindering his economic and social growth. Rashly, Henchard feels that he doesn’t need his family as a burden so he sells them. Had Henchard thought about what he was doing, he would have stopped immediately but at that moment all his emotion for prosperity were motivating Henchard to get rid of them.


In Macbeth, it is emotion, not reason, that compels Macbeth to murder his king and fellow warrior. Macbeth tries to apply reason to the predictions of the three witches. He is “aided” in his reasoning by his wife who convinces Macbeth that he is deserving of the crown. However, Macbeth’s passion for kingship ultimately leads to King Duncan’s demise. When considering the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth’s reason conflicts with his ambition. In addition, Macbeth wants to defeat the prophecy that fellow warrior Banquo will give forth kings. Macbeth’s emotion and hatred causes him to kill Banquo, believing that with Banquo dead his progeny will not achieve the crown. However, this is incorrectly applied as Fleance, son of Banquo, escapes. Macbeth failed to look at the whole picture using his reasoning and therefore he was defeated.








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Nicholas Cage once said that, “I like flawed characters because somewhere in them I see more of the truth.” This quotes means that characters are much more unrealistic when they are perfect. Characters with flaws give the reader a more accurate view of humanity because all people have flaws.

The short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst and “The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe are two works of literature that support this quote. In both of these works, it is evident that the two main characters from both stories both have very tragic flaws. These make the story more interesting to read because after reading it reveals the true nature of mankind. “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst shows that the narrator of the story has tragic flaws and being embarrassed of his disabled brother so he teaches him to walk. This short story is about the narrator trying to teach his disabled brother Doodle to walk because he is embarrassed to be related to someone who cannot walk.

The narrator eventually strains his brother to do more than walking. This short story supports the quote because the narrator is taking pride into training his little brother to walk because he is embarrassed to have a brother who can’t walk. The narrator pushes his brother into using his legs and walk. In the story it switches from person to person from person to self.

The author’s use of Characterization and conflict help to set the mood of the story. These literary elements help set the mood of the story which makes it more interesting to read as well as showing we can get too much pride over something. In conclusion an imperfect narrator or one with tragic flaws makes the story more interesting to the reader. It also reveals truth that people do not think of the consequences of what they are doing.

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe shows that the narrator of the story wants to finally get his revenge on a man who has pride in his wine. This short story is about a man who wants to seek revenge on his friend Fortunato because of his great pride in wine. This short story supports the quote “I like flawed characters because somewhere in them I see more of the truth.” Because the narrator of the story wants to seek revenge on a man named Fortunato by using reverse psychology to get his drunk and then murdering him.

Everything in the story was planned by the narrator. The author’s use of setting and suspense helped the reader feel like they were in the story as well as makes it more interesting and reveals the truth that all humans are all revengeful at some point. In conclusion the narrator of this story is imperfect which makes this story more interesting. In conclusion, the quote by Nicolas Cage “ I like flawed characters because somewhere in them I see more of the truth.” means that characters are more realistic when they are not perfect. The titles “The Scarlet Ibis” and “The cask of Amontillado” both support this idea.

“The Scarlet Ibis” supports this quote because the narrator of the story is embarrassed to be with his brother Doodle because he is unable to walk. “The Cask of Amontillado” also supports this quote because the narrator of the story is imperfect because he is using reverse psychology to kill the man named Fortunato. This issue can connect to the real world because not only are characters from stories imperfect but people are also imperfect and have many flaws which is what makes us human beings.

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