Trickery and deceit characterized the relationship of literature

trickery and deceit characterized the relationship of literature

the connection between deception and blessing in the Jacob cycle was met with .. Humphreys is interested in the literary characterization of God in Genesis. I will use key concepts such as deception, parent-child relationships, adult child, and The Lies that Lie in the Literature: Literature Review .. Given that I have characterized the individuals involved in adult child-parent. The purpose of this inquiry is to define self-deception, its potential, be a deception—we turn to literary characters for insight, namely Jean-Baptistein Camus's some type of understanding, similar to William James' link between attention and meaning. .. In Mother Night, Vonnegut's characterization of Howard Campbell.

The following passage suggests a purpose to his motivated forgetting: In the interest of fairness, it should be said that sometimes my forgetfulness was praiseworthy. You have noticed that there are people whose religion consists in forgiving all offenses, and who do in fact forgive them but never forget them?

According to his nature, he would then admire my nobility of character or scorn my ill breeding without realizing that my reason was simpler: I had forgotten his very name.

The same infirmity that often made me indifferent or ungrateful in such cases made me magnanimous. Camus Notice that at the same time Baptiste is confessing his forgetfulness, he paradoxically identifies the individuals he has supposedly forgotten. Therefore, he has not really forgotten, nor has he exchanged forgetting for forgiveness.

Consider another instance of his lapse in memory: I dreamed of all that and did none of it, or if I did something of the sort, I have forgotten it.

Motivated forgetting contributes to his positive self-image. Jean-Baptiste avoided telling the man in the bar that he did nothing to prevent a woman from committing suicide only later does the reader make this unsettling discovery. The following passage suggests that though he avoided dealing with the woman at the time, it affected him: Whether ordinary or not, it served for some time to raise me above the daily routine and I literally soared for a period of years, for which to tell the truth, I still long in my heart of hearts.

I soared until the evening when. Camus Again we confront a paradox: Psychological research on memory suggests that the suppression of a painful thought can lead to an obsession with the suppressed memory Wegner et al. Do not think of a white bear. When we attempt to forget an experience that is rooted in reality and painful to behold, the complexity may be attenuated.

Camus, a keen observer of human experience, recognized that multiple themes define the overall project of self-deception. But it was another kind of laugh; rather like the one I had heard on the Pont des Arts. Baptiste realizes the absurdity of his actions as a lawyer when he questions his own arguments. Laughter serves to close the gap between the disparity of what he believes and how he presents himself; Jean-Baptiste laughs to avoid the pain of incongruity.

Jean-Baptiste is playing the part of a lawyer, and as Sartre contends, we assume any convenient role in order to avoid making decisions. When the role gains ascendance over self, we can simply respond reflexively to its demands by thinking and feeling nothing. His lack of awareness is evident throughout his confession: Why, shortly after the evening I told you about, I discovered something.

When I would leave a blind man on the sidewalk to which I had convoyed him, I used to tip my hat to him.

trickery and deceit characterized the relationship of literature

To whom was it addressed? After playing my part, I would take the bow. Camus 47 To be sure, I occasionally pretended to take life seriously. But very soon the frivolity of seriousness struck me and I merely went on playing my role as well as I could.

The dictates of the role, in turn, provide a false sense of consistency. But I was aware only of the dissonance and disorder that filled me; I felt vulnerable and open to public accusation.

In my eyes my fellows ceased to be the respectful public to which I was accustomed. In short, the moment I grasped that there was something to judge in me, I realized that there was in them an irresistible vocation for judgment. Yes, they were there as before, but they were laughing. By refusing to acknowledge faults in himself and constructing a view of self without them, he can easily defend against the judgments of others. To combat it, Baptiste practices diffusion: But to be happy it is essential not to be concerned with others.

Consequently, there is no escape. Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched. Spitefulness is the only possible ostentation. People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves. Camus 80 Now my words have a purpose.

They have the purpose, obviously, of silencing the laughter, of avoiding judgment personally, though there is apparently no escape. Is not the great thing that stands in the way of our escaping it the fact that we are the first to condemn ourselves? Therefore it is essential to begin by extending the condemnation to all, without distinction, in order to thin it out at the start. Camus The sting of incongruent information can be softened: Rather than hold himself responsible, he attributes the characteristics to everyman.

The more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you. Even better, I provoke you into judging yourself, and this relieves me of that much of the burden. If I find something undesirable within myself, then, whether they are aware of it or not, other people must have this same attribute. If everyone else possesses this negative characteristic, then there is nothing particularly wrong with me. At the center of this discussion is the Captain, Edward Vere.

The plot concerns Billy Budd, a moral young sailor, who accidentally kills his superior, John Claggart, the evil master-at arms. When this event occurs, Vere must make a crucial decision: Should he uphold naval law and condemn Billy to death, or do what is morally right, opt for another punishment, and let him live?

He knows that Claggart falsely accused Billy of mutiny. He also knows that Billy has a speech impediment, and therefore has to resort to using his fist to defend against the accusation. He states of Claggart: The reader immediately notices a conflict arising in Vere. He considers Billy an angel, but believes that he must sentence him to death. How can one condemn an angel to death? In deceiving himself, Vere, like our other literary characters, is able to justify his actions and resolve the struggle.

The work itself is rather deceptive, so we must look beyond what is stated, when an index is given, to what is implied about this struggle. Knowledge of the world assuredly implies the knowledge of human nature, and in most of its varieties. Yes, but a superficial knowledge of it, serving ordinary purposes. But for anything deeper, I am not certain whether to know the world and to know human nature be not two distinct branches of knowledge, which while they may coexist, yet either may exist with little or nothing of the other.

Melville 75 This exchange suggests that one may be knowledgeable of the world, or reality, yet create a division between an understanding of human nature, or the identity of true self, and consciousness.

For one who accepts reality and perceives himself accurately, there is no division: The story is so solidly filled out as to suggest dimensions in all directions.

Forty years after a battle it is easy for a non-combatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to direct the fighting while involved. Much so with respect to other emergencies involving considerations both practical and moral, and when it is imperative promptly to act. Little ween the snug card-players in the cabin of the responsibilities of the sleepless man on the bridge.

Vere knows what is morally right, yet tries to deceive not only himself, but other as well. He knows that this decision is questionable, and, in the end, an open meeting might have prevented the homicide.

Billy did kill Claggart, but it was unintentional and precipitated by a serious, false accusation. He seemed unmindful of the circumstance that to his bluff company such remote allusions, however pertinent they might really be, were altogether alien to men whose reading was mainly confined to the journals.

Their honesty prescribes to them directness, sometimes far-reaching like that of a migratory fowl that in its flight never heeds when it crosses a frontier. Melville 63 This description clearly illustrates that Vere is not concerned with reality.

He bars this information from awareness with cognitive censors in order to reduce the likelihood of experiencing the pain or anxiety inherent in facing reality. His denial ultimately destroys both himself and Billy. Scholars familiar with the work of Melville know that he is a master at the art of ambiguity, a deceptive, yet effective literary device.

He uses ambiguity as sly indexes to how we should read the narrative. The narrative should bring us to certain realizations concerning self-deception, not personal opinions concerning specific events. The following passage describes the closeted interview between Vere and Billy.

Between the entrance into the cabin of him who never left it alive, and him who when he did leave it left it as one condemned to die.

Melville The reader must ask himself: Is the narrator referring to Vere or to Billy? Self-deception, in general, can be described as the condemnation of the truth and the killing of reality. Like most of us, Vere is not a one-dimensional deviant who enthusiastically embraces evil, but as he continues down a path of deception, he is more than able to sacrifice a human life.

trickery and deceit characterized the relationship of literature

The plan is that Nazi war secrets will be encoded in his radio broadcasts, thereby aiding allied forces. On the surface, Campbell will appear to be a Nazi, but he is actually an allied supporter. Note that Vonnegut begins the work with a moral to the tale: Campbell relays secret messages to Allied Forces, but because they are embedded in Nazi propaganda and delivered so persuasively, he inspires the Germans.

In the end, we must ask: The following dialogue between Campbell and another character expounds on this question: If not Campbell, who was this renowned Nazi propagandist? I would let you wander off to wherever spies go when a war is over. But I doubt that he was that subtle a man, man of many parts as he was.

The comments concerning Eichmann can easily be applied to Campbell. If he acknowledged his actions, his false self-concept would collapse. In the end, the reader is left at precisely the same point as Campbell himself: To begin, the bird appears and is greeted with unmitigated enthusiasm: Coleridge paints a portrait of relatedness that is positive and glowing, ending with the literal sheen of the moon: It is at precisely at this point that the listener interrupts and asks: He [the spirit] loved the bird that loved The man who shot him with his bowitalics mine.

Lacking any apparent motive, he slays the bird just the same. This act stems from his will, yet lacks conscious intention. It was committed not as an expression of self, but for reasons unknown. The subtlety with which Coleridge conveys self-deception becomes apparent because even at the moment the Albatross falls away, the Mariner remains unaware: A spring of love gushed from my heart, And I bless them unaware: Liturgical Press,31 fn.

Furthermore, the biblical text itself does not imply that the fruit is what ultimately leads to the death of the man and woman. One might argue that part of her punishment can be attributed to her lie, but there is no textual evidence to defend such a view. The act of lying itself appears to be insignificant to Yahweh here. In this story, he curses the man and woman because they disobey his command v. Westminster Press, Peter Lang, Though the sequence ends with Yahweh angry at Cain, this can be attributed solely to the act of murder.

The narrator is explicit about the reason for the curse and outlines the terms of the curse itself v. Therefore, they decide to say she is his sister v. Abram immediately becomes prosperous as a result of this deception v. Williams argues that the text does in fact evaluate the lie negatively, since Pharaoh chastises Abram and exiles him from Egypt v.

We see that Abram continues to enjoy wealth Commentators have noted similarities with the Flood story. Lot and his family are the only survivors of a catastrophe who must start over and re-populate the land.

The text makes no explicit judgment regarding this deception. Even in its final form, the narrative appears to simply serve as an etiology of the Moabite and Ammonite tribes. We may safely assume that his motive for doing so is the same as in In fact, he says that if Abimelech would have slept with Sarah, it would have still been considered sinful and he would have been put to death v.

Deception and Trickery in the Book of Genesis | Daniel Sarlo -

This completely ignores 10 Claus Westermann, Genesis 12— The Moabites and the Ammonites were not originally viewed as enemies of Israel, rather the Israelites were ordered not to make war with them Deut 2: Von Rad sees in the final form of the text an indirect assessment of Lot and his family as morally depraved. Even if this is accepted, and here the text is ambiguous, we should understand that the negative judgment is due to the incest rather than the deception.

See Von Rad, Genesis, — God proceeds to tell Abimelech that Abraham is a prophet and that he must seek his blessing. Thus Abraham is held up as righteous, and one who works in harmony with God. Abimelech is still considered guilty for abducting Sarah, pending his making amends with Abraham, which involves giving him livestock and servants.

Therefore, Abraham is made rich by means of his own deception, while Abimelech is at a loss through no fault of his own. Furthermore, one cannot say, as Williams does, that Abraham is not exonerated. While his lie is acknowledged, he is never chastised or punished, and so has nothing to be exonerated for.

As far as he was concerned, he was about to offer him as a sacrifice.

He may have aroused suspicion if he announced that his son would not return from the excursion. Therefore, the lie was probably 12 Williams, Deception in Genesis, Does this signify some feeling of guilt on his part?

As we have seen, Yahweh is not shown to have any problem with deception, and the primary concern of the Ancient Israelite was his standing in the eyes of his god.

This, once again, demonstrates that devices such as lying were seen only as tools towards an end that was either acceptable or disgraceful to God. He says that God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering. In reality, he is sure that he is about to kill Isaac — there is no lamb involved. However, this lie ensures that Isaac continues up the mountain. Abraham is praised for his willingness to sacrifice his son and the ancestral promise is reiterated v.

Isaac tells Abimelech that Rebekah is his sister, though she is not. This time, there is no denying that the liar enjoys only positive results. Isaac prospers in his land; he reaps one hundred times more barley in that year and is blessed by Yahweh v. Only after he becomes extremely wealthy does Abimelech ask him to leave. The implication is that he is too great to be there and the Philistines do not feel worthy to be in his presence v.

See Deception in Genesis, It was customary in the Ancient Near East for the firstborn to be treated better and given a greater share of the family inheritance, which included property and blessing. That being said, it was possible for the firstborn to forfeit this blessing, usually as a result of a sinful act, but possibly through sale or contract. First, Jacob deprives Esau of stew, though he is weak from working in the field, forcing him to hand over his birthright in order to partake of a meal.

Thiselton, Thiselton on Hermeneutics: Eerdmans, This is very presumptuous. Other patriarchs have equally difficult lives due to the time period in which they were living. Laban explains his actions by stating the tradition in his country, which says you must give the older daughter in marriage before the younger v. He offers to give Rachel to Jacob if he works an additional seven years, to which Jacob humbly agrees.

Again, the text does not contain a negative evaluation of the trickery. Instead, he receives much more service than he would have had he followed through on his end of the deal. Laban forces Jacob to compromise: Laban removes all the blemished animals and gives them to his son to look after so that Jacob cannot tamper with them. However, Jacob is still able to bend the rules of the agreement by using the unblemished animals still left under his care.

Introduction to Kierkegaard: The Existential Problem

He practices selective breeding, taking only the strongest specimens, coupled with some form of magic, to produce speckled and spotted sheep 20 This implies some deception on the part of Leah as well, knowing presumably the deal her sister was entered into with this man, and pretending to be Rachel throughout the night i.

He gives no evidence to back up his assertion, however. Despite his trickery, however, he goes on to become very wealthy, possessing more animals and servants than ever before v. Jacob complains about Laban, saying that he changed his wages ten times. For the first time in Genesis, the result for the trickster is negative. According to the text, God intervenes. This suggests that Yahweh is displeased with Laban, and that the situation is severe enough that Jacob should leave v.

The reason this episode is evaluated differently than the rest, can be attributed to the specific kind of trickery Laban employs. As Williams rightly points out, there is a legal standard throughout the Bible, and the Ancient Near East as a whole, that masters should not withhold what rightfully belongs to a slave. Jacob does not inform Laban he is leaving because he does not want Laban to withhold his daughters from him v.

The text also strongly implies that Jacob did nothing wrong legally v. In this case, Rachel may have taken the teraphim because she was fearful of leaving her father and going to a new land unlike Abraham who consistently operates according to a strong faith in Yahweh. Von Rad interprets this as a polemic against the teraphim as idols, and suggests that Rachel actually was on her period. The polytheistic belief system of the patriarchs is well known. Further, the teraphim are used in other passages without a hint of criticism.

Macmillan, See Von Rad, Genesis: Instead, the text implies that the teraphim are legitimate gods and that Rachel lies about stealing them. Still, there is no punishment for Rachel, likely because she is part of the divine plan for Jacob to return to Canaan.

Contrary to this, he builds a house in Succoth v. While Esau wants his brother to dwell with him, Jacob cannot because of the divine plan for him to settle in Canaan. Westermann believes that there is an unwritten understandng between the two brothers on this issue, that is, Esau realizes that the two of them live different lives and that Jacob will not end up coming to Seir.

Though the Shechemites follow their request, Levi and Simeon slaughter the rapist along with his father and plunder the city v. Jacob appears to be disappointed in his sons afterward, but it is made clear in the text that the reason is pragmatic and does not involve ethics.

He fears the surrounding armies will want to kill him when they hear what he has 29 Westermann, Genesis 12—36, — On his deathbed, he reiterates this shame, cursing Simeon and Levi for their violent nature He makes his brothers jealous when he tells them that his dreams suggest they will bow down before him sometime in the future v.

His brothers decide to sell him to foreigners 31 and concoct a scheme whereby it appears that he was killed by a wild animal. They take his coat and dip it in blood, then they bring it to Jacob and pretend they have no idea what happened.

Their motive for doing so is to get rid of their brother, of whom they are jealous, and to hide the evidence so as not to suffer repercussions.