Absurd Heroes In A Man For All

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Absurd Heroes In A Man For All Seasons And The Mission Essay, Research Paper Someone who is absurd is wildly illogical or inappropriate; ridiculous (Oxford English Dictionary). When we think of someone who is absurd we think of someone who would do things that we would think would be illogical . An absurd hero is someone who exemplifies the characteristics of a hero, but punishes them self by achieving acts that we would deem useless. Albert Camus states that his view of an absurd hero, through the example of the Myth of Sisyphus, is that their passion for life win [them the] unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted into accomplishing nothing. Although it may seem to them that they accomplish nothing they do pave the way for people after them to finish. In both

The Mission and A Man For All Seasons, written by Robert Bolt we see characters who struggle for a cause, but in their lifetime they achieve nothing. They also struggle for this cause in ways that would seem absurd. Although they made no changes in the time they were alive they did set the way for changes and this gives them a heroic quality. In both pieces by Robert Bolt the characters, Gabriel from The Mission and Thomas More from A Man For All Seasons are absurd heroes. Both characters use their conscience to make decisions that appear heroic, yet have absurd undertones. In The Mission, Father Gabriel, a Jesuit missionary, comes to convert the noble natives of eighteenth century South America. He Lives with them and takes the same risks as they do. Gabriel has made the

conscious effort to dedicate his life to these people, converting them and defending them from the corrupt Europeans who want to turn them into slaves. This clothes Gabriel with his heroic quality. Gabriel makes his decisions based on his conscience so that he feels good. He sees that putting his all to converting and defending this tribe would ease his conscience. Like Sisyphus, who was condemned to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back on its own weight (The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus pg. 350), Gabriel is conscious of the limit of his own misery. Thomas More, in A Man For All Seasons, is very conscious about every decision that he makes concerning issues. We see that he is loved by all and the people he knows count themselves

as, friend[s] of Sir Thomas (Bolt pg. 3). He also has is very sure of his decisions. Bolt writes of him that, Thomas More, as I wrote about him, became for me a man with an adamantine sense of his own self (Bolt pg. xii). These two qualities give him a heroic feel, yet we see that in the end he is willing to give up his life when he could have saved it. This is what makes him an absurd hero. To the people they meet, they seem heroic, but to us they seem absurd because we wonder why they are like no other. Father Gabriel in The Mission is portrayed as an absurd hero from the beginning when we see how the Indians accept him. At first we see the hostile Indians sending another priest to his death strapped to a cross that is pushed over a waterfall. When Gabriel encounters the

Indians we see that he should be sentenced to his death like the prior priest, but he has a heroic innocence and bravery that he can build a trust with the natives. Gabriel calmly plays his recorder in the midst of the encountering Indians, but instead of killing him they accept him.We see that he was heroic and could have seduced a nation with his instrument (Narrator, The Mission). We see this as absurd, because we wonder what makes Gabriel so special that him of all people could convert the seemingly violent tribe. Gabriel had to be prepared to accept his demise if he was not accepted and accomplished nothing, but this as Camus states, is the price that must be paid for the passions of the earth. Rodriguez Mendoza, a man who kills his brother in a fight over the love of the