University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Malouf Demonstrates That a Leap of Faith Is Essential for Success
Malouf demonstrates that often, a leap of faith is essential for success in life. Do you agree? In David Malouf’s modern re-telling of Homer’s Illiad, the development of the characters in achieving catharsis and discovery of self is explored. Malouf demonstrates that a leap of faith is often essential for success in life. The leaps of faith are defined within the contexts of the characters that are making this leap. As fate is traditionally accepted in the Illiad, Malouf’s retelling shows that the leap of faith to defy this norm and take chances can lead to personal success. Malouf also demonstrates that exploring realms of the new can lead to discovery of self; a goal in life that some characters would deem to be success. In Ransom, the notion of ‘chance’ against the norm of fate is explored; showing that a leap of faith in taking chances can lead to unexpected successes. Priam’s idea of taking a ‘chance’ to approach Achilles ‘man to man, as a father’ ultimately leads to his legacy; being the King who courageously ransomed his son. Priam understands the fact that his role as a king was ‘intended’ by the Gods when they ‘plucked him out’ of his past, however, he remains adamant on taking a chance that may ‘force events into a different course’. Though his ‘dangerous suggestion’ to approach Achilles as a man was frowned upon by the partial antagonist Hecuba who is ‘more tied to conventions’, Priam asserts that the world is also ‘subject to chance’.
His idea that events do not ‘happen the way they must be but the way they [turn] out’ opposes the ‘long fixed and accepted’ norm of fate, and through his unexpected encounter with Achilles, Priam is able to retrieve Hector’s body. Though Troy had metaphorically fallen with the death of Hector, Malouf highlights that taking a leap of faith can result in positive outcomes even in the face of turmoil. In ransoming his son’s body even after the downfall of Troy, is a success in his eyes. Through Priam’s retrieval of Hectors body as a result of taking a chance, Malouf demonstrates that taking a leap of faith is essential to success in ones life. Experiencing the realm of the new is also a leap of faith that can lead to self-discovery. In Ransom, Priam’s idea to approach Achille’s ‘man to man’ is due to his ‘vision of something new’. Restricted from his role as a ‘ceremonial figurehead that may as well be of stone or wood’, Priam seeks to escape the ‘illusion’ of his conventional role as a king and ‘expose [himself] (…) to what is merely human’. This notion is highlighted on his journey with Somax, where he is exposed to a world outside of his ‘kingly sphere’. The simple world of Somax, who is the archetype for the common man, is juxtaposed with the royal world of Priam and Malouf portrays these unconventional influences over Priam as he becomes enticed by the new world outside of his conventional role. As Somax exposes Priam to the simple things in life such as ‘dipping [his] feet’ into a stream and learning about the complexities in the making of ‘griddlecakes’, Malouf illustrates that although these characters exist antithetically, Priam is drawn outside of his royal world to find that ‘what [is] new could be pleasurable’. Priam achieves catharsis as a result of this journey and feels like ‘a man remade’. He is also greeted by Somax’s mule which is symbolic of the commoner’s life, and Malouf portrays his success in intrinsically transitioning from a king to a ‘man’ as a result of experiencing the new.
In writing Ransom, Malouf’s portrays the importance of taking a leap of faith through his choices in the literary tools he uses. Priam’s journey is heavily centered on the notion of ‘chance’ and it is through idea in which the plot develops. In chapter one, Malouf employs lyrical prose to portray the inner conflict of Achilles as a result of Patroclus’ death; emphasizing the effect that grief and sorrow has had on ‘the most formidable’ of the Greeks. Although Achilles is static in his emotional turmoil, his leap of faith lies in waiting for something ‘unexpected’ to break ‘the spell that is on him’. Similarly, Malouf also dedicates a chapter to Priam’s journey to highlight his leap of faith. Within this chapter, dialogue is dominated by Somax’s character whereas Priam’s dialogue is short and accepting; portraying the influence of the ‘new’ over Priam. The encounter between Priam and Achille’s is short lived, but dominated by dialogue and poetic description of each character’s state of mind, allowing for Malouf to flourish the beauty of how unexpected successes can occur when one takes a leap of faith. As a result, both parties are liberated from their inner conflicts. David Malouf’s Ransom demonstrates how success can be achieved through a leap of faith, shown through the notion of taking a chance and trying something new. Driven by the idea of chance, Priam takes his leap of faith to oppose traditional norms of fate in order to liberate himself and also Achilles. On his journey, he encounters a world of things that are new to him in contrast to the rigorous life he lives as a royalty. As a result, Priam is able to
ransom his son as well as achieve catharsis and relieve the tensions of being a king.
Contention: Malouf demonstrates that often but not always, a leap of faith is essential for personal success in life. Plan:
In Ransom, the notion of chance against the norm of fate is explored; showing that a leap of faith can lead a character to achieve personal success in life. – Priam’s leap of faith in taking a ‘chance’ ultimately leads to the retrieval of Hector’s body and setting legacy. “she is more tied to conventions”
‘in a world that is also subject to chance’
A leap of faith to take on new experiences can break old habits and lead to discovery of self. – Priam’s new perspective on commonality through Somax frees him of his restraints as royalty. – Feet into water is a sign of Priam’s renewal.
– personal achievement of catharsis
“try something that might force events into a different courts “new and unheard of
Malouf intentions paragraph:
– Malouf portrays the importance of how a leap of faith, no matter the use of metalanguage. – Priam and Achille’s encounter is short and simple; flourishing the beauty that the unexpected can occur when one takes a leap of faith. – Malouf’s intentions are to challenge the norm of fate
– dedicates a chapter to priams journey and leap of faith to highlight priams renewal.