Reconciling Desire

4 April 2015
A look at how the literary world has addressed the issue of man’s struggle with personal desire.

This paper examines the issue of desire and how man approaches the struggle when individual desires come into conflict with what society judges to be appropriate. The works of Swift, More, and Chaucer are explored.
The question of human desire, no matter how that desire may manifest itself, has long been an intellectual and emotional stumbling block for society, politics, culture, and religion. Throughout history, individuals have had to learn how to reconcile their personal desires inside larger social institutions’ institutions that for their part have very often come to challenge or undermine the legitimacy of human desire. More often than not, individuals have had to find ways to suppress their desires given that they somehow come into conflict with more acceptable, social standards. Literature, though, in fact, this might be a common theme in most all forms of art, at one time or another has reflected this on-going, archetypal struggle.

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