The Flying Machine
Also examined, are the ethics of intonating technological advancement and possible negative ramifications of technology evolving and therefore the loss of ultimate control over his empire. The emperor considers his empire to be beautiful when all is in order and his people are fully under his control. The flying machine exposes his vulnerability and puts his power at risk.
These are some of the core ideas that “The Flying Machine” explores.Through the use and development of literary devices such as tone, diction, imagery, and very specific themes, Bradbury effectively displays the importance of the possible negative outcome of genealogy moving forward too quickly and resulting in risks to the Emperors empire. One of the themes of the story is the ethics around the creation of technology and the fear of change; the fear of change in technological advancement and the negative impact it could have on mankind and providing freedom.
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Towards the end of the story, the Emperor mentions he does not fear the creator of the flying machine, but rather another man with “an evil face and an evil heart” (Bradbury 4). He is afraid that another man will not see the beauty in what the inventor has created, but instead he will see it s an opportunity for corrupt and destructive plans such as the freedom to move outside the walls. If this invention were to allow people to leave the walls, the Emperors authority would be demolished. One of the important parts of being Emperor, is that he has control over everything within the wall.
He thrives on being in charge and having control over all of his servants, and is of higher status than them. Perhaps, creating something of this level, without the permission of the Emperor, would give his people choices and allow them to be free. Allowing the inventor to have this flying machine would UT his power in jeopardy, and allow him to be vulnerable. He questions the flier of what he has done: What have you done? Demanded the Emperor. ‘I have flown in the sky, Your Excellency,’ replied the man. ‘What have you done? Said the Emperor again. ‘l have just told you! ‘ cried the flier.
‘You have told me nothing at all. ‘ (2) The inventor speaks in a very confident, but respectful tone, but is quite obviously proud of his creation. He does not realize the negative ramifications that his invention may have on the empire, he is just proud of the beauty in it. The Emperor tries to warn him that someone else may not see the beauty, but may use it for evil, but he does not understand, so he is executed so that no one will know of him or his invention.The story utilizes the term beauty and applies it to two different meanings; the raw beauty of a creation, to the flier, and the beauty of power, to the Emperor. A very important aspect of this story is the setting. Being set in ancient China, something like the flying machine would be considered a “miracle” (1), given the time.
Being a country where all information is carefully controlled, meeting that showed innovation would be considered a threat.An invention such as this appearing in modern day would be notable, but would not be of the same level of significance as it is during an ancient and restrained period. Intricate and advanced technology did not exist at this point in time, causing the Emperor to immediately be cautious about the situation and aware of the danger that could be caused by someone thinking for himself and creating this invention. He is instantly defensive of the protected empire over which he rules. The diction used in this story is quite simple.None of the characters use overly complicated language, though they all speak in specific tones. These tones demonstrate the chain of command within the empire.
The servant speaks with respect in his words: ‘”Please,’ said the servant at last, ‘or he will be gone’ (1 The servant always speaks to the Emperor with respect because he is the head of the empire and the servant looks up to him. He never disrespects the Emperor because they are on two different levels of status. The flier speaks with words of confidence, because e only sees the beauty in his creation.He is proud of his machine: is the only one in the world! ‘ smiled the man. ‘And I am the inventor m (2). He is blind to the idea of his device being used for evil. He is very confused when the Emperor instantly calls the guards to restrain him.
Being overcome with the beautiful machine he made, he is not aware that he has overstepped his boundaries within this confined empire. The Emperor uses many literary devices to be descriptive in his language and to show his opinion of beauty. For instance, he uses imagery when ascribing his surroundings: “… Nanning himself against a warm breeze when a servant ran across the scarlet and blue garden tiles,” (1). The story uses imagery in a way that allows the beauty of the empire to be imaginable.
The Emperors real idea of beauty is revealed when he speaks of his own invention, a microcosm of his empire; the perfectly manipulated society. All of the animals moved as he thought they should and all of the people did what he wanted them to: ‘Is it not beautiful? ‘ said the Emperor. ‘If you asked me what I have done here, I could tell answer you well.I have made birds sing, I have made forests murmur, I have set people walking in his woodland,’ (3) His picturesque toy-like creation allows him to have full control over his empire, something he has created within the confines of the wall. When in this perfected world, he is never in a vulnerable position; he is always the highest power and has command of his people. In order to not be vulnerable, he says %..
One must lose a little beauty if one is to keep what little beauty one already has”‘ (3). This brings into question if the needs of many outweigh the deeds of few.The Emperors decision to execute the flier was based on his firm belief of protecting his people. The flier’s invention could put the entire empire at risk by providing a means of escape, so, in the mind of the Emperor, it was the right decision. In this case, the Emperor was resolute in his choice, and is looking to protect his kingdom and the management of his people, described as beauty, which he has created with his empire. Having the flier and the flying machine around puts that at risk. In his mind, he needed to sacrifice one for the good of many.