Things Fall Apart and Exile
The exile Gilgamesh encounters teaches him a valuable lesson that a person cannot escape their own mortality and he can still keep the memory of his best friend. He has a new outlook on life and does not take pride in the worldly aspirations. It is a humbling experience and he returns to his kingdom with a new found appreciation for his people’s work. E. Gilgamesh’s experience of exile allows the reader to relate through the common feeling of grief. III. Second Protagonist’s Exile – Prospero A. In The Tempest, Prospero’s exile is one that is forced upon by the jealousy and treacherous act of his own brother, Antonio. . Sutton argues that Prospero’s story is very similar to that of Joseph from the book of Genesis. 2. “Joseph and Prospero parallel each other as victims of jealous siblings” (Sutton 225). B. Prospero’s exile leaves him stranded on an island for twelve years with only the company of his daughter and his two servants. 1. He uses his time in exile to once again become a powerful ruler of his new territory. 2. “They eventually become de facto rulers of their adopted land, using their natural abilities combined with supernatural forces to gain power” (Sutton 225). C.
Despite Prospero’s betrayal by his own brother; he seeks to forgive him instead of choosing revenge. 1. When it is time to face his brother, Prospero tells Antonio “I do forgive Thy rankest fault, all of them” (Shakespeare V. i. 151-152). 2. Forgiveness is another similarity between Prospero and Joseph “…in both works the protagonists eventually forgive their brothers” (Sutton 227). D. The experience of exile restores Prospero’s dukedom, but only after seeking forgiveness. He is able to set himself free from the vengeful acts that were cast upon him and restore goodness within his self and others.
E. In the beginning of the play, Prospero’s exile leads the reader to think he is seeking revenge, but in the end his exile is a part of a larger theme which is forgiveness. IV. Third Protagonist – Okonkwo A. Okonkwo’s exile in Things Fall Apart is much different than that of Gilgamesh and Prospero’s in that it is a result of his own actions. 1. He is exiled by his clansmen when he commits a female crime, killing another clansman by accident (Achebe 124). 2. The only course of action Okonkwo can take is to abide by the laws of Umuofia and leave his native land for seven years
B. The exile Okonkwo faces only adds more to his anger and bitterness. Okonkwo’s alienation causes him to have a pessimistic outlook, focusing more on what has been taken from him. 1. Although he is thankful for the welcoming of his mother’s kinsmen, Okonkwo regrets every day of his exile (Achebe 162). C. Okonkwo does not learn anything from his exile, but reverts back to his survival skills and hard work to “prosper in his motherland” (Achebe 162). D. Okonkwo is the only protagonist that did not change from his experience.
His experience of exile reveals no change of his pessimistic outlook and only hardens his heart more. When he returns home, his actions show that he is meaner, angrier, and more rebellious. E. Okonkwo’s experience of exile leaves a shocking ending with Okonkwo taking his own life. V. Conclusion A. The experience of exile can lead a person through a dark tunnel, but it does not mean that there cannot be light at the end. B. Gilgamesh, Prospero, and Okonkwo each portray how when taken from their homeland, exile is a hurtful experience, but it can also enrich their lives and reveal their true character.
C. The experience of exile, in the stories of The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Tempest, and Things Fall Apart, helps reveal the main plot of the texts and the characters. Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books Edition, 1994. Print. Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh A Verse Narrative. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. Print. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat & Paul Werstine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1994. Print Sutton, Brian. “Virtue Rather Than Vengeance”: Genesis and Shakespeare’s The Tempest” Explicator. 66. 4 (2008): 224-229. Print.