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The Power and the Glory

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The Power and the Glory

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  • December 15, 2010
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In the novel The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene sets up his readers to search for the power and glory represented in the novel. The title’s main words connect not only many of the characters and their chronicles, but to the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. The Priest unknowingly lives out a life comparable to one of which is encouraged throughout the Sermon on the Mount. He pursues his calling through acts in kindness rather than running away, when persecution is near. The Lieutenant yearns for the death of the Priest to bring power to his name. With the death of the Priest, both the Lieutenant and the Priest achieve power, which leads to glory. Representing the model given in the Sermon on the Mount, the Priest, despite his sinful ways and shame makes himself vulnerable to his enemies. The Whisky Priest unknowingly shows God’s power and glory by giving up his old selfish ways and acting in love and mercy to those around him, instead of retaliation. Throughout the novel Greene, uses the Priest to represent aspects given in The Sermon on the Mount; in spite of him constantly looking down upon himself because of his sinful nature. Greene uses the Priest’s lack of knowledge of his random acts of kindness, to represent the glory of God. Even though the priest feels he is a hypocrite, he “give[s] to the needy, [and] do[es] not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do… to be honoured by men” (Matt. 6:2). The Whiskey Priest does not look to find ways to be powerful or to have glory, it is his simple actions coming from a good conscience that bring the power and glory to him. Even though the Priest lives in sin, people still see good in him, in that, “it’s good to see a priest with a conscience” (Greene 2003, 182), it shows the love that is comes out of him. The Priest finally learns to love, fulfilling many elements from the Sermon on the Mount. Glory is displayed through the way the Whisky Priest learns to love people. At one point in the novel, the...