The Role of Teachers in Siddhartha

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The Role of Teachers

Throughout history there have been countless numbers of teachers: artisans, craftsmen, ideologist, to name a few. They have all master some skill, gained some wisdom, or comprehended an idea. These teachers have achieved knowledge which allows them to excel and to be above and beyond regular people. Knowledge is something everyone strives for, and many desire. To achieve knowledge, one must have an eye-opening experience, and epiphany that leads to the increase of one’s intellect and skill set. In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, the main character, Siddhartha, goes in an almost never ending quest to achieve knowledge. Throughout this journey, Siddhartha encounters many teachers, whom which he learns a great deal, but fails to attain that knowledge he achieves for. However, each and every single one of them teaches him something which ultimately contribute to his final achievement of knowledge. As Siddhartha mentioned to his good friend Govinda: "You know, my friend, that even as a young man, when we lived with the ascetics in the forest, I came to distrust doctrines and teachers and to turn my back to them. I am still of the same turn of mind, although I have, since that time, had many teachers. A beautiful courtesan was my teacher for a long time, and a rich merchant and a dice player. On one occasion, one of the Buddha’s wandering monks was my teacher. He halted in his pilgrimage to sit beside me when I fell asleep in the forest. I also learned something from him and I am grateful to him, very grateful. But most of all, I have learned from this river and from my predecessor, Vasudeva. He was a simple man; he was not a thinker, but he realized the essential as well as Gotama, he was a holy man, a saint" (141). The role of teachers in Hesse’s exceptional work of fiction is to aid in the achievement of the ultimate knowledge, while not taking the pupil directly there, instead giving him the skill set necessary to achieve what the student, in...
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