Things Fall Apart and Exile

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Final Essay Outline

I. Introduction

A. Exile can be the self-imposed banishment from one’s home or given as a form of punishment. Exile results in solitude; leaving people only time to reflect upon their self.

B. The main characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Tempest, and Things Fall Apart all encounter exile due to their actions.

C. (THESIS) – The protagonists, Gilgamesh, Prospero, and Okonkwo all have experiences of exile which alienate them from their homeland, but as hurtful as it is for them to go through; their experience alienates them causing them to overcome trials and enriches their lives in a way that reveals their true character.

D. Each character has a different experience of exile, but it causes them all to face the consequences it brings; revealing their true inner self.

II. First Protagonist’s Exile – Gilgamesh

A. Gilgamesh’s exile experience is one that is brought upon by his own free will and is a spiritual and emotional experience.

1. He is a king who is selfish, has no compassion for other people, and only wants to use his power to take from others. “Gilgamesh was a tyrant to his people” (Mason 15).

2. Through friendship, Gilgamesh learns that he can care for someone other than himself. He learns companionship can make him stronger and more confident. “Gilgamesh was certain with his friend beside him” (Mason 31).

B. His experience of exile leaves him alone with grievance as his only companion.

1. Gilgamesh is “overcome with pain” and chooses to go into solitude after the death of his best friend, Enkidu. (Mason 60).

2. He abandons the world he loves which is full of desire, wealth, power, and pleasure and begins a journey to seek eternal life, hoping to change the fate of his own death.

C. Gilgamesh’s experience of exile is enriching because it brings him to be more human-like; capable of feeling emotion (love, grief, remorse, sadness).

1. His best friend teaches him that he can naturally care for others and express his emotions.

2. Gilgamesh expresses his emotions when “[He] wept bitterly for his friend” (Mason 53).

D. 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.

1. 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...
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