Renowned critic, author and scholar of 18th century Samuel Johnson maintains that “Nothing can please many, and please long, but just representations of general nature.” Hence, being a great critic, Johnson has presented a superb universal approach and everlasting criteria…
Taking the example of Milton’s remarkable “Paradise Lost”, it becomes evident that his splendid epic poem has given the universal message of domination of heavenly powers over satanic forces. In addition, Milton has very brilliantly exposed how man has to make a long and continuous to save himself from the enticement and temptation of Satan and his companions. His universal theme encompasses all places and ages of the world and hence fulfils the criteria elaborated by Johnson. The same is the case with Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”, which reveals the social and domestic conspiracies being inflicted upon innocent fellows. In addition, Pope also submits to state that social evils like pride, envy, wrath and greed etc are sure to meet their ultimate end sooner or later. Though Shakespeare’s plays are best cited as universal in scope, meanings and philosophy, but it is also reality that his protagonist(s) always belongs to royal family; and all other characters come mostly from working stratum of society. Even then the maxims he applies and idioms he uses maintain generality in their scope.
While talking about the fiction under study, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych” can be stated as representations of general nature. The story begins with the death of the protagonist character i.e. Ivan Ilych, a judge of high court. His colleagues and companions have gathered at the court of law neither to condole one other, nor to commemorate their deceased colleague; rather the motive behind their assembling is to devise scheme to obtain the position has become vacant after the death of Ivan Ilych. Thus, Tolstoy has pointed out in the very first scene of the novel that people have least care about the death of even their close relatives and associates; they only seek prestige, pelf and power in life and forget altogether that they also have to leave the world with empty hands, and all posts, positions and ...
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