Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Damn Tempest" Discussion

A useful follow-up e-mail from a classfellow on our vigourous "damn Tempest" debate from this Monday. (And my respects go to students sticking to their guns in class .....)
Tempest's decision to choose heaven by becoming a better man and giving up his money is more noble and useful in a sense, because even while living in poverty, he will aid others and reform himself into a good man - both of which would take a great deal of perseverance and work. One can thus look at surrender to hell as a cowardly act. If Tempest had given himself to hell, it could have been considered a show of unwillingness to put the effort into becoming a man empathetic to others in pain, while leading a far more difficult life of poverty. In hell, Tempest would neither have been able to become a good man, nor help others. He also would not havelearned empathy, only regret and suffering.

1 comment:

Some Do Not... said...

I agree that Tempest's decision to "choose god" will motivate him to become, what Corelli would consider, a better person. However, I doubt that the "perseverance and work" he must now do to live up to his promise somehow compares to an eternity of despair in hell. Most certainly his poverty at the end of the novel is far more tolerable than what awaits him if he doesn't change. Therefore, his choice is merely a product of shrewd foresight and is a decision that almost anyone else, including Sybyl, would likely make if fortunate enough to recieve the opportunity. Remember Sybyl tried to reach out to Tempest after her death and dissuade him from maintaining his lifestyle of self-gratification. Also, in my opinion, accepting responsability for one's actions is far from cowardly. Tempest has played an active role in the abasement of his peers. He has gambled with them, raced against them and thrown parties that catered to their every sensual desire. Therefore, he bears some of the burden for the depraved state of the English "upper ten". However, by saving himself from the fate his peers will undoubtedly suffer, he is essentially shirking his own responsability the part he played in the moral decline of the world he lives in. Furthermore, while Tempest's new found sense of religion may motivate him to help others, I don't think this assertion coalesces with Corelli's argument's concerning free-will. When Tempest expresses a desire to Help Viscount Lytton, Lucio suggests that Tempest can do nothing for him because the Viscounts decsions are his own to make. Therefore, even if Tempest does attempt to assist his fellow man, he can exhibit little influence over the choices one makes. Tempests's decision thus has little benefit to anyone other than himself, a benefit which results from what might be considered a "divine lottery".

Taylor Buis