By Charles H. Hinnant (auth.)
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Extra resources for Samuel Johnson: An Analysis
18 If Irene embodies the 'greed' which undermines the Greek experience at once extreme, Demetrius emobodies the 'pride' which corrupts it at another. Moreover, the catastrophic failure of Cali's plans necessarily becomes a personal failure for the Greek protagonists. Patriotic virtue cannot be preseved in an unholy alliance with treason. Aspasia points out the ethical limitations of a scheme based on the subordination of noble ends to base means: Think how the sov'reign arbiter of kingdoms Detests thy false associate's black designs, And frowns on perjury, revenge, and murder.
16 -17) should not disguise the contamination of the Greek design by its alliance with the 'fraud' and 'falshood' of Cali and Abdalla. Though responsibility for this 'contamination' is to some extent displaced by its ascription to the treachery of the fiery Abdalla, it is not eliminated. The inconclusive encounter of Demetrius and Abdalla, and the subsequent escape of Aspasia and Demetrius through the passive assistance of Irene prove only the blessings which reason and virtue, assisted by Divine Providence, can bestow on the individual, Patriotism, like ambition, proves inadequate to deal with the perils which beset it.
6 Moreover, in the absence of such a legitimating authority and hierarchic principle, the potential for conflict engendered by the contest for superiority can be extended infinitely. 390-1). Such dreams are usually checked by the vis inertiae of custom, but they reveal the extent to which an inclination to accept one's place in the scheme of things is countered, even among the lowliest, by a desire for eminence. 7 In the powerful, this desire is embodied, according to Johnson, in 'ambition'; in the weak, it appears as 'resentment'.