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Power and powerlessness How can the theme of power and powerlessness be discussed in...

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angiepiro | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM via web

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Power and powerlessness

How can the theme of power and powerlessness be discussed in England and France. Are there any particular characters that show this in a situation?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM (Answer #2)

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Shakespeare's Hamlet, Richard III and King Lear each explore different kinds of power dynamics, emphasizing the differences between those with power and those without.

King Lear, the character, is a poignant example of a man who once owned great power and, in giving it away, was introduced to a life of powerlessness. He was forced to face, directly, the stark differences between these two modes of being.

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM (Answer #3)

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The English might look to the immortal Charles Dickens for a description of the powerless. His stories are largely peopled by those who hold no political power (Oliver Twist), but have to find other ways to make their way in life. They are often victimized by those who do wield conventional power (Miss Havisham).

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:51 AM (Answer #4)

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I am not sure if this is what you had in mind, but post #3 inspired me to think about A Tale of Two Cities, which is about power and powerlessness in England and France.  In the story, the French Revolution is intended to empower the poor masses, but ends up giving too much power to those who abuse it.

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