Aesop's Fables

by Aesop
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Explain how the fox's characteristics are related to the moral or message of Aesop's Fable "The Fox and the Grapes."

The fox's characteristics are related to the moral or message of Aesop's Fable "The Fox and the Grapes" by showing him to be prideful and unwilling to take the blame for his failings. He is also a character who is easily captivated by splendor.

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At the beginning of the story, the fox is predominantly characterized by his longing for the grapes. To him, they seem succulent and beautiful. However, after trying to jump for the grapes several times in vain, the fox stops and decides the grapes are not worth the effort. He calls them sour, even without having tasted them. He takes on a negative attitude toward the grapes so that he will not long for them anymore or feel like a fool for not being able to possess them after a prolonged period of jumping for them.

The fox comes off as proud, unable to accept his own failing. Instead of getting angry at himself, he projects his frustrations onto the grapes he so coveted. The story also implies the fox's laziness or at least his lack of imagination when it comes to solving his problem: he tries the same method (jumping) over and over again, rather than trying anything new, such as climbing the tree or shaking it to access the fruit.

Overall, the fox's pride, bitterness, and laziness all make him unable to obtain the grapes. Because they are not easily obtained, he decides they are not worth any effort, only to soothe his own lust for them.

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The fox's characteristics are related to the moral or message of Aesop's Fable "The Fox and the Grapes" because he is lustful but lazy and scornful and contemptuous.

The moral of the fable is that many people pretend to despise things that are beyond their reach. Initially, when the fox believes that he can get the grapes, they are described as beautiful, ripe, and so succulent that they were “ready to burst with juice.” The bunch of grapes are hanging from a branch of the tree that is so high that the fox has to jump to reach them. Each time he jumps, he misses them.

At the point when the fox realizes that he cannot obtain the grapes, he thinks of them as sour. Yet, the grapes have not changed. They are just as ripe and succulent looking as they were originally. It is the fox that has changed his view of them because he is too lazy to come up with a strategy to obtain them.

So he “look[s] at the grapes in disgust,” though just moments earlier "he gazed longingly at them,” and the sight of the grapes earlier made his mouth water. Once he realizes the grapes are beyond his reach, he belittles them.

However, are the grapes truly beyond the fox's reach, or is the fox unwilling to work to attain them? As soon as he becomes frustrated about his attempts to get the grapes, he sits down. Why does he not try to climb up instead to reach the grapes? He's not willing to make the effort.

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The fox in this story first shows that he notices things which are splendid and eye-catching. You can just imagine this scrumptious bunch of grapes which hang high overhead. They catch the fox's eye as he realizes that this is better than the meal he had planned, and suddenly he can think of nothing else but obtaining this delicious-looking bunch of fruit. This quality leads to the downfall of the fox, as these dazzling grapes are beyond his reach.

The fox also shows a singular focus in obtaining the grapes but not in productive means. He tries "again and again" to jump and grab this snack, but he fails each time. The fox cannot realize his own abilities and wastes a lot of time in this quest for a particular bunch of grapes when he could have spent those same efforts in looking for food that he had the means to attain.

Ultimately, the fox also criticizes the very thing he has spent so much time and effort seeking to obtain. The fox is bitter, which leads him to shift the focus from his own failings and to criticize his quest. He fails to take responsibility for his own poor choices and instead decides to believe that the object he's desired is innately flawed. This spares his own pride and shows his deep character flaws.

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A fable is a very small "tale" (written as prose—straight writing—or verse, also called poetry) which includes:

animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature...

In Aesop's Fable, "The Fox and the Grapes," we see that the fox had admirable determination, using all his strength to reach the grapes that are growing just too far out of his reach. Finally, frustration gets the best of the fox and he quits, but as he does so, he shows what a poor sport he is. Like a small child, he tries to rationalize that not getting the grapes wasn't such a big deal because they weren't worth having in the first place.

Rather than facing the fact that he just wasn't able to get the grapes, the fox acts as if the grapes were always unimportant, taking his failure out of the picture. The comment about being "sour grapes" describes someone that has nothing positive to say about a situation, but chooses to criticize it. The expression "sour grapes" finds its origins in...

..."The Fox and the Grapes"... It refers to pretending not to care for something one does not or cannot have.

Phaedrus summarizes the fable's moral as:

People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.

The fox's poor sportsmanship, or his inability to "win" what he wants and then criticizes the very thing he wanted are characteristics that fit with the practice of some people who have nothing good to say about something if it doesn't reflect well on them. The moral of the story is directed at those people who criticize what they cannot get or do, diverting attention away from themselves, which is what the fox does.

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