Man's Tendency Towards Self Destruction Comparison Essay Between By The Waters Of Babylon, Written By Stephen Vincent Benet, And Planet Of The Apes, Directed By Franklin Schaffner

2021 words - 9 pages

The Inherent Nature of Man and Evidence of His Own Self - Destruction:For thousands of years, man has been on a quest for knowledge, and this knowledge has been subsequent in their attempts to act as God themselves, therefore resulting in their self - destruction. There is evidence of man's thirst for knowledge and consequences of that knowledge in both By the Waters of Babylon written by Stephen Vincent Benet and "Planet of the Apes", directed by Franklin J Schaffner. These two works share many common characteristics throughout their storylines, primarily because the genre for this type of writing is apocalyptic. The world of humans is ruled by chaos: laws of coincidence; individually, socially, historically - chaotical movements, processes, or appearances that cover and define most anything in this world. These stories are both futuristic, showing the effects of the evil side of man and the chaos and mass destruction that they are capable of accomplishing. The plot reveals the post apocalyptic society in which man lives following their self - destruction. The setting in both works is exacting in every detail to characteristics of "dead places". Most importantly, the characterisation in both works is clearly developed and shows through their actions that knowledge can be destructive. The most unequivocal elucidation of man's tendency towards his own self - destruction is clearly defined in the plot, setting, and characters that are portrayed in these works.The plots in By the Waters of Babylon and "Planet of the Apes" are almost analogous. Both of the stories are centralised around societies that have been ejected back to its most primitive state of existence, from life as it is known today. Both of the main characters are on a quest for knowledge and in search of the truth that remains hidden from them. The beholders of this knowledge are the so - called intellects because they are the "rulers" of the societies in which they live. In By the Waters of Babylon, there is a young priest named John who sets off on a journey in hopes of finding "the Place of the Gods", where they used to live so that he may have his need for knowledge fulfilled, by simply being in this sacred place. The entire story is based on John's journey, his discovery of what actually happened so many years ago, and then final his realisation that the Gods were only men, destroyed by their dangerous and extensive knowledge in trying to be Gods themselves. In "Planet of the Apes", the plot follows much the same criteria. Taylor, an astronaut who finds himself stranded on a strange, "dead" island inhabited by Apes who have the knowledge that humans had back in his world, and the humans themselves that did live there were primitive, is also searching for the truth. It ends allied in characteristics to By the Waters of Babylon as well. Taylor, after weeks of extensive searching and enquiring, discovered that it was in fact the planet Earth that he was on, and furthermore, New York City, and that it was man that had, similar to the story, destroyed themselves in their feverish need to acquire knowledge. These two pieces of work, as a whole, reveal the post - apocalyptic society in which man lives, following their self - destruction. These plots, nearly identical in character, clearly define man's tendency towards his self - destruction. If not for their ever - persistent need to try and act themselves as God, through gaining knowledge that exceeds their capabilities, then they would not have destroyed their entire society.The setting in By the Waters of Babylon and "Planet of the Apes" are exacting in every detail to the described characteristics of dead places, or places with no vegetation and natural habitats with any form of life. In By the Waters of Babylon, the story actually takes place in a futuristic world. It is the present civilisation that destroyed the planet, as it is known today and killed most humans in this story, the catastrophe suspected to be caused by a nuclear war. The places that nuclear bombs hit were not self - sufficient for growing food or supporting any forms of life. These were the so - called forbidden places. However, as John goes on his quest for the truth and comes to this "Place of the Gods", he soon realised that they were not the homes of Gods at all, but merely a place where man used to walk the earth. In using New York as ground zero, the story makes one realise that great cities, once rich with money, happiness, and knowledge, can just as easily be transported back to oblivion where time has no face and man is naught but a small piece of nature in which they are responsible for starting life anew. In "Planet of the Apes", the setting is much the same. Taylor, suspecting that he has landed on an alien planet, sees it as a dry, deserted, and dead place, inhabited by a group of "intelligent" apes. The surroundings are most primitive, with absolutely no indications of a previous civilisation. It was only when he found a cave with indications that there may in fact have been another type of life, thousands of years ago, that made him realise there was something missing. It is apparent that as time goes back further and further into the history of that place, the civilisation seems to be more and more technologically advanced. Taylor sets off on his own quest for the truth, and comes to realise that he had not in fact gone anywhere off in space, but had simply gone ahead in time to the future New York City, or what remained of it. That large metropolitan, that large, rich city, was again used to prove just how easily it can be for man to destroy something that he had attempted to create and continue to uphold, on a fervent excursion to uncover a wealth of knowledge that are above human capability. The settings in both of these works are exacting in every characteristic described in reference to the "dead places", created my man's tendency towards his own self - destruction and his need for knowledge and change in society.An important aspect of man's tendency toward self - destruction is the man itself.In both By the Waters of Babylon and "Planet of the Apes", the two main characters both set off on quests for knowledge. Even though John knows nothing of his past civilisation and Taylor came nearly directly from that past civilisation, they are both in search of the truth as to what actually caused the annihilation of their civilisation in the first place. John is a young priest boy, leaving behind his father to become a man. But in doing so, he sets off on a great journey, only to discover the truth about his people and their kind, his kind. Taylor is an American astronaut, a man just recently travelled through space. He comes across another civilisation, only it is a world of apes. Apes that run the planet and control all humans, which they believe to be heathen and barbaric. It is this reverse in character placement of society that proves man's tendencies. They obviously destroyed themselves, but in doing so, the ape family rose up afterwards. This is because they did not have that destructive knowledge that man had before the apocalypse, so it would naturally be instinct to take over. But even looking at these "for instances", it relates back to and proves only one thing: men (or ape) are naturally destructive and it is in their nature to try and figure out everything and do everything for themselves. They try to act as Gods, when it is they who need the guidance and need to know when to stop before it is too late or things get out of hand. Even in the so - called perfect ape society in the movie, Dr. Zaius, the "ruler" had obviously acquired some knowledge of the past, because he tried to hide the truth from everyone. It is the same in By the Waters of Babylon. The priests are the superior beings and only they know the truth about the past. In both works, the main characters in charge keep knowledge from the public so they do not know the evils that they are capable of, as to protect them from making the same mistake. However, in order for the "leaders" to know the truth, they must have had to satisfy their cravings to have this knowledge, which just proves once again that man's tendency is to gain knowledge. It seems harmless now, but again, in several generations, the people or beings that inhabit the area will want to fulfil their knowledge even more to increase it, and then get desires to solve all of the worlds problems in trying to figure out everything and do everything that they just simply cannot do. All of mankind had to start with nothing, but over time, the nothing built to a little bit of something, and eventually, to everything. Man has everything they so desire, yet they still are not satisfied. Man, in the end, will destroy himself because of their dangerous and extensive knowledge. The characters in these two works, although they seem innocent in their desire to seek the truth, are really on the way to their own self - destruction. Just looking at where they live and what their circumstances are, they are living proof of the past, man's past civilisation that was destroyed in the end. Starting over with nothing is how they ended up, and it is also where they will end up in the future, whether it is close or far off. The allied characteristics in the actions of the characters and development of these characters between the two works are proof that knowledge can be destructive and lead to the end of mankind, as it is known today.By the Waters of Babylon and "Planet of the Apes" is a perfect example of post - apocalyptic literature where the tendency of man to destroy himself if clearly portrayed and the results of his actions. The most unequivocal elucidation of man's tendency towards his own self - destruction is clearly defined in the plot, setting, and characters that are portrayed in these works. The plot reveals the post - apocalyptic society in which man lives following his self - destruction and his realisation of the truth. The setting in both works is precise and veritable in describing the details and characteristics of the "dead places". Most importantly, the characterisation in both works is clearly developed and reveals through their actions that knowledge can be destructive and that they will always be on the path of self - destruction. These stories are both futuristic, showing the effects of the evil side of man and the chaos and mass destruction that they are capable of accomplishing. People will never be able to stop social injustice, know about the centre of planet Earth, extremes of the universe and human nature, or find out secrets of universal laws of chaotical movements, light, time, and other dimensions. Anyone who tries to accomplish these extremes will ultimately be destroyed by their own destructive knowledge. These two works share many common characteristics throughout their storylines, primarily because the genre for this type of literature is apocalyptic. There is evidence of man's thirst for knowledge and consequences of that knowledge in both By the Waters of Babylon, written by Stephen Benet and "Planet of the Apes", directed by Franklin Schaffner. Since time began, man has been on a quest for knowledge, and this knowledge has been subsequent in their attempts to act as Gods, trying to achieve the impossible, escaping their capabilities, resulting in their self - destruction.

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