4 Aug 2022


What is the nature of man?

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  Man's nature is a broad concept that invites different interpretations when asked to explain the same. Some of the explanation agrees on the initial biblical description about man's nature where the one is allowed to make their own choices that determine their fate away from the predetermined destiny. Apart from the biblical explanation, a writer may focus on Virgil, Dante Alighieri or William Shakespeare's writings that explained man's nature. Although slightly different from the biblical context, their hand's analysis made a very logical explanation about man's nature. 

Virgil's Aeneid shows that the man can make his own decision based on their interest and motivations despite the predetermined fate. From the beginning of the story, Juno is seen as the antagonist who decides not to accept it despite being aware of the future. Juno wants the Carthage to rule the world despite the Trojans men whose fate is directed to destroy it. Juno decides to channel her anger to the Aeneas's famous pious man. Her hot-headed, jealousy and personality mainly contribute to Juno's anger towards the Aeneas. Despite being the god's king's wife, she lacks self-confidence and most of the time, she takes out on others. Juno negotiates with the Aeolus, the god of wind, to send a heavy wind that will sink the Trojans ship in exchange for a wife (Mackail, 1986) . Such shows how unjust she was, especially when using her power to make demanding favors from other people. However, from the book, one may see Aeneas's leadership personality, where he chooses to use his power to do good. When the winds blow the ship, Aeneas feels the urge to give up and run away from his fate though he decides to pray to god for more strength. Instead of cursing and turning against Juno, Aeneas takes his leadership responsibility of leading people, highlighting his piety. His leadership is demonstrated when he decides to provide for his survivors while still searching for the lost one, despite the fatigue and the fading hope of ever reaching lithium. Aeneas can suppress his feeling, look at the bigger picture, and encourage his members to do the same. The book reveals the concept of fate and the nature of man towards it. Such is because despite something being fated to occur does not mean exactly it will happen smoothly. People lose track of their fate due to their nature and selfish ways, just like Juno or probably becomes more focused, just like Aeneas. 

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In the book ‘The Inferno Cantos,' Dante illustrates that man's nature is to be lost due to his decisions. However, there is the hope of being found again, as shown in the book. Through his journey, Dante finds himself being lost in a dark wood, where he finds a challenge tracing his ways back. As he tries to figure his way out of the dark wood, Dante is faced with various challenges that frustrate his efforts to find his true path. Allegory, the leopard and the lion are used in the passage to symbolize the obstacles humanity faces while searching for their authentic way in life, despite being intellectually aware of the need to conduct righteous acts and avoid the evil deeds that may pervert their truth path (Spitzer, 1944) . However, having gone astray due to wrong decisions, a man is hopeful of finding help in his authentic way. Dante found a guider, Virgil, who appeared to him information of the spirit. Dante had root himself in the truth and morality if preached by Virgil, who came to guide him out of the dark path and lead him towards paradise. The passage metaphorically represented man's true nature, where humankind kind is prone to get lost and divert from the ethics and moral life. Still, one conscience and acceptance of being lost will lead them into the good life. 

In Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays the man as vengeful. After the king of Denmark's death, his ghost always appeared to his son Hamlet to demand vengeance over his death by killing the new king. Hamlet plots and contemplates killing his uncle, the new king, searching for his father's revenge. Moreover, Hamlet blames his mother for her husband's lack of loyalty since she collaborated with his uncle to kill his father. Hamlet even staged a fight with plays that would mimic his father's death to see how Claudius would react so that he could double down on his revenge for his father's death. However, before Hamlet would kill anyone, Claudius conspires to kill Hamlet but through poison (Cantor, 2004) . Instead of Hamlet, one of the Claudius team drinks from it and dies. Such escalates the vengeful fights between Claudius and Hamlet, and even in his death bed that resulted from Claudius's poisoned blade, Hamlet manages to kill Claudius. Such metaphorically illustrates the vengeful nature of humankind, who always seek evil for others who wronged them. 

From the three writers, one can conclude that man's true nature agrees with the biblical explanation of fate. Destiny is inevitable, and one can term it as fate shaped by man's nature. The biblical context defines the future as a good ending predetermined before even the creation of humankind. However, the man is given room to make his own choices, which will determine the end of fate. The nature of the man-shaped mainly influences the options by their motivations and faith. 


Cantor, P. A. (2004). Shakespeare: Hamlet. Cambridge University Press. 

Mackail, J. (1986). The Aeneid of Virgil. 

Spitzer, L. (1944). The Farcical Elements in Inferno, Cantos XXI-XXIII. Modern Language Notes, 59 (2), 83-88. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2307/2910596 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). What is the nature of man?.


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