The Quest for the Ideal

700 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
The Quest for the Ideal The quest for the ideal is a phenomenon that many people attempt to achieve. As we all know, the quest for the ideal is difficult and complicated by personal experience. The poems, “The Story” by Karen Connelly and the “The Love Song of J.Aflred Prufrock”, by T.S Elliot, as well as the essay “Kant’s Beauty and the Sublime” by Maureen Rousseau explore the peril inherent in the quest for the ideal, which is that in our search for beauty we risk encountering the sublime. The danger of the sublime is that we cannot comprehend the magnitude of the realms of things that are sublime. We ask ourselves why someone would want to risk encountering the sublime. Well, with great risk comes great reward and that is the beauty we…show more content…
The swimmer finds himself past the point of no return in the quest, so to speak, and at the mercy of whatever he encounters, such as the shark Connelly suggests in the imagery of the last stanza. Finally, Connelly ended the poem by writing “But what we own beyond a shadow of a doubt is our fear of being eaten alive, torn apart in depths we have entered willingly” (20-27). This part of the metaphor uses the violent image of being attacked by a shark to represent the severity of our encounter with the sublime. In the quest for the ideal the only thing we can be certain of is that it will not be easy and the uncertainty of what will be there waiting for you. The shark in the ocean’s depth is an apppropriate symbol for the sublime as defined by Rousseau’s explanation of Kant’s philosophy: “something that is fearful and incomprehensible that one wants to resist” (“Kant’s Beauty and the Sublime” 1). The poem “The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Eliot is one extended metaphor depicting the trials the character must go through in his attempt to achieve his quest for the ideal. In this case, the ideal is the world inhabited by the ladies he wants to talk to. The perils the character, Prufrock, has to contend with are low self-esteem and his fear of rejection. The poet illustrates his character’s low self-esteem with the image that Prufrock paints of himself as a man “With a bald spot in the middle of my hair” (39). Prufrock’s poor self-image is also evident in his

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