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The effects of knowledge on happiness and freedom

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  1. Political theory.
  2. The case of Frederick Douglass.
    1. Education made him a happy and free.
  3. The nature of freedom and its relationship to happiness and knowledge.
    1. The narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass.
    2. Do slaves live in a state of ignorant bliss?
    3. Oedipus the King.
    4. The crying of lot 49.
    5. Dostoevski's 'The Grand Inquisitor on the Nature of Man'.
  4. Conclusion.

Upon reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Oedipus the King, The Crying of Lot 49, and Dostoevski's ?The Grand Inquisitor on the Nature of Man?, I find that a common theme links their ideas together. As the four stories progress, the main characters all receive knowledge which affects their view of their environment and themselves. The process of learning and obtaining knowledge undoubtedly causes a strong impact on each of their lives, especially in terms of their freedom and happiness. From my perspective, however, the nature of this impact becomes ambiguous, with the author's message interpretable in different ways.

[...] Learning eventually makes them more happy and more free. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles has his main character receive a series of revelations which convict him of incest and parricide, and lead him to poke out his eyes and leave the kingdom forever. Certainly it would seem that knowledge in the case of Oedipus makes him lose all happiness and actually makes him stop believing in the freedom of man. was Apollo, friends, Apollo that brought this bitter bitterness, my sorrows to completion,? Oedipus says (Sophocles 68). [...]


[...] With the loss of all connections, she becomes completely free. This freedom does make Oedipa happier. To the end of the novel, Oedipa never tries to give up her search for the truth. Even after being followed on city streets late at night by men in black suits and being exposed to the possibility of it all being a hoax, she refuses to surrender her search, because she could not be happy without knowing that it is possible to find the truth. [...]


[...] Oedipus is saying that freedom does not exist; that everything has been planned out for the world, and every committed action is unavoidable. His knowledge has made him greatly miserable, the most accursed, whom God too gates above all men on earth? (Sophocles 69). So, Oedipus apparently views knowledge as unhappiness and does not believe in freedom's reality. Does Oedipus' knowledge make him truly unhappy though? Is he only using Fate as an excuse to avoid responsibility? The citizens of Thebes, through the chorus, tell Oedipus he ?would be better dead than blind and living? (Sophocles 69). [...]

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