Ransom: Investigating Human Mortality 12th Grade

Ransom explores the fundamental nature of death and how, as an inexorable fate, it can define man. Set in the context of war, Malouf's novel highlights that death is not only physical, but is also spiritual and further, how the death of one can have an impact on the life of another. In light of this, Priam’s dream to escape the confines of his kingly role and to experience ‘something new’ given his eventual demise underscores how man is separate from the gods as we understand the value in life. Ultimately, however, the finality of death arouses the need within man to exercise control over their own lives, challenging the fixity of mortality through stories and storytelling. Malouf also suggests through Priam and Achilles’ interactions at the Greek Camp that men can connect through their common fate, enabling them to transcend conventional roles and enmity, ultimately allowing themselves to be liberated. In this way, though mortality is man’s eventual destiny, it spurs man’s journey throughout life in the search for existential meaning before meeting death.

The harsh reality of warfare and the losses sustained by protagonists underscores how one’s death can impact on another’s life and thus, in the process of grieving, one can...

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