Thursday, November 18, 2010

Napoleon and the Oracle

One of the scenes acted out today in lecture that I found particularly intriguing was chapter three where the character Napoleon went to visit an oracle to find out how he could reign for longer because a previous ruler got advice from the oracle that was positive and caused him to receive votes and stay in power for a long time. Napoleon asked to be shown the oracle but the woman who he asked said that she WAS the oracle. Napoleon wants to see the woman’s face and she tells him that he doesn’t want to because he won’t be able to handle it and also she is 187 years old. She finally agrees to unveil herself and Napoleon is scared and begins to scream in fear and pain. The woman/oracle puts her veil back on and Napoleon apologizes for his outburst and they keep talking. After Napoleon wastes more of the oracle’s time, she gets impatient and gets a gun and shoots at him. He falls but rises again because she misses. Napoleon leaves and returns later on with a group of people and he has disguised himself. This time the oracle tells him that he should just die before his reign is over but Napoleon does not like this advice so he decides to go back to his people and lie about what the oracle told him so that he can be re-elected and so that the people will idolize him. I think that possibly the oracle gave the same advice to the previous ruler and the previous ruler also lied to the people so they would think he was more powerful that he actually was. It is easy to fool people when you are in a position of power because they assume that you are smarter than they are. This relates back to a previous post of mine that says that Baconians feel that knowledge is property and that it is their option to disseminate it however they please in an elitist fashion which is exactly what Napoleon did in this scene. When he got back to his people he gave them knowledge in the way that he wanted to. Baconians also feel that the world has to deal with the information that they are given, exactly in the way that the people that Napoleon was ruling over did so I guess that means that in this scene of Back to Methuselah by Bernard Shaw.

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