Friday, March 22, 2019
Religion Essay -- Character Analysis, Daja, Nathan
William Hazlitt, a British writer during the early 1800s once said, Prejudice is the child of ignorance. During the eighteenth-century, the time period in which Gotthold Ephraim Lessing wrote his do, Nathan the Wise, thither was much religious prejudice displayed throughout Europe, specifically against the Jewish and Muslim populations. For instance, Ronald Schechter nones, eighteenth-century writers typically portrayed Jews as greedy moneylenders, and depicted Muslims as hostile despots and servants of the despots (4). Many people perceived Christianity as the provided true organized religion however, Lessing challenges these notions of Christian superiority throughout his play. One way he does this is by not portraying the Christian characters as any better or worse than the characters of different religions in fact, the Patriarch is characterized as a despot, analogous to how eighteenth-century writers portrayed Muslims. Furthermore, he tries to illustrate that not one religi on be it Christianity, Islam, or Judaism is greater than the early(a)s, but rather all religions argon lastly equal in the eyes of God. From factors such as characters portrayal, the plays audience is able to grasp Lessings overall view of Christianity, which is withal his main message throughoutChristians do not have a monopoly on religious truths (Schechter 10). In Lessings play there are four Christian characters and two of the four, Daja and the Patriarch, are portrayed negatively. Daja, a Christian servant of Nathan and his stepdaughter Recha, is characterized as one of those fanatics who imagine they know the universal and only true path to God (111). Although she tries to be a devout Christian, she betrays Nathan by revealing his secret regarding ... ...sides (118). Although this is only a stage direction and not an actual line from the play, it nonetheless has a major impact on the play. The fact that all characters, representing each of the three religions, come togethe r in the end exemplifies what the author is trying to portray throughout. As Ronald Schechter notes in the introduction, The play does not end with the various characters tolerating each other. It ends with them embracing each other (20). Having the play conclude this way conveys Lessings approximations on religion. Lessing does not return of Christianity as any better or worse than Judaism or Islam, rather practitioners of different religions can please God equally (Schechter 16). And until that higher, experienced forecast comes down to rule which religion is better than the others, all religions should be thought as equal in the eyes of God.