Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Deadliest Sin-English Essay

Angel Bennett

October 14, 2010

English Lit

Neil Harrison

The Deadliest Sin

The boy would not have done it if he had known history would treat him cruelly for it. His young mind, open to fresh experiences, could not resist the love language of touch. And so he gently pressed his lips to hers, breaking the seal that marriage had imprinted on his very identity. From that moment, he became a man branded by society as an adulterer. The torment that would bind him to an inevitable grave whispered white-hot pangs within his soul. His virtue became his vice, and forever he will carry an unforgivable debt of shame. All for one kiss.

As a growing adolescent he had fought tradition, shrugging off cares with reckless abandon. He knew who he was-a lover of music, a humorous soul, and a romancer. When he met the girl of his dreams, he knew. It didn’t take more than the sight of her to enthrall him, sending tingles all the way to his toes. All was right in his simple world. He never betrayed his adoration for her, not even when he saw the face that would play a key part in his tragic tale. A single, passionate night shouldn’t have sent the entire universe spinning into a galaxy of pain, uncertainty, and trauma, but it did…

Had it really been society’s fault? Perhaps. After all, he was merely acting on his natural instincts, and society had always frowned upon that. When a very young boy, had he not been admonished against bringing in the stray birds on broken wing and nourishing them beneath his bed, he would have done so. His intuition was woven into a thread of natural humanity, and not of social etiquette. “Be yourself,” his parents had encouraged him, and this is what he had become. Was himself not good enough, a mockery of mankind?

Or maybe he was simply a faulty product of organized religion. For years he sat mesmerized in the house of God, lost in the doctrine of morale. Augustine’s pleadings bewildered the vulnerable child as he struggled to make sense of a God’s love turned suddenly black in the face of lust. ”Procreation is the only possible excuse for sex, which should be indulged in without lust or pleasure. Aquinas, who seconded Augustine on this point, routinely associated intercourse with such terms as filth, stain, foulness, vileness, and distaste, and asserted that any sexual activity that does not have reproduction as it’s aim is ungodly-and immoral.” (Gini) With such teachings being imprinted in his tender mind, the boyshould have shuddered at the very notion of lustful pleasures.

Had he really committed an act so vile, so repulsive, that the very forces that lent him breath could literally not find it in them to forgive him? It was hard to fathom, because he was a man of so many dimensions. He wore the hats of a musician, brother, son, philosopher, empathizer, and friend. From the work of his own hands flowed haunting melodies, and his words brought tears and smiles simultaneously to those who paused to hear what he might say. With a single, humorous line uttered at the right-or very wrong-moment, he could shift the mood from solemn to absolute hilarity. His humility, blended with enthusiastic love for mankind, gave hope and determination to those blessed to call him their friend.

What then was he to do? Was it his fate to be untrue to himself? Was it destiny that he must hide who he was-what he had become-at all costs? That hardly seemed fair even to those who knew him at his worst. Indeed, that would be a sentence to the death of himself, for he could expect to get lost while hiding his identity. “No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. “ (Hawthorne) And yet to come clean of this, his unforgivable sin, would result in the ultimate shunning.

Of such things, what is our defense? Where lies our knowledge? If ever a tale were to end in questions, this one is it. That something could feel so right, and yet be so gravely wrong, no one can explain. A fabrication of conscience, then? If it holds such a bind over the innocent soul, perhaps we ought to rethink our position in this mystery called life. For if we have seemingly but one life to live, should it not be spent in a productive manner; productive defined as being yourself, in a state of bliss, and not in a chaos, a wave in the sea? Should the man follow his innate desires, or his learned moral compass?

“Life is a game in which the rules are constantly changing; nothing spoils a game more than those who take it seriously. Adultery? Phooey! You should never subjugate yourself to another nor seek the subjugation of someone else to yourself. If you follow that Crispian principle you will be able to say ''Phooey,'' too, instead of reaching for your gun when you fancy yourself betrayed.” (Crisp)

Works Cited:

Gini, Al. Born, Daniel, Donald Whitfield, and Mike Levine. “xxii”. The 7 Deadly Sins Sampler. Chicago: Great Foundation, 2007. Print.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "XX." The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam, 1986. Print.

Crisp, Quentin. "Famous Quotes about Adultery." Book of Famous Quotes - The One Stop for Quotations Lovers. 10 Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2010. .


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