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Rasselas and Nekayah's View About Single and Conjugal Life

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 232

Rasselas and Nekayah both are the offspring of Abyssinia royalty who escaped from a happy valley with Imlac in search of happiness. They reach Cairo, the centre of commerce. There travelers as well as merchants from all the corners of the earth gather. One can easily find and meet the people of every character. They stayed there in order to search pleasure among the citizens. For the success of their mission, they divide their work between themselves. Rasselas is assigned to know what is going on in the majesty of court, whereas Nekayah will collect the shades of humble life. The princess met various families and found their thoughts narrow. Their merriments and pleasures were forged. She found the jealousy of the beauty of each other. Their sorrows like their joys were temporary.

From her search, she collected the opinions of children and parents were naturally opposite. The young and the old were prey of the contrary effects of hope and dejection. The old man trusted in gradual progression, where as the youth expected to force his way by intelligence, energy and precipitance. The old men paid their attention to riches, and the youth followed virtue. The old looked with anger on impertinence of youth, and the youth with contempt on the principles of age. In result, love was found in little quantity.

She views about the single life as she found its state in the communities of Cairo. She finds envy in single life because they live without friendship and affection, and are engaged how to get rid of the day. It shows their lethargy because they consider the time useless. They live under the constant sense of some known inferiority. It fills their minds with malice and their tongue with censure. In other words, it can be said that they live without feeling or exciting sympathy and without tasting the balm of pity. So their state is gloomier than solitude or seclusion. It is that they are excluded from mankind. She concludes that marriage has so many pains, but celibacy has no pleasure.

Rasselas condemns her views based on prejudice because she has only picked out the evils and miseries that is the negative facet of life. Rasselas considers the marriage as the order of nature. In it, men and women are made to be the companion of each other. So it is one of the means of happiness. Nekayah is very sharp in admitting the reasons. She is of the opinion that marriage can be miserable, if tempers, desires and opinions are found different. Such marriages give birth to violent impulses and obstinate contest of incompatible virtues. In nations, marriage is rather permitted than approved, and that none, but by the instigation of a passion too much indulged, entangle them with dissolute compact. Rasselas reminds her that she represented celibacy as less happy than marriage. His opinion is that both conditions, may be, they are bad but they cannot be worst. He talks of the wrong opinions, they mutually destroy each other and leave the mind open to truth. The princess disagrees.

Rasselas says that if marriage is best for mankind, it must be best for individuals. It cannot be separated from evils because some one might have been sacrificed to the convenience of others. Prudence and benevolence cannot make marriage happy. The general complaint can be expected in case of immaturity of youth, quickness in judgment, unconformity of opinions, dissimilarity of manners and impurity of sentiments. He finds common thing among the youth that they meet by chance, exchange glances, mutual civilities and dream of one an other. All they make their attention divert little and diversify thought. In result, they feel uneasy and impatient, if they don't see one an other. Their company makes them happy. At last, they marry and jostle themselves into voluntary blindness. They become tired of altercations and change nature with cruelty.

Rasselas talks about the early marriages which become the cause of rivalry between parents and children. In it, the children wish to enjoy the world where as the parents are willing to relinquish it. The daughter begins to bloom before the mother can be content to fade, and neither can forbear to wish for the absence of the other. All these evils can be avoided by that deliberation and delay which prudence prescribes to final choice. In his opinion, longer time increases experiences, and wide views will earn better opportunities of enquiry and selection. In such method, parents will be older and can justify. The princess disagrees and gives reason of various disputes in such marriages. According to her, such marriages leave the children in guardian's mercy. Indeed, they should marry at that age that before leaving the world, they must see those whom they love best either wise or great. Rasselas believes that those who marry late are best pleased with their children. They would produce all that could be wished. Nekayah utters the words of great wisdom that no man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of the spring; no man can, at the same time, fill his cup from the source and from the mouth of the Nile.

Indeed, their arguments about marriage and single life were very interesting based on simple philosophy. It seems to be the mirror of all ages. Such interesting discuss was interrupted by the interference of Imlac.

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