Fight the Power
The play Henry IV by William Shakespeare, the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, and the poems “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch and “Suburban” by John Ciardi all deals with some type of oppression and conformity. While each piece of work was written in a different time period, the topic or main complaint still effects people no matter which era they lived in.
In the poem “Liberty”, the speaker takes an unusual way to express his feelings about conformity. He pees on his front lawn as a sign of freedom because he has the ability to go whenever he pleases. By peeing outside, this makes the speaker different from society. He is taking advantage of his Liberty. The quote “The ex-wife used to say, ‘Why can’t you pee in the concert with the most of humankind who do their business tidily indoors?’”. The comment only enforces the idea of being one’s own person. Near the end of the poem the speaker thought about his ancestors and their accomplishments on establishing the holy trees in the suburbs. Having this mindset allows the speaker to feel less trapped in a narrowly way of thinking.
The “Suburban”, the speaker is hesitant to speak his mind and go against the majority of the people. When his neighbor called asking him to pick up his dog’s waste, he immediately had a sarcastic comment but thought against saying it because that would ruin his image as a typical suburban. The reader gets a sense of distance and fakeness of their relationship. The neighbor had to apologize before saying his dog emptied it’s bowels on her lawn. She even said the call wasn’t a social call. One can tell he feels like a prisoner in his own mind. He wants to be social and interact with his neighbors but they keep each other at arm’s length.
In “The Cask Amontillado”, the narrator’s obsession over obtaining revenge on his number one enemy, Fortunato, in the end cost him his life as well. Montresor, the narrator, reason for revenge was because he was insulted by Fortunato’s acquaintance. This fits into the topic of conformity because Fortunato did nothing morally wrong to Montresor. Montresor just thought Fortunato did not fit into society by his standards. This is just another reason how oppression and conformity affects the life of a person.All three of the above works relate to Henry IV by the main theme oppression. King Henry failed to live up to his word to the people who helped him overthrow the pervious king. They felt trapped and used, so they decided to start a war with Henry and his loyal subjects. Another example of conformity in Henry IV is Prince Harry inability to take anything serious for the first half of the play. The people even scowled him for choosing to hang around thieves and less important people. One should not be judged in this way but Prince Harry did say he only did this to impress the people when he does get his act together. But Harry and the people who were betrayed by King Henry stayed true to themselves. Prince Harry continued to have fun while he still could. The people of were betrayed choose to do something about the issue instead of sitting around and pretend to be loyal subjects.