Compare and Contrast Essay of Malouf’s Ransom and Eastwood’s Invictus: Seeking Change in Various Ways

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Both texts suggest that the power to change comes in many possible ways. In Malouf’s Ransom, Priam is a “ceremonial figure” and relies mostly on traditions and emotional dissonance to exert his leadership, as showcased through his unfamiliarity to the many “deprivations and shortages” of his royal life. however, before his journey to claim Hector’s body from Achilles, Priam states that his “attention was fixed always on what was central. Himself”. As a result, his lack of exposure to the real world has left him empty of life’s basic experiences. despite his “new and unheard of” plan, Priam surrounds himself into the common life and steps away any “form of royal insignia”, allowing the king to emerge as “a man remade”, in Eastwood’s Invictus he showcases Nelson Mandela as adopting the same ideology of “exceeding one’s own expectations” and trying “something new” and unheard of. This is seen through Mandela’s black bodyguards, who remain uncertain towards the “Special Branch cop”, as seen by their initial encounter, to where both groups adopt confrontational body language with their respective parties standing behind them. however, Mandela uses his position to force a societal change, surprising his “new partners in democracy… with compassion”. As a result, he is able to break” the cycle of fear” and unite South Africa through rugby. This stark contrast with Malouf’s Priam accentuates that, while the role of tradition prevents the king from repairing society, Eastwood’s Mandela succeeds at breaking this notion, ultimately suggesting that the power to change is limitless.

Both texts suggest that the power to achieve hope comes through emotional strength. Set in a time of monarchy, “King Priam” is frequently denied the opportunity to engage in “ordinary desires” and as a consequence he remains sheltered from anything outside his “royal sphere”. however, Priam’s determination to “ransom” the body of his son enables him to gain strength to embrace the concept of “chance”, a motif that is considered innovative in the light of the worlds “violence”. despite the resistance of his royal council, Priam’s ability to “entreat the killer of his son” and accept Achilles’ hand accentuates that it takes great emotional strength to “break the knot” and bring about change. the “most unpredictable of the Greeks”. Contrastingly, Eastwood’s Mandela remains filled with the desire to create a shared identity under the “one team one nation” banner, and hence, continues to evolve his strong opposition’s belief that “the country has gone to the dogs”. Seemingly resistant to pain, Mandela is not only able to “come out ready to forgive the people who put him in prison” but continue to criticise the idea of “petty revenge”, mirroring Malouf’s firm belief that retaliation is never the answer. this profound strength inspires Pienaar to “be the master of his fate”, and, through his use of inclusive language, he is able to persuade his teammates to “be better than they think they can be”, thereby suggesting that change is always obtainable through great strength and unwavering courage.

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Malouf suggest that, while change is obtainable, it does come at a great personal cost. In Ransom, Priam’s reputation as an “imposing figure” denies him the opportunity to form a personal bond with his “offspring” and, as a result, he remains “saved” from true mourning after the death of Hector, as compared to Hecuba, who “sits stunned with grief”. This is further seen through Priam’s interaction with Somax, to where, when the “cart man” sniffles, the King describes it as an “odd habit”, showing us Priam’s lack of insight in regard to true loss. In addition, his regal life has left him incredibly isolated from the “real world” to where he “takes no part in the physical business” and rather, lives vicariously through his “herald Ideaus” Furthermore, Malouf’s employment of childish traits, to where Priam is characterized as an “obedient toddler”, is contrasted with his “old and frail age”, thereby allowing the text to typify the King’s lack of exposure to life’s simplest experiences. Nevertheless, Somax’s tenderness towards his family propels Priam to reflect on the true extent of his relationships, to where, by the end of the text, he makes “small sounds” and regains his role as a father. This is contrasted to Eastwood’s Mandela who remains isolated from his children. Like Priam, Invictus’ President Mandela is committed to his “very big family of forty-two million people”, and, as a consequence, he is denied the opportunity to embrace fatherhood.

This is further established through Eastwood’s arrangement of Zindzi, to where she remains framed by the doorway as she exits the living room, demonstrating her absence in Mandela’s life. the story of Mandela is limited to a single artefact, the bracelet, seemingly abandoned in a drawer and later discarded by her daughter. As a result, despite Mandela’s attempt to share his life with her, it is unsurprisingly meet with animosity, signifying her reluctance to forgive her father and preventing the President from acquiring a relationship with his family.

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Compare and Contrast Essay of Malouf’s Ransom and Eastwood’s Invictus: Seeking Change in Various Ways. (2020, November 26). WritingBros. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from
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