City of God

A Review of the Movies City of God, Gueros and Wadjda

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

City of God, Güeros, and Wadjda can be described as the movies of the season. The videos present real-life situations, capturing the attention of their audience and changing their view of the societal norms and practices. Although the movies were written and produced by different people, they nevertheless contain individual physical, social, and cultural aspects that may or may not be the same. In each movie, there is a main character whose decisions and actions are influenced by the environment, societal and cultural beliefs. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to describe the similarities and differences in the physical, social, and cultural factors in the films that influence the decisions of the main characters.

Physical Differences

In Wadjda, the leading actor is Wadjda, rebellious young lady who has her beliefs on how the universe should run. She is affected by three physical factors. First is her desire of own a bicycle. Her environment does not accept a woman to ride a bike. However, as a child, Wadjda has always wanted to ride one. She has seen a beautiful bike a nearby shop and intended to buy it. Her desire causes her to join the school music festival hoping she would win and get the money she needs to by the bicycle. This is a secret she keeps to herself. Secondly, Wadjda is influenced by the school, where she meets people from different backgrounds with different beliefs. She learns about freedom, and she wants to extend the same in her surrounding. Finally, Wadjda does not like the dressing code. Women in her society have to cover their faces and hair. Wadjda, however, does the opposite and leaves her face and hair exposed.

In the City of God, the main character, Alexandre Rodrigues, or Rocket, is influenced by two factors. First, he does not like the dirty city. Rocket was born and raised in the slum. All his life he has witnessed the unhygienic state of his home. When he becomes of age, he decides to join the gang and move out of the dirty slum life. Again, his decisions are affected by the people around him. While growing up, the only ones around him were criminals who were part of gangs. He grows up knowing that there is the only way to go. He later joins a band although he was not good at it.

Finally, the main character in Güeros is influenced by the desire to do things his way for a better life. For instance, when he goes to visit his college brother in New York and finds them living in a small, filthy room with no power, he wonders why they have not yet stricken. According to him, the strike would be the only way to push the administration to ensure students’ welfare is attended to properly.

Social Differences

Although the society prevents girls from befriending boys, Wadjda respects and values friendship and has no problem befriending the boy next door. She believes people from both sexes should be allowed to be friends. Additionally, she listens and watches western music that gives her more exposure to the world, and she learns it is not bad to own a bicycle.

Violence and gangster life influence Rocket, on the other hand. In his society, being part of a gang is the only means of livelihood available. One has to join a group to earn income for the family. This forced Rocket to be part of a gang although he did not like it.

Finally, Güeros is affected by poverty and his will for freedom. He opposes everything that reduces human dignity. He also makes quick and irrational decisions some of which land him in trouble. His mother sends him to New York after she could not tolerate him anymore. There, he mobilized students, and they engage in a strike demanding for better housing conditions.

Cultural Differences

Wadjda does not like her cultural beliefs. The fact that women have not say in the society annoys her. Her teacher claims she a stubborn girl because she opposes some things she does not like. She also forced to watch her mother suffer in her father’s hands. The girl’s religion also demands that women should not walk without guardians even when they are married. Wadjda opposes this walking alone admiring the city.

Rocket, however, is influenced by the slum life his surrounding is living in. Their culture is that of poverty, and people are forced into criminal acts to make ends meet. Rocket has no choice but to follow suit. He, however, moves out of the slum and finds a good place to stay.

Lastly, Güeros is influenced by political radicalism and the need for social change. He seems to oppose the authority and demands them to perform their duties. Even his mother gets tired of him and sends him to New York. In New York, he becomes one of the ring leaders organizing strikes and demonstrations.

Physical, Social, and Cultural Similarities

Physically, all the movies are set in the modern society. Wadjda can access and watch videos. She has also seen and liked a bicycle and intends to buy it. In the same way, Rocket is born and raised in a slum. Slums are familiar in the main cities where people in the lowest social class live. They are usually dirty, and gangsters are very many. Güeros is also exposed to the town of New York, which is one of the largest cities in the United States. Together with other youths, they engage in strikes to improve the condition of people living in the city.

Socially, freedom fights and violence are common in all the three movies. Wadjda wants to buy the bicycle because it represents her freedom. Rocket joins gang life as he wants a better life that enables him to move out of the dirty life. Güeros also engages people in strikes in the quest for freedom and better living conditions.

Finally, poverty is a cultural phenomenon that drives all the main characters in the films. Wadjda cannot afford the bicycle; and thus, she is forced to join the music competition. Rocket is a gang because his family is poor. They are also living in a slum. Güeros and his brother are also poor. They live in a dirty little room without electricity.

In conclusion, the three movies are the true presentation of the modern societies and the challenges that people experience in their daily lives. They give pictures of how people are forced to make hard decisions as they attempt to make their lives better and easy.

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Choosing to between living according to God and living according to man as illustrated in City of God

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In The City of God, Augustine goes to great lengths to explain the distinction between living according to God and living according to man using an analogy of two cities. With this distinction, he shows that living according to God is superior because it offers the promise of salvation and true happiness after death, something that cannot be attained according to Augustine if one decides to turn away from God and live according to man. He makes this argument by defining the three parts of the human being and explaining their role in a person’s decision to serve God or the self. He also uses his interpretation of original sin as evidence for the repercussions of turning away from God.

Augustine begins by defining the composition of a human being. According to Augustine, every man is made up of two parts, the flesh and the spirit. The flesh consists of both the soul and the physical body, while the spirit is the rational part of the human being that has the free will to serve either the flesh or God. Augustine does not believe that the soul is inherently better than the body, stating that “it is not only because of the flesh that the soul is moved by desires and fears, by joy and sorrow, but that it can also be agitated by these same emotions welling up within the soul itself” (303). This means that the soul is affected by emotions and is corruptible in the same way that the body can be controlled by its appetites and desires. Because the soul is just as fallible and imperfect as the body, Augustine does not believe it to be superior. All three parts – the soul, body, and spirit – comprise a human being, and no part alone can make up a man in the absence of the others.

With the two parts of the human being established, namely the flesh and the spirit, Augustine creates an analogy of two cities, each representing one way a man can live. The first is to live in the City of Man, which is to live “according to the flesh” (295). This way of life results when man lives for the sake of himself, rather than God. He has turned away from God, thinking it is better for him to concern himself only with the needs and desires of the flesh, resulting in failure to serve God. Augustine views this as an arrogant, self-centered way to live, because he believes it happens when a man thinks he can live a more fulfilling and pleasurable life without God. He condemns the decision to live in this manner, saying “there is a wickedness by which a man who is self-satisfied as if he were the light turns himself away from that true Light which, had man loved it, would have made him a sharer in the light” (311). This suggests that Augustine equates living according to man with completely turning away from God due, to the belief that the human being is complete without Him. He criticizes the man who chooses this way of life as being blind to God’s salvation and wisdom, which he may have participated in had he accepted God into his life.

The City of God, in contrast with the City of Man, is a state in which man lives according to God. This way of life arises when man embraces and serves God, even to the negation of self. By that, Augustine means that man chooses the subjection of the body and worldly desires in order to orient himself toward God. This is done in the hopes that denying oneself in this life will lead to everlasting peace in the next life. In this metaphorical city, the spirit looks above the flesh to exist for the purpose of serving God and controls the pleasures of the flesh in order to honor Him.

The two cities represent two different loves, one that loves the self and one that loves God. The City of Man is a “selfish love” (321) in which man rejects the necessity of God for attaining true happiness and salvation and instead believes that happiness is achievable through human wisdom alone. Conversely, the City of God recognizes that God is the highest form of truth and knowledge; it is only through Him that humankind has any hope of eternal peace and sanctity.

Although Augustine recognizes that man has been given the ability to choose whether or not the spirit should serve God, it is clear that he thinks that human beings can only live righteously by living according to God. He reasons that only through a life of service to Him may one attain access to His kingdom and eternal beatitude after death. Even the most virtuous and “wise men in the city of man live according to man” (322), meaning that although they may live respectable lives they will still be condemned to damnation after death since they will fail to receive salvation from God.

Not only will living in service of God allow for peace after death, but it also eases the minds of His followers while alive because it gives them hope in a greater existence after death. Augustine claims that human beings, “now compelled to feel the misery of so many grievous ills on earth, can, by the hope of heaven, be made both happy and secure” (442). This means that although life can be unpleasant, even miserable at times, there is always hope for serenity in heaven if one lives in service of God. Those who choose to believe that the greatest happiness is found during a worldly existence and selfishly indulge in bodily pleasures are excluded from both the peace of mind that comes with the hope of an eternal existence and subsequently “will not attain the kingdom of God” (297) after death.

Denying God’s ultimate power in favor of living according to man is exactly what happened in the case of Adam and Eve, which Augustine deems the original sin. Eve turned away from God’s might when she decided to eat the forbidden fruit, and Augustine believes that this act was committed because Eve thought she knew better than God. Her actions were disobedient and represented the misconception that human beings can be more knowledgeable than God and self-sufficient without Him. Augustine uses this example to show how not living in service of God results in severe negative consequences. After all, Adam and Eve, like all other human beings who choose to live according to man, had made themselves each a “deserter of eternal life” and “doomed to eternal death – from which nothing could save [them] but grace” (313). To choose to live according to man, therefore, is to choose to be exiled from heaven and God’s salvation.

Although human beings may seem to be naturally sinful creatures who cannot resist the urge to fulfill bodily pleasures while choosing to neglect their duties to God, Augustine argues that this is not the case. If the human body were inherently sinful then that would imply that the Creator made human beings fundamentally bad. Since Augustine believes that all things made by God must be good, the flesh cannot be blamed for the sins of human beings. That is why the original sin of Adam and Eve was not caused by “a corruption of the body” (299), but instead was their choice to disobey God’s commandment. Because of that their bodily desires alone were not to blame for their sin; rather, it was a flaw in their spirit. Because the spirit has free will, it is up to each person to decide whether to live according to man or according to Him. Adam and Eve’s failure to obey God was caused by the spirit turning away from Him in an act of pride.

Augustine proposes two ways a human being can live: according to man or according to God. To illustrate this point he creates two cities, each of which embodies the characteristics of one way of life. In the City of Man, people have turned away from God and selfishly believe life is sufficient without Him. Conversely, in the City of God everyone recognizes the might of God and serves Him devoutly in hopes of achieving eternal beatitude after death. Augustine warns that the fate of those living in the City of Man is eternal damnation because they have not earned God’s graces and thus will not be saved. However, when the spirit embraces God and desires only to serve Him, one may live with the promise of a blissful existence in heaven and freedom from earthly misery after death.

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The peace motive as illustrated in the City of God

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In his book, “The City of God,” Saint Augustine of Hippo writes to defend Christianity against pagan claims of abandonment from God. When the city of Rome fell in 410, many citizens argued that it was Christianity’s fault, but Augustine says that the blood was on the hands of those who oppose God by searching for peace in earthly things. He also puts the city of Rome in a comparison with the heavenly City to show the differences of true happiness through peace between the two cities.

Augustine begins his writing by expressing his response to the people’s claim of God being at fault. Augustine says that the pagan believers “were more attached to the seductions of foul spirits” which is the reason that they “take no blame for the evil they do, but blame Christianity for the evil they suffer” (208). This quote explains the reason the city becomes corrupt. Because of the citizens sinful ways, the joy of the city is crushed by the enemy. The absence of joy emphasizes the search for joy which- when not focused on God- causes that search to be in earthly things. This also explains Augustine’s response to the pagans when he tells them that they “still wallow in sin even in the depths of sorrows” (208). The sin becomes stuck in a cycle when the unjust search for happiness causes more sin which causes more searching and so on. Augustine says that in God, that search is unnecessary.

As Augustine continues, he describes the only way that one can find the sufficient source of happiness: peace with God. He begins by explaining that, even when Rome was under the praise of the pagan gods, the one true God was always in control. The old pagan heroes of Rome were moral, and Augustine says that the “splendid of the Empire” was a small reward of “temporal glory” for the “praiseworthy efforts of virtue by which they strove to attain” (212). This reward was from God, but because they praised others, the glory was only short-term. The pagans received their reward and basked in it, so they now “have no right to complain of the justice of the true and supreme God,” Augustine says (212). On the other hand, “the reward of the saints is altogether different” (212). While on earth, they suffered hatred and afflictions by standing for God and loving him supremely. This love and admiration was rewarded with citizenship in the City of God, something much more lasting than the pagan’s reward. Resisting the search for happiness in earthly substances pays off for the righteous. Augustine says that in God’s City, “there reigns that true and perfect happiness” and it can only be explained as a “gift of God” (212). This becomes the basis of Augustine’s comparisons between earth and Heaven.

One of Augustine’s main objectives in “The City of God” is to not only display the differences between Rome and the heavenly City but also to show how Rome should have mimicked the heavenly City. Augustine first describes how the earthly citizens use perishable means to ease the pain of the “supreme evil” (214). There is no reason to ease the pain when one can eradicate it altogether. The earthly city seeks a limited amount of happiness and digs deeper and deeper in the wrong direction for the true treasured goal. The heavenly citizens morally use the happiness of earth as a stepping stone to the promised peace of God. Earth’s city “has flowered from a selfish love” and from a “lust for domination” while God’s City is “rooted in the love of God” and in “service to one another in charity” (209). Shaping the earthly city of Rome after the holy City of God makes sense to Augustine. He says that “the only real peace is for those who find their joy in God” and reaching this peace leaves man “perpetually endowed with life” (216). It is pointless to continue to tire one’s self by chasing after the very thing that God is offering him or her. In God’s City, peace is fully sufficient. All things chase after this peace so it makes sense to Augustine to strive to be like the holy City. The only way this can be done is “by religious faith where citizens adore one God alone and serve him with complete dedication,” Augustine says (215). The earthly city must let go of its boasting acts and “refer every good act done” to God (216).

“The City of God” is a platform for Augustine that he uses to stand for, defend, and proclaim God. Throughout his work, Augustine shows that peace apart from God has many shortcomings. The only way to obtain true peace is to be in God’s presence. The fall of Rome is just the ending consequences of the temporal glory given to the moral heroes of the earthly empire of Rome. The only indestructible, eternal reign is that of God in his heavenly City. This City holds the “supreme good of eternal life” and fulfilling peace which, according to Augustine, can only be found in God (214).

Works Cited ·

Saint Augustine “from The City of God.” Rosemary Mims Fisk, John Mayfield, and W.J. Wallace (eds), Samford University Core Texts Reader, Vol. 1, ISBN: 9781581529999

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Code Of Chivalry: The Bridles Of Medieval Europe

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

While the chivalric code has rarely taken the shape of a formal code of conduct, its effects can be observed in the way medieval life was shaped from the way wars were waged to the way nobility behaved. The original meaning of the word “chivalric” was derived from the Old French “chevalerie” and referred to a specific class of knighthood, specifically “horse soldiery”, but later developed to encompass all knightly ideals. These ideals were partly assimilated by the aristocracy of medieval Europe thus redefining the virtues nobles stood by at the time. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the term had evolved to circumscribe a moral system chiefly composed of three pillars – military ethos, knightly piety, and courtesy – that sequentially dictate the noble life. However, chivalry was not always sanctioned by the clergy circles of Christianity.

Due to the warfare-eccentric aspects of chivalry, Christian societies had difficulty in adopting the chivalric way of life and were most times against it, as warfare and killing, in general, was considered sinful by the Catholic Church. It was not until the conception of the Christian rendition of Just War (Ronald), a theory arguing war can be justified in the eyes of God if it is the last resort in reconciling a conflict (Jeremy), that the City of God began to reconsider the ethical values of chivalry. This bore fruition to the knightly piety, a religious denomination of Christianity that was embraced by knights and clerics alike due to its equitability and catholic nature. Knightly piety played a pivotal role in the knights’ participation during the Crusades by the Roman Catholic Church, endearing them by justifying their participation in war as a holy cause. In effect, knightly piety dictated the religiosity of an individual and how Christianity and war can co-exist.

Whereas knightly piety described the relationship between Christ and warriors, military ethos extends way beyond that and embodies the ethical mien of all manners of warriors and combatants. This ideology was influenced by predating philosophies of war, such as the Chinese Confucian philosophy, and attempted to conform to the Just War theories to formulate a de facto code of conduct that can logically be deduced by people of all backgrounds. The purpose of war ethos was, and still is, to enact a predicate where soldiers will take action with ethicality in mind, protecting against immoral exploitation of conquered populace and nefarious usage of the power bestowed upon soldiers like the usage of a weapon to strike an unarmed fighter (Ronald). Its primary principle is to protect those that show weakness rather than do injustice to them and as a result, the essence of military ethos can be applicated to other prospects of life. An exemplary such application is that of military courtesy. Military courtesy, which is customarily depicted between military personnel regardless of force, is the recognition of chain-of-command within an armed force and the respectful interaction between officers dependant on their rank.

Although military courtesy is restricted in between military members, chivalric courtesy abstracts from that subset and uses societal standings as the indicators of one’s rank and how he or she should be treated. It imposes a habitus of politeness and civility as well as adherence to elementary etiquette and decorum conditioned on one’s stature. These dignified traits were espoused by the upper class of medieval Europe and were deemed to be traits of the quintessential patrician. Consequently, chivalric courtesy became integrated into upper society and, as is with any culture, the middle and lower classes began to imitate and assume this type of behavior in quotidian life. Courtesy was to be demonstrated in perpetuity inclusive of romance which bred life to a new category of literary works that revolve around “chivalric romance” conveying the status quo of the times. These works focused on highlighting the life of a noble knight and explored the medieval notion of courtesy, showcasing the doctrine that courtesy should be applied in all facets of one’s lifestyle.

In contrast to the chivalric ideals set forth by literary works of Medieval Europe, many researchers argue that chivalry simply existed to restrain the blood-lusting warriors of the Middle Ages. Although its cogitation was relatively progressive for its time as “chivalry expressed itself collectively as a confrerie, a sort of corporation, even a college, all of whose members enjoyed an egalitarian solidarity”, when its essence is contemplated from a philosophical perspective, numerous scholars concluded that a man of chivalry must find joy in war to participate in it, therefore “the courageous knight is driven by sadomasochistic urges”. Another decisive factor of a knight’s courage was conjectured to be his “sadness”, his capability to grasp the concept of death. From the point of view of Christianity, some scholars regard knightly piety and the “Just War” merely as a manipulation tool for personal gain devised by the Church to assemble and exploit the substantial force comprised of the knights in the Middle Ages. The rhetoric of “Peril, Flight and the Sad Man: Medieval Theories of the Body in Battle” by Katie L. Walter argues that chivalric code solely existed as a restriction on the “freedom” of knights to act indecently as unscrupulous usage of power was rampant in medieval Europe.

On one end, chivalry is a staple of the Middle Ages that represents the idealistic modus vivendi of a citizen in a conflict-ridden era of constant bloodshed. It seeks to transcend knighthood from a barbaric sect of warriors to an exemplary creed that abides by personal beliefs and, in its latter stages, the word of God. On the other end, chivalry could be regarded as an elaborate apparatus to repress the turmoil of the age and allow warriors to be employed under the pretense of a holy cause to achieve self-serving goals. The extent of which either statement is true is debatable although it is certain that, while medieval Europe was a volatile period, the chivalric code of conduct was respected, at least in part, by many across Europe and as such, it ultimately served as a beneficial tool that pursued to contain the volatility of the epoch.

Works Cited

  1. Walter, Katie L. ‘Peril, flight and the sad man: medieval theories of the body in battle.’ Essays and Studies, vol. 67, 2014, p. 21+. Literature Resource Center. Accessed 21 Nov. 2019
  2. Adams, Jeremy duQuesnay. ‘Modern Views of Medieval Chivalry, 1884-1984.’ Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 154, Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Originally published in The Study of Chivalry, edited by Howell Chickering and Thomas H. Seiler, Medieval Inst., Western Michigan U, 1988, pp. 41-89. Accessed 18 Nov. 2019
  3. Musto, Ronald G. ‘Just Wars and Evil Empires: Erasmus and the Turks.’ Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 231, Gale, 2014. Literature Resource Center. Originally published in Renaissance Society and Culture, edited by John Monfasani and Ronald G. Musto, Italica, 1991, pp. 197-216. Accessed 18 Nov. 2019
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The City of God and the Life of People in Rio de Janeiro

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

In this paper I will talk about how the characters in city of god lived. Also how the movie criticizes brazil’s democracy. The image City of God’ has a few examples of sociology speculations of wrongdoing and abnormality. The film is described by one among 2 focal characters, Rocket, and recounts the narrative of the lives of himself and Lil Ze, kids grew up inside the Ciudad Rio de Janeiro in comparable conditions anyway chose separate pathways throughout everyday life.

The suggestion expresses that intense stir winds up in remunerations, and once these prizes don’t appear to be satisfactory, abnormality emerges. Rocket was then released because of his supervisor trusted he was a piece of the ‘hood’. Rocket didn’t get the severance pay that he expected and was not able purchase the camera he required. progressively Rocket started showing demonstrations of abnormality. He took his more business in order to understand his goals. Later once Rocket swung to freak conduct, Rocket as partner conceiver, on account of the work of grimy implies that for his prosperity.

It’s the qualification and separation between those who are well off and furthermore the less wealthy. The total reason Lil Ze’ had a contention with Knockout Ned was a result of relative depravation. Lil Ze’ saw himself as revolting and was seen turned somewhere near young ladies inside the image. Lil Ze’ compellingly got what he required by taking medications, Knockout Ned’s family and assaulting his better half.

In the film the character Rocket symbolizes trust, as he longs for changing into an innovative individual, and this can be utilized as a vehicle inside the film to depict imaging of the favela to each the media in Rio de Janeiro inside the story, and to the watcher. Lil Ze could be a child with the ‘preference for wrongdoing’ that grows up to be the favela’s most dominant and not well renowned law breaker. The lives of the 2 are tangled and unexpectedly Rocket’s fantasies of changing into an innovative individual are acknowledged through his entrance to life inside the favela and his delineation of the violations executed by Lil Ze and his group.

This film was basic in bringing issues to light of each the presence of still on the grounds that the issues inside the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, related was one among the essential social portrayals to rise up out of Brazil to demonstrate the darker aspect of the town and a substitute reality to what’s unremarkably apparent in regards to city, that is postal card pictures of shorelines, dusks and samba. By means of this social vehicle.

This scene comes full circle in apparently the premier extraordinary and astonishing scene inside the film, wherever a child wants to be started into Lil Ze’s pack is compelled to decide between that 2 kids from the ‘Runts’ he needs to shoot and murder. we tend to are looked alongside his hesitation just as his separation from issues he’s put in. one among the youths whose life is being resolved begins crying uncontrollably, and with a nearby shot of his face we tend to are on the double attracted to his outrageous stress of issues he’s in, still as his age, that couldn’t be more than five years past. the child character pulls the trigger. ‘Steak and Frites’, is later spoken to inside the place of the opponent posse being addressed on why he should be worried inside the group fighting, and says: ‘I smoke, I grunt. I have slaughtered and burglarized. I’m a man’.

At the end of the film once the Runts have dead Ze and are talking about anyway they’ll assume control over his business and turn into the pioneers of the favela, their absence of instruction is featured once one among the group requests the necessities of making effective rundown of these they will kill ‘who here knows about an approach to compose?’ and one among them reacts ‘a bit’. Either these children have had no entrance to training, or extra required with their survival inside the favela consider tutoring to be partner inessential a piece of life.

At the point when Benny is executed by a devotee and along these lines kept from endeavor the favela we tend to are defied with the sole snapshot of distress inside the film; this can be the sole minute wherever Ze indicates feeling, wherever the camera shots wait at the scene of the passing, and wherever the watcher is in a very sense educated to feel despondency for his misfortune. His demise is furthermore superseding in depicting the issue of making an endeavor to be a legit character inside or making an endeavor to leave the lifetime of the favela.

The last key this movie shows the corruption that is happening in the city. The police are bought off and they are there to help the drug dealers and they themselves sell illegal guns. In the movie it started off by saying that all the poor people would be in that city. This shows how the country does not do anything to help this people come out of poverty, instead there shows how the people are killed by the police or die there because there is no way for them to get out. The kids are not enforced to attend school instead a lot of them seek out other methods to make money and be able to live. The democracy in this movie is being shown as a shamble because there of the amount of corruption that is being presented.

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Reviewing Augustine Hippo’s Book City Of God

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The City of God (5th century A.D.) composed by St. Augustine, one of the founding fathers of the Church of Rome, highlights the world issues within the context of the individual, family and city-state. For him, the key to unite the world is not by might or warfare, but by breaking down linguistic and social barriers, thereby facilitating communication, understanding, peace and unity. Attaining this end of a unifying language has been purchased by bloodshed. He refers to Rome as the imperial city who imposes this language on its citizens and those subjugated under her yoke. The diversity of languages has only engendered conflict and separation within the human race. Augustine bemoans the woeful effects of war, not just in the physical domain but in the mental and spiritual which give birth to insensitivity of feeling and hardness of heart. Types of war which arise are political, social and civil in nature; however, just wars are justified – waged for righteous ends and blessed by the Church.

The Art of War (5th century B.C.) composed by Sun Tzu, a notable Chinese general, stresses the importance of war to the state and gives pithy advice on martial techniques on how to manoeuvre one’s army to secure victory. Moral influence is a very integral factor in warfare as a battle can never be won without the respect and cooperation of citizens impelled by love of king, government and country. A leader strikes the right balance between love and discipline, reward and punishment. The prime tool to emerge victor in a war is that of deception and to do the opposite of what the enemy expects or supposes. Self-knowledge and knowledge about one’s combatant are indispensable in going against the odds. The water metaphor characterizes the army because an effective and efficient army practices subtlety (hidden strength), flexibility, adaptation to adverse circumstances, inconstancy, …). The politics of warfare. It is imperative that in warfare there be no prevailing beliefs in omen, superstitions, nor portents as they would demoralize the army, cause despair and hasten loss. The objective of the army is to fight to the death no matter what the signs of nature, or the supernatural.

The Greatness of War (1900) authored by Heinrich von Treitschke explores the discourse of militarism and its role specifically in Germany. War unites a people as the citizens celebrate an ideal that is higher and beyond the individual and the self that is the welfare of the State and the glorification of a Nation seeing to its survival and prestige. In the absence of war, mental stagnation and exhaustion result but on the other hand, war quickens and enlivens the body and mental faculties. The prevalent political opinion tending to militarism lay the foundation of the World Wars which led to increased military budgets in an age where war was seen as a solution for certain crises. War is idealized in the eyes of the elite and the masses. Tritshchke plants divine justification of war where God sanctions war which serves for the best of humanity. War is a means of peace and progress. War begets the ideal of heroism where men distinguish themselves as icons, models of national pride. The joys, fond memories and euphoric feelings that war produces surpass the devastation and loss of life.

Friedrich von Bernhardi’s ‘Germany and the Next War’ (1912) advocates war and militarism where it was viewed as “a biological necessity of the first importance.” Survival of the fitness and the law of the strong ruling the weak are taken as mottos in Germany. War is indispensable because it is a process through which civilization is born and develops: the absorption of weaker nations into a larger nation which goes on to the status of empire. Yet war is inevitable because through another law: the law of self-preservation, weaker nations oppose overthrow, defeat and foreign rule, there begins a struggle and a fight for either conquest or preservation – similar that of a predator and a prey. The right of possession goes only to the victor of the strife and lies in sheer force. In the same vein, the German’s appropriate to themselves the law of the right of conquest to conquer other nations and take over territories. Civilisation gets promoted through conquest as power added/ annexed to an even higher power allegorically, the pyramid of power. The absence of war to the German is inconceivable as in peace there can be no expansion of territory no absorption of power and no growth of a state, to a nation to an Empire.

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Augustine’s Cities: Living According to God vs. Living According to Man

April 9, 2019 by Essay Writer

In The City of God, Augustine goes to great lengths to explain the distinction between living according to God and living according to man using an analogy of two cities. With this distinction, he shows that living according to God is superior because it offers the promise of salvation and true happiness after death, something that cannot be attained according to Augustine if one decides to turn away from God and live according to man. He makes this argument by defining the three parts of the human being and explaining their role in a person’s decision to serve God or the self. He also uses his interpretation of original sin as evidence for the repercussions of turning away from God.

Augustine begins by defining the composition of a human being. According to Augustine, every man is made up of two parts, the flesh and the spirit. The flesh consists of both the soul and the physical body, while the spirit is the rational part of the human being that has the free will to serve either the flesh or God. Augustine does not believe that the soul is inherently better than the body, stating that “it is not only because of the flesh that the soul is moved by desires and fears, by joy and sorrow, but that it can also be agitated by these same emotions welling up within the soul itself” (303). This means that the soul is affected by emotions and is corruptible in the same way that the body can be controlled by its appetites and desires. Because the soul is just as fallible and imperfect as the body, Augustine does not believe it to be superior. All three parts – the soul, body, and spirit – comprise a human being, and no part alone can make up a man in the absence of the others.

With the two parts of the human being established, namely the flesh and the spirit, Augustine creates an analogy of two cities, each representing one way a man can live. The first is to live in the City of Man, which is to live “according to the flesh” (295). This way of life results when man lives for the sake of himself, rather than God. He has turned away from God, thinking it is better for him to concern himself only with the needs and desires of the flesh, resulting in failure to serve God. Augustine views this as an arrogant, self-centered way to live, because he believes it happens when a man thinks he can live a more fulfilling and pleasurable life without God. He condemns the decision to live in this manner, saying “there is a wickedness by which a man who is self-satisfied as if he were the light turns himself away from that true Light which, had man loved it, would have made him a sharer in the light” (311). This suggests that Augustine equates living according to man with completely turning away from God due, to the belief that the human being is complete without Him. He criticizes the man who chooses this way of life as being blind to God’s salvation and wisdom, which he may have participated in had he accepted God into his life.

The City of God, in contrast with the City of Man, is a state in which man lives according to God. This way of life arises when man embraces and serves God, even to the negation of self. By that, Augustine means that man chooses the subjection of the body and worldly desires in order to orient himself toward God. This is done in the hopes that denying oneself in this life will lead to everlasting peace in the next life. In this metaphorical city, the spirit looks above the flesh to exist for the purpose of serving God and controls the pleasures of the flesh in order to honor Him.

The two cities represent two different loves, one that loves the self and one that loves God. The City of Man is a “selfish love” (321) in which man rejects the necessity of God for attaining true happiness and salvation and instead believes that happiness is achievable through human wisdom alone. Conversely, the City of God recognizes that God is the highest form of truth and knowledge; it is only through Him that humankind has any hope of eternal peace and sanctity.

Although Augustine recognizes that man has been given the ability to choose whether or not the spirit should serve God, it is clear that he thinks that human beings can only live righteously by living according to God. He reasons that only through a life of service to Him may one attain access to His kingdom and eternal beatitude after death. Even the most virtuous and “wise men in the city of man live according to man” (322), meaning that although they may live respectable lives they will still be condemned to damnation after death since they will fail to receive salvation from God.

Not only will living in service of God allow for peace after death, but it also eases the minds of His followers while alive because it gives them hope in a greater existence after death. Augustine claims that human beings, “now compelled to feel the misery of so many grievous ills on earth, can, by the hope of heaven, be made both happy and secure” (442). This means that although life can be unpleasant, even miserable at times, there is always hope for serenity in heaven if one lives in service of God. Those who choose to believe that the greatest happiness is found during a worldly existence and selfishly indulge in bodily pleasures are excluded from both the peace of mind that comes with the hope of an eternal existence and subsequently “will not attain the kingdom of God” (297) after death.

Denying God’s ultimate power in favor of living according to man is exactly what happened in the case of Adam and Eve, which Augustine deems the original sin. Eve turned away from God’s might when she decided to eat the forbidden fruit, and Augustine believes that this act was committed because Eve thought she knew better than God. Her actions were disobedient and represented the misconception that human beings can be more knowledgeable than God and self-sufficient without Him. Augustine uses this example to show how not living in service of God results in severe negative consequences. After all, Adam and Eve, like all other human beings who choose to live according to man, had made themselves each a “deserter of eternal life” and “doomed to eternal death – from which nothing could save [them] but grace” (313). To choose to live according to man, therefore, is to choose to be exiled from heaven and God’s salvation.

Although human beings may seem to be naturally sinful creatures who cannot resist the urge to fulfill bodily pleasures while choosing to neglect their duties to God, Augustine argues that this is not the case. If the human body were inherently sinful then that would imply that the Creator made human beings fundamentally bad. Since Augustine believes that all things made by God must be good, the flesh cannot be blamed for the sins of human beings. That is why the original sin of Adam and Eve was not caused by “a corruption of the body” (299), but instead was their choice to disobey God’s commandment. Because of that their bodily desires alone were not to blame for their sin; rather, it was a flaw in their spirit. Because the spirit has free will, it is up to each person to decide whether to live according to man or according to Him. Adam and Eve’s failure to obey God was caused by the spirit turning away from Him in an act of pride.

Augustine proposes two ways a human being can live: according to man or according to God. To illustrate this point he creates two cities, each of which embodies the characteristics of one way of life. In the City of Man, people have turned away from God and selfishly believe life is sufficient without Him. Conversely, in the City of God everyone recognizes the might of God and serves Him devoutly in hopes of achieving eternal beatitude after death. Augustine warns that the fate of those living in the City of Man is eternal damnation because they have not earned God’s graces and thus will not be saved. However, when the spirit embraces God and desires only to serve Him, one may live with the promise of a blissful existence in heaven and freedom from earthly misery after death.

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Formal Elements in City of God

February 6, 2019 by Essay Writer

In Fernando Meirelles’ film City of God (2002) the audience is introduced to and follows the life of Rocket, and his affiliation with Li’l Zé (formerly Li’l Dice), a gang leader in the City of God. In one of the final scenes of the film, a continuation of the opening scene, a battle breaks out between the two rival gangs in which Rocket is caught in the middle. Shots are fired on both sides and police become involved, resulting in the arrests of Carrot and Li’l Zé. Through the lens of Rocket’s camera, the audience witnesses the police take Li’l Zé’s money and possessions as bribes and set him free. Upon his being freed, Li’l Zé is approached by the Runts who brutally murder him both with the intent to take over the drug business, and out of revenge for the murder of one of their own. After the Runts are gone, Rocket approaches Li’l Zé’s bullet-hole-riddled body, and captures the only images of the take down of the tyrant gang leader.

Meirelles uses several formal elements to heighten the authenticity of emotion throughout the film. In the final few scenes in particular, Meirelles utilizes shadow and low angles to depict the clumsiness and nervousness that Rocket is experiencing as he witnesses Li’l Zé’s interaction with the police and the Runts. Rocket is seen only through the cutouts in the wall with his face obstructed by either the presence of his camera or the wall itself, as the policemen, who are cast entirely in shadow, walk down the stairs toward Li’l Zé. After snapping a few pictures, which are caught in brief freeze frames as he takes them, Rocket is seen hurriedly attempting to adjust the settings on his camera from a low angle initially, and then a close-up on his fingers as they fumble with the dials in an attempt to make sure he gets every shot he can and does not miss a single detail.

Another interesting choice of formal element Meirelles uses in the film, is the idea of the camera capturing all of the action of this scene through the lens of Rocket’s camera. The audience experiences this event quite literally through the eyes of Rocket as he is attempting to capture these crucial moments for the City of God. The lens of the camera produces a white circle in the center of the shot as a means of focusing the image, and the audience experiences this. The viewer is able to see the shift in focus of the image as Rocket attempts to steady his hands and the camera in order to get the perfect shot through the cutouts in the wall; which often obstruct the view of the camera in a blurry outline. In between pictures, the camera will switch points of view from Rocket’s to an objective view where the audience catches a glimpse of Rocket through the cutouts in the wall, with his camera ready in his hands and his eye peaking just over the lens at the events unfolding.

Lastly, Meirelles utilizes diegetic sound to capture the snap of the camera over the sound of the conversation between Li’l Zé and the police officers. While the conversation is still audible, the click of the camera takes precedence over the mumbled conversation when Rocket’s point of view is in effect. Meirelles does this for two reasons: the first, is to solidify the audience’s understanding that this is all taking place in Rocket’s point of view, and the snap of the camera is going to be louder to his ears than the conversation taking place. The second, is to further drive one of the main themes of the film; a picture is worth a thousand words. In most cases, the images Rocket is capturing say more about life in the City of God and the corruption of the police than any interview with a citizen or officer could.

Through the use of several formal elements, Meirelles was able to heighten the authenticity of emotion within the film and further the audience’s understanding of the corruption in the City of God. The utilization of shadow over the police officers as they walked down the stairs evoked a sense of fear of being caught within the audience. The low angle and close-up shots of Rocket fumbling with the camera presented feelings of anxiety over being caught and urgency to capture the next image. Anxiety could also be felt every time the camera clicked, for fear that the police or Li’l Zé would hear it and come after Rocket. However, none of these elements would have had nearly the same emotional impact on the audience had the camera not been in Rocket’s point-of-view for the near entirety of the scene. Meirelles’ choice to film through Rocket’s lens made this scene the most impactful piece of the film.

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