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The Concept of Self-control in World Literature

The Concept of Self-control in World Literature

Self-control is an inhibitory process that regulates the thought process of individuals and their response to issues taking place in their surroundings. Many literary devices have incorporated the concept to demonstrate the different interpretation of the aspect and its influence on the perspectives of individuals towards life and society. Psychologists indicate that self-control can be developed by looking at the bigger picture, knowing one’s weaknesses, and prioritizing activities that can yield the desired outcomes (Puchner et al.). The Holy Bible is a global literary material that explores different issues affecting people in their surroundings. Its perspectives on self-control are captured in the story of Joseph where he demonstrates the role of the attribute in human existence. Joseph was exposed to multiple challenges, which he overcame by exercising self-control. Likewise, in The Odyssey of Homer, Odysseus’ self-restraint is put into task during his encounter with the Sirens. From these two analogies, one can understand the importance of embracing self-control when exposed to different challenging scenarios that hinder people from accomplishing their desired goals and objectives.

Self-control as Outlined in the Story of Joseph

In the story of Joseph, self-control is portrayed as a feasible approach that people can use to overcome shame. When Joseph was lured by Potiphar’s wife, his self-control saved him from the shameful ordeal that could have hindered him from initiating the movement of the Israelites from Canaan to Egypt. Even though Joseph was imprisoned for his suspicious involvement in the act of adultery, he was saved by the truth when Potiphar’s wife confessed about her misleading ordeal. It would have been shameful for Joseph if he had not exercised self-control at the moment, a move that led him to make informed decisions (Mooijman et al. 585). While Joseph could have turned his back on God due to his multiple challenges that weakened his faith, the Lord intervened for him because of his ability to utilize self-control in each of the moments of tribulation. From this realization, self-control played a significant role in elevating Joseph to his powerful position where he became a key player in Israel and beyond.

Self-control exposed Joseph to a context where he could evaluate his options and make informed decisions due to his sharp focus that explored multiple details in the contemporary environment. Given his ability to exercise self-restraint, Joseph overcame all temptations and other challenges in Egypt, which would have deterred him from accomplishing his goals in the long-run. While his father favored him, as opposed to his brothers, Joseph developed a strong character that allowed him to fit in different situations (Bocarnea et al. 139). During his trial, Joseph’s strong character played a significant role that enabled him to convince the king about his innocence. It should be noted that the attribute of self-control provided Joseph with an opportunity to evaluate his decisions and prioritize his needs, which kept him in line with the realization of his desired outcomes. For this reason, self-control in the story of Joseph is portrayed as an important attribute that allows individuals to make informed decisions that expose them closer to their goals.

Self-Restraint in The Odyssey of Homer

In The Odyssey of Homer, Odysseus’ ability to exercise self-restraint enables him to learn more about the changes that had taken place since he left Ithaca. Upon his return, he would not have been returned to his normalcy because of the emerging opposition from power-hungry individuals who were interested in both his wife and kingly position. However, his ability to disguise himself as a beggar exposed him to a lot of information that allowed Odysseus to make informed decisions against the power brokers. It should be noted that not many individuals who were formerly kings would bear the humiliation of being treated as a beggar because of their experience and strong desire for fame and recognition (Yan 3). From this realization, self-restraint in The Odyssey of Homer is portrayed as an important attribute that influences the outcomes of events by exposing the protagonist to an enabling environment where he can make informed decisions to overcome the looming danger in his surroundings.

It should be noted that Odysseus’ ability to disguise himself as a beggar and follow the unravelling order of events as a third party exposes him to an environment where he can make informed decisions that are free of bias. For instance, when the Cyclops massacre his friends, he does not retaliate as expected. Instead, he withholds his rage and develops a plan, which enables him to escape unscathed. In so doing, Odysseus succeeds in its efforts to save some of his friends, an outcome that would have been impossible if he had retaliated to the Cyclops disastrous move (Felton 35). Importantly, self-control creates a distinction, which separates actions from feelings. In many instances where people respond to emerging scenarios with their emotions, they end up regretting their decisions because of their lack of wisdom, which affects their future plans and other aspects of life. However, Odysseus incorporates both disguise and self-restraint when responding to underlying issue, increasing his probability of survival in uncertain events.

Comparing Self-control in The Odyssey of Homer and the Story of Joseph

In both accounts, the protagonists are exposed to challenging situations where they exercise self-restraint to overcome the effects of the underlying problems. Both Joseph and Odysseus are treated as villains at some point in their lives. However, their self-control saves them from the impact of the atrocities, which play a critical role in safeguarding their wellbeing. However, Joseph’s story leans towards the religious aspect of life, unlike that of Odysseus, who embraces cunningness and disguise to overcome various issues taking place in his surroundings. When triggered, both Joseph and Odysseus practice self-control, which allows them to manoeuvre the pressing situations and align their actions with the interests at hand. One aspect that cuts across the two stories is the ability of self-restraint to equip individuals with the much-needed focus to emerge victorious by accomplishing their desired milestones. This way, it becomes easier for the protagonists in the two accounts to yield their power and influence to other people in their surroundings.

By analyzingThe Odyssey of Homer and the story of Joseph, one can understand the importance of embracing self-control when exposed to different challenging scenarios that hinder people from accomplishing their desired goals and objectives. Importantly, self-restraint enables individuals to develop focus, which allows them to develop viable solutions for the challenging situations that slow their progress. Likewise, self-control exposes them to an environment where they can make informed decisions that are free from any emotions that could have affected their thought process. This way, self-control leads to the realization of outcomes that solve problems and equip individuals with an opportunity to achieve their expected results.

 

 

Works Cited

Bocarnea, Mihai C., et al. “Controlled but Not Controlling: Leading with Self-Control.” Evaluating Employee Performance through Christian Virtues. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 131-145.

Felton, Debbie. “Homer, the Odyssey, Odysseus and his Men Encounter the Cyclops.” Primary Sources on Monsters. ARC, Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 33-41.

Mooijman, Marlon, et al. “Resisting temptation for the good of the group: Binding moral values and the moralization of self-control.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 115.3 (2018): 585.

Puchner, Martin, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Package 1, Vols. A, B, C: Beginnings to 1650. Fourth Edition. New York: WW Norton and Co., 2018. (ISBN: 9780393265903).

Yan, Zhong. “The Return of Odysseus: Environmentality in Homer’s Odyssey.” Foreign Literature (2017): 03.

 

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