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Posted on April 22nd, 2014, by

The study of literature is an inevitable element of personal development.  It helps to explore the human condition and various features of humanity.  It’s crucial for a literary study to be made in the social, cultural, and personal context.

Clearly the study of literature provides a substantial contribution into the understanding of the human condition by helping its audience learn new facts about the world and thus to broaden the audience’s mind. In addition, it helps the audience’s truly discover themselves through the study of human condition described in the literary sources.

The study of literary characters, their lives, and experiences help the audience to develop the knowledge of the human condition and its development through the centuries. By analyzing themes, characters, ideals, symbols, motifs of the certain literary source the audience is able to improve its thinking skills. Overall, it should be noted that humanity may be studied through the outstanding literature it has created.

The four incredible authors whose literary works are known for their thorough research of human nature that will be analyzed in the present final essay are Leo Tolstoy, Niccolo Machiavelli, Miguel De Cervantes, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz..

According to Knowles (2) the study of Leo Tolstoy as one of the representatives of nineteenth-century Russian literature suggests a striking similarity between historiography and literary criticism. Literature seems to pose the same almost unanswerable questions to the critics as history does to the historians and thinkers. (Knowles 2)  Leo Tolstoy argued the literature revolves around two issues:  Who are we and how shall we live? (Knowles 11)  He was focused on the study of the human nature. Tolstoy’s rejection of the materialism, greed and embracement of the simple lifestyle corresponded to the national perspirations of Russian people.

As for Niccolo Machiavelli, he is considered an interesting example of the study of human nature not only through his literary work The Prince but also through his own complex life experience as a politic figure. Machiavelli introduced the phenomenon that is known to the public as Machiavellianism. Besides, Machiavellian elements are the common element of human nature.

The thinker and also the cynic who believed rather in the power of arms and money than in the power of diplomacy are the most common characteristics of Niccolo Machiavelli. He explores the evil side, the smart side of the world of politics and claims that politics exists and is guided with the usage of all means, for instance, iron or poison, and also with the usage of fatherland for rulers’ goals. Grant (18) mentions three kinds of deception described by Machiavelli that include simplest deceits; the promises that the person has no intention of honoring when they are no longer in his or her interest; and finally the last sort of deception is the one that can be called “true” hypocrisy. This last one sort of deception involves the cultivation of the appearance of moral virtues while in the reality seeking to further one’s own ends. (Grant 18)

One of the most interesting literary works that are dedicated to the honesty and bravery of the main hero is Miguel Cervantes’s Don Quixote.  Don Quixote character is a gentleman of fifty who once invented an occupation for himself.  Don Quixote has formed conception of life based on the books that he read and he took the best examples of behavior and principles from that books. But he had a problem with distinguishing the fiction and the history and unlike other people who also read the same book but did not consider these books as an absolute truth, Cervantes hero really believed these books. So this gentleman went away and returned in quite exhausted state and finally he admitted the whole enterprise had been an error, and died. The novel seems to be very simple because it may be summarized in a few phrases but it is not only simple, it is also a mysterious one. It is disputable and controversial; it may be talked about for a very long time, actually. Don Quixote creates different perceptions about himself and that is why this book is definitely a literary masterpiece.

The major character Don Quixote supports the plot through his love to the various stories that even has created some kind of literary paradox.   At first these stories appear to the audience as not connected, but it should be noted that actually it is Cervantes’ method of novel harmonization: by including the stories into other stories, the author manages to transform his character from a crazy person to the knight, exploring the various characters and different situations and life circumstances.

Finally the last author that will be mentioned is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. This is a well known Latin American poet, who herself may serve as a brilliant example of the human condition study by being a writer, nun, and scholar who aimed to challenge the social values by her social activity,

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