Jen's Reviews > The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson
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's review
Jun 20, 2007

it was amazing
Read in January, 2007

The ending of the story is left open to interpretation for the most part. After leaving their lives of luxury and seclusion, throughout the whole story the characters are on a search for happiness. They survey the lives of others in many different walks of life (a hermit, a merchant, a nobleman and his family, etc.) but wherever the characters go, they are unsuccessful because each person’s life has flaws. After surveying the various lives of other people and concluding that none of them were successful in finding happiness, the characters decide to return from where they started and continue on with their own lives.

For me, what this seems to say is that you can never see the whole of the journey until you reach the end. To add up all the parts to weigh how much happiness a person had in life is impossible while that person is actually living his or her life--and the only person able to say how happy they are is the person. Whether they obtain it or not, people can only strive for happiness throughout their lives in whatever it is they undertake. The problem with a lot of people is that they don't know that they were happy until they have lost that happiness. For the characters, going back to Abyssinia was not giving up on happiness, it is just the next step on their journey. I think that when they go back, the characters will be better equipped to judge where they were before, and be better able to decide where to go from there.

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message 1: by joe (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

joe interesting thoughts

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