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On Rasselas The History of Rasselas Prince of Abyssinia is very much a book about philosophy With all the various chapters each dealing with some moral or another it would appear at first to be a book primarily concerned with that aspect of philosophy known as ethics However what we find repeatedly are actions by moral teaching characters that undermine the very things they teach In that sense it doesnt seem to be a very moralistic book at all for no conclusion seems to be ever drawn The undermining of the morals coupled with the understanding that Samuel Johnson himself was a moralist in every sense of the word only confounds the inconsistencies to be found in it With all these inconsistencies there is still one thread that keeps this a tightly woven philosophical book nonetheless That thread is Rasselas journey The journey in Rasselas is not only a physical journey through an exotic country it is also an intellectually progressive journey It is a journey of experience and learning Thus The History of Rasselas Prince of Abyssinia a story about an epistemological journey one that ends in the realization that the journey in search of happiness is in itself the very core of what of he is looking for Rasselas appears to have all that is needed in his valley kingdom of Abyssinia So perfect is the location inhabitants wealth and shelter of Abyssinia that it is described by Johnson almost as a Garden of Eden Here in the valley there are no enemies nor beasts of prey 40 In keeping with the biblical metaphor the narrator goes on to say all the diversities of the world were brought together the blessings of the nature were collected and its evils extracted and excluded almost alluding to the final destination of Noahs Ark While the biblical allusions convey a sense of paradise things arent always as they seem Rasselas is restless
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