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Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions Essay

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Summary of Christopher Hitchens’ Opinion on the Elgin Marbles

Christopher Hitchens gives a detailed opinion about the Parthenon in Greece and the Greek artistic culture in general. According to Hitchens, there are several reasons why Parthenon is one of the world’s best museums. The first reason is that the museum was built in a unique way. It used marbles that were carefully crafted and positioned to ensure that the building was right in its structure and magnificent in appearance.

The building has deteriorated over the years, but it is still beautiful. Hitchens explains that one of the few things that make the Parthenon interesting is that free men built it. There were slaves in Greece when the building was built, but the building was built by people who had free will, unlike many of the world’s greatest monuments, like the pyramids built by slaves.

Hitchens believes that the Elgin Marbles, a huge part of the Greek culture, should be returned to Greece and put into the museum. He argues that the Elgin Marbles, which were sold by Elgin, should be showcased in totality to capture their beauty and show their cultural relevance. The fact that the marbles are in London and other pieces of the Greek culture are scattered all over the world makes it nearly impossible for anyone to comprehend the art completely.

According to Hitchens, the Greeks are the original and the only owners of these marbles. Many museums have refused to give the marbles back to Greece because there is no law that orders these countries to return the artistic pieces. However, some museums have taken the initiative of bringing the marbles back together to form a complete view of the beliefs and cultures of the ancient Greeks.

Summary of Michael Kimmelman’s Opinion on the Elgin Marbles

Michael Kimmelman, on the other hand, argues that there is no way culture can be owned; therefore, it is not possible to own cultural artifacts. His argument is based on the fact that the Elgin Marbles were not stolen by the British people, but they were sold by Elgin himself. This gives the British people a legitimate claim on the marbles. According to Kimmelman, cultural patriotism should not be about ownership of such artifacts but sharing these artifacts with others. He agrees that it is Britain’s right to keep these marbles.

Kimmelman also adds that the fact that Britain has put the marbles up for anyone to view is enough proof of their good intentions. The marbles are displayed in a London museum. Kimmelman argues that most of the countries that are trying to get back the pieces of artifacts that are scattered all over the world are doing so because of money. He points out that the new Acropolis Museum was finished amidst a huge financial strain on Greece. This means that Greece is out looking for money to run its economy. Kimmelman argues that Greece has foreseen the relevance and the revenues that these marbles can bring into their economy. This is why they want the marbles back. However, this is not a cultural patriotism at all.

According to Kimmelman, the Parthenon has diminished in value due to its worn-out state. The Elgin Marbles will benefit Greece by attracting tourists who will get a chance to view the marbles in the new Acropolis Museum if Greece gets the marbles back. However, Kimmelman says that Greece has no jurisdiction or cultural right to claim the marbles to be returned even though these marbles originated from Greece.

Works Cited

Hitchens, Christopher. “” Vanity Fair, 2009. Web.

Kimmelman, Michael. “The New York Times, 2010. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, April 4). Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/elgin-marbles-in-hitchens-and-kimmelmans-opinions/

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"Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions." IvyPanda, 4 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/elgin-marbles-in-hitchens-and-kimmelmans-opinions/.

1. IvyPanda. "Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/elgin-marbles-in-hitchens-and-kimmelmans-opinions/.


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IvyPanda. "Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/elgin-marbles-in-hitchens-and-kimmelmans-opinions/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/elgin-marbles-in-hitchens-and-kimmelmans-opinions/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Elgin Marbles in Hitchens’ and Kimmelman’s Opinions'. 4 April.

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