Analysis of Matthew G. Lewis's The Monk

Analysis of Matthew G. Lewis's The Monk

Analysis of Matthew G. Lewiss The Monk What is the Gothic? No clear definition exist for it The importance of atmosphere o Medievalesque settings o Haunted Castles - Importance

of architecture Heavy Symbolism Psychological aspects Why The Monk? One of the earliest example of the genre (1796) Origin of Gothic conventions

Social comments of that time Religion Human nature Short Summary of characters

Ambrosio: a monk, tempted by the devil o Pieous Christian; later: rapist and murderer Matilda: seductress, agent of Lucifer o Tempter of Ambrosio Lorenzo and Raymond: cavaliers,

Agnes: nun, lover of Raymond o o The good guys Damsel in distress Matilda

Name:Gothic origin, meaning brave in battle o Suggests barbaric, pagan connections Two conflicting sides: o Supernatural: manipulative and ruthless o Human: signs of genuine emotion

Matilda as a Faustian agent Like Mephisto in Faust, she is o a companion and adviser o a granter of power for servitude o a master of human nature o manipulative Comparison with Faust: differences

Matilda Occasionaly genuine emotions Sexual charm o Frees instincts (ID) Mephisto (Faust)

No genuinity: 100% manipulation Intellectual charm o Frees consciousness (Superego) Archetypes Male

Sky (Uranos, Zeus, Thor) Wind and thunder: Action and change Female Earth (Gaia, Anann) Nature: Preservation and nurturing

Archetypes Conclusion: In the traditions of fiction

men act women are acted upon Exception: when women act, it is either o Foolish o Wicked o Or Both Archetypes

Male Lorenzo and Christoval: Cavaliers, medievalesque morality Ambrosio: Man of authority, corrupted soul

Female Antonia: angelic, innocent and helpless Agnes: passive sufferer Matilda: woman of action, wicked nature

Ambrosio as a sky god Strict and erect posture Clear authority, detached worldview

Voice and oratory described as thundery Calm, but full of destructive potential o o Like a statue He views himself above ordinary people

Motif of Thunder He inveighed against the vices of humanity, and described the punishments reserved for them in a future state. Every Hearer looked back upon his past offences, and trembled: The Thunder seemed to roll... His words sounded like thunder to her ears: As He thundered out these words, He violently grasped Antonia's arm, and

spurned the earth with delirious fury. Changes in Ambrosio Matilda seduces him His subconscious is freed He is drawn to Lucifer He gains supernatural power, but becomes a slave to it. He loses the will to make active decisions

He becomes like fire: destructive and ravaging, but controllable Antonias rape scene The effects which it had already produced permitted not his doubting its success in prolonging the slumbers of his devoted Mistress. No sooner was the enchantment performed than He considered her to be absolutely in his power, and his eyes flamed with lust and impatience.

Incubus Raymond meets the Bleeding Nun A figure entered, and drew near my Bed with solemn measured steps. With trembling apprehension I examined this midnight Visitor. God Almighty! It was the Bleeding Nun! My blood was frozen in my veins. I would have called for aid, but the sound

expired ere it could pass my lips. My nerves were bound up in impotence, and I remained in the same attitude inanimate as a Statue. Sleep Paralysis State between wakefullness and rest

Muscle weakness, inability to move Hallucinations, often nightmarish in nature Cultural connection: visions that are possible sources of legends Reasons of downfall Ambrosio

Matilda Indecisive

Refuses to escape his situation Integrity crisis: does not seek solution Lose of authority

Makes plans and schemes She controls what to see (Cavern scene: light carrier) Practicer of witchcraft: evil power Maker of deals Reasons of downfall

Conclusion Ambrosio is too passive for a man Matilda is too active for a woman Anti-Catholic themes Gothic cathedral, Catholic symbol

Beacon of light and the heavens; visual appeal But monstrous and sinister at night Metaphor for the Church: extravagant, but

corrupt Anti-Catholic themes: Statues Anti-Catholic themes: Statues Strategically placed for the most important scenes Constant reminders of Catholic Authority

They are like a divine surveillance system Eyes of God or eyes of the Church? Praying to statues of saints Idolatry, superstition Anti-Catholic themes: Statues A single Lamp, burning before the Statue of St. Rosolia, shed a faint light through the room, and permitted him to examine all the charms of the lovely Object (Antonia) before him. 'She started away from the Statue's Pedestal on

which She had been seated, and attempted to escape by flight. 'Then would I vent my anguish in loud exclamations and passionate complaints; and then again my strength failing me, silent and hopeless I would sit me down upon the base of St. Clare's Statue, fold my arms, and abandon myself to sullen despair. ' Conclusion Violation of cultural roles brings pain and death

Possible influence os certain archetypes Women are powerless and they are sacrificed Symbolic use of objects Catholicism is sinister and evil The End

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