Stevenson believed that gentlemen were hypocrites with outward respectability and inward lust and greed, and in this novel there are several occasions where hypocrisy is brought into the lime light. In his characters, he used powerful imagery and interesting language to draw a picture of what people in those days were really like. The novel's impact is so great that it has become a part of common language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" meaning a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
The Imp in Us All "The Imp is taken to be a self destructive force present in all of us but with important difference in each person according to the power of will and morality". (Edwards 162) Those important differences both connect and individualize the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Imp of the Perverse, The Tell Tale Heart, and William Wilson all demonstrate Poe's fascination and exploration with inner conflict and torturer. These short stories deal with the same issue but present it in different ways by making the characters vary when describing their will and their morality. Hawthorne punctuates this fact through his famous character Reverend Dimmesdale from the Scarlet Letter.
Failure to respect God's standards often roots obscurity in recognizing one's own sins. For this reason, Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to maintain a dark and truthful view of mankind, his romantic historical fiction novel; The Scarlet Letter reveals both the author and man's common struggle to discern the difference between Civil and Natural Law, the means by which they deceive themselves, justify their actions, and seek redemption. Not to mention, the setting impacts the evolution of the plot dramatically as certain bold individuals take on the role of romantic heroes, fighting the Puritan Utopia in both a proper and improper manner. Consequently, a recurring theme is continually developed as transcendentalists view man as inherently good and Hawthorne exposes the reality of man’s wickedness. However, Hawthorne's conflicting views of human nature are clearly evident as he both sympathizes and rebukes the transgressions of the Puritan society though each of four main characters.
As John speaks to Elizabeth once he remains accused of witchcraft, he claims, “ I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man,” to emphasize the realization of his guilty heart and soul (136). Proctor feels as though he no longer pertains to endure as a good man; therefore, he thinks that the accusation may of witchcraft remain true, but if he dies falsely condemned and people remember him as a martyr, this will also remain false. According to Otten, Proctor displays “strident moralism”, and continues to be “ dependent upon recognizing and accepting” his own fate (3).
However, all too often, people lie for self-serving, immoral purposes. In this quote, Twain elegantly shows the delicate balance between good and evil in the performance of the same act. Furthermore, Twain also shows this complex thought in his portrayal of characters in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twains novel emulates his quote, juxtaposing the good and bad aspects of stretching the truth. Throughout the novel, Twain provides numerous commentaries on the morality of characters.
Moral Ambiguity in Heart of Darkness In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness we see various attitudes toward morality. It is extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to deduce the exact endorsement of morality that Conrad intended. Conrad provides his readers with several instances where the interpretation of morality is circumstantial, relative, and even "indeterminable." One finds many situations in the novel that lie somewhere between morality, immorality, and amorality. A few examples from the novel that illustrate this idea are: the depiction of Kurtz as revealed through Marlowe, Marlowe's own actions and thoughts, and the Kurtz' death scene.
Along with this, Satan's thoughts parallel the idea of "Evil, be thou my good," (p76, line 110) which is the opposite of what G-d intends. In order to attempt to discern if Satan is a tragic hero, his character must fit a certain profile. According to Aristotle's theory, the tragic hero has the potential to be great, but is doomed to fail. The tragic hero, although fallen, still wins a moral victory. The general characteristics follow that the tragic hero is a noble, is responsible for their fate, contains a tragic flaw, and is doomed to make a severe error in judgment.
The latter is the most important when considering Hawthorne’s characters as abstract symbols. Dimmesdale is especially noted for his dark nature of concealing his association with Hester’s scarlet letter. His extreme selfishness and pride blinds him from what the Bible ahs taught him and in this aspect is a one dimensional character as are the Puritans. “Whom, but the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, half-frozen to death, overwhelmed with shame, and standing where Hester Prynne had stood!” (Hawthorne 139). His extreme fear of someone discovering his secret and losing his high status is just one way Hawthorne manipulates the characters to make the novel more didactic rather than a stream-of-consciousness.
Let not light see my black and deep desires" and further convinces that he is ill-intentioned. Another definite example of Macbeth's inner struggle to deal with his ill-intentions that he must ... ... middle of paper ... ...hether or not they were influenced by other characters, were his decisions and the way he perceived and interpreted the prophecies was his error. Thus, Macbeth's downfall was not solely the evil advice and influence of other characters but the impact of his decisions and his perceptions of the witches' prophecies. Macbeth is a tragic figure whose downfall is caused by a combination of his ill-intentions, the influence of other characters and his consequential decisions and interpretations. Therefore, one cannot say that Macbeth's downfall was caused solely by the evil advice and influence of other characters and that this reason for his downfall is only a small part of his eventual downfall.
Huck rejects lying early in the novel, a testament to his successful training bestowed upon him by the Widow Douglass and other townspeople. Huck begins the story by lecturing the reader that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer contained lies about him, and that everyone has lied in his or her lives (11). Huck’s admittance of the lies contained in the previous book about him demonstrates his early dedication to truth in the novel. Later, Tom forces Huck to return to the Widow Douglass where he continues learning how to be “sivilized” (11). When Huck returns, the Widow Douglass teaches him the time when lying is appropriate, improving Huck’s sometimes unreliable moral directions.