Tartuffe And Romanticism: Meaning And Representation Of Evil In Literature

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Literary text is often used to convey messages to their audience, through art, play or poetry. Whether it is intentional or not, an author can not help to include some aspect of the political events that happened during that time period. Two movements discussed in this essay are “Enlightenment” (17th Century) and “Romanticism” (18th Century) and through literature, we come to acknowledge the presence and representation of evil and how they shape society. Enlightenment thinkers value reason, rationality and moderation, whereas Romanticism encouraged imagination, emotion and individual sensibility. “Tartuffe” by Richard Wilbur demonstrates all of the Enlightenment values in his play, whereas “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley emphasizes on emotion, passion and the natural world. This essay will explore ways in which human reason and society can be evil and deceiving. Evil has been exemplified in both “Tartuffe” and “Frankenstein”. Throughout the essay we will understand how each of the movements relate to each literary work. Religion played a big role during the Enlightenment. “Tartuffe”, written during that time, casts a shadow on religious virtue and religious hypocrisy. Moliere introduces several characters that displays a strong sense of reason to overcome irrationality and at the end of the story, he presents the King, which signifies a restore to aristocracy. Most notably, Cleante (Orgon’s brother in law) who highly demonstrates both reason and religious while explaining to Orgon that men like Tartuffe are “not so rare” in their display of virtue and that there might be other motives. Cleante tells Orgon that he has been a victim of deception, and has been confused “hypocrisy with deep devotion” (FIND QUOTE). In th... ... middle of paper ... ...e lake. He jumps in and save the girl, and gets shot, “On seeing me, he darted towards me, and tearing the girl from my arms…but when the man saw me draw near, he aimed a gun, which he carried, at my body and fired” (Shelley, 151). All these events have taught the Creature that doing good, will not reap good rewards; it doesn’t matter how nice or kind he is, people judge him by his appearance. This shows that the Creature was not corrupted or “evil” from the start. Society has shaped him to be who he is and it is society that has corrupted him. The Creature explains his rage “inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley, 152). The Creature asks Victor to create a companion for him, although Victor promises and begins creating a female companion, Victor ultimately decides not to and so the Creature continues his bloody revenge.

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