The Portrayal of Bertha in "The Lifted Veil" by George Eliot
2198 Words9 Pages
The Lifted Veil is a novella written by George Eliot, which was originally published in 1859. The novella fits in well with the typical style of the Victorian era. However, George Eliot’s usual style was realistic, so when The Lifted Veil was written, it was the complete opposite of what was expected from her. The Lifted veil is a good example of horror fiction. It explores a wide variety of different themes, including extra sensory perception, foresight, insight, Victorian stereotypes, marriage and the Victorian ideals of womanhood. The novella is narrated by Lattimer. Lattimer has the gift of foresight – and believes that he can see into the future, he also has the gift of insight, and as a result, he can see into people’s thoughts. However, these are powers that he does not have much control over, so that does not make his narration completely reliable. Lattimer becomes obsessed with Bertha – who starts off as his brother’s fiancé. Bertha can be perceived in two ways, as a monster – or as a victim.
Bertha may be seen as a monster because she toys with Lattimers emotions, and teases him. She is aware of his feelings towards her, and still she flirts, and “pets” Lattimer. Bertha behaves very affectionately towards Lattimer in public; she “laughed at his quotations” and “openly petted him in front of his brother”. This shows that she is happy to play with Lattimers emotions, despite the fact that she knows he is “sensitive”, and of a gentle disposition. However, when they are alone together Bertha behaves very differently towards Lattimer she is not interested in him, and is very careful to distance herself from him, and in some cases avoid him altogether. This shows that she is willing to prey on someone who is more vul...
... middle of paper ...
... a figure of both evil, and good. She shows that; like all humans, she had a good side, and an evil side, and that the key is to find the balance between them. She also shows that you should not judge things on face value; you need to look deeper into things, because they usually have a deeper meaning. And that deeper meaning can be interpreted in many different ways.
In conclusion, I think that bertha is both a monster, and a victim. I think that she; like most people, is complex, and has many sides to her personality- some are more obvious than others. I think that the majority of the actions that appear to be evil were acts of desperation, and that Bertha did not think she had many other options at the time. I also think that some of the actions that appear to be Bertha teasing Lattimer may have just been acts of kindness that were misinterpreted by Lattimer.