Robertson Davies' Fifth Business Essay

Robertson Davies' Fifth Business Essay

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Robertson Davies' Fifth Business


In the novel 'Fifth Business', the author Robertson Davies is successfully able to relate both the themes of magic and religion throughout. He achieves this relationship between the themes primarily through the characters and their actions. Dunstan Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Mary Dempster and Liselotte Vitzliputzli all help to illustrate the close relationship between magic and religion.

One of the characters that Davies uses to relate the theme of magic and religion is Dunstable Ramsay. Dunny was brought up in a Scottish Presbyterian family in Deptford, Ontario. While in the war, he kept himself busy by reading the New Testament and states 'Arabian Nights and the Bible were getting pretty close', referring to both magic and religion. After servicing in the war, Dunstable is renamed Dunstan by Diana after Saint Dunstan. Dunstan's study of saints becomes his passion and he later travels around the world in search of information about several living saints. During his search for saints, Dunstan coincidentally comes across Le grande Cirque forain de St. Vile and Illusions, a circus where Paul Dempster preformed magic. This clearly indicates how Dunstan is related to both magic and religion.

Paul Dempster, another character in the novel illustrates the relationship between magic and religion. Paul is the son of Mary Dempster who Dunstan considered to be a saint. His father, Amasa Dempster is the Baptist parson of Deptford and is considered ...

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