The Deception and Destruction of Purity in The Italian Essays

The Deception and Destruction of Purity in The Italian Essays

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The Deception and Destruction of Purity in The Italian


Purity in the Gothic genre can be perceived from so many points of view. It involves sex, beauty, perception, and people's position in society. "The Italian" has many characters that behold either one or more of these traits. In this paper, we will explore how Ann Radcliffe uses purity and the deception and destruction of it to enhance her character's role in the Gothic genre.

"The sweetness and fine expression of her voice attracted his attention to her figure, which had a distinguished air of delicacy and grace; but her face was concealed in her veil. (page 5)" From the very beginning of the book, Radcliffe lets us know that beauty and attraction will play an intricate part in the development of the story. But she also lets us know that it will not be an open perception, she hints toward an element of intrigue combined with the person's role that they play within society. Through the entire book, we find that Vivaldi is obsessed with the beauty of Ellena. Ellena appears to be so perfect and pure, Vivaldi can not help but to fall in love with her. Here sex and beauty themselves end up being the instigators of deception and destruction.

As Vivaldi tries to get closer to Ellena, she seems to withdraw more and more into hiding. This creates an air of intrigue that makes Ellena more than irresistible to Vivaldi. This curiosity and intrigue that perplexes Vivaldi only becomes greater when he meets a mysterious monk on the road to Ellena's house. The monk warns Vivladi that he needs to stop his pursuit of Ellena and then he mysteriously disappears. So Vivaldi's intrigue that ends up being so deceptive and destructive, now exists on two levels with Ellena and the mon...


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...as as deceptive and destructive as they come. For one, she held Ellena prisoner for frivolous reasons. Two, she tried to force Ellena to take the vows of a nun. I also believed that Olivia was deceptive, she tricked the Abbess and helped Ellena escape. So you see, you can not always trust the stereotypes of society, because even the most sanctimonious and respectable people can be the masters of art in deception and destruction of what is right, good, and pure.

All five elements of purity in the Gothic genre have been deceived and destroyed in more ways than one. So whatever ideas of purity that anybody had before reading Ann Radcliffe's "The Italian," they are now completely altered and set in an entirely different genre. Do not always believe what you hear or see because you never know what deceptive or destructive element might be lurking around the corner.

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