Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E.M. Forster Essay

Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E.M. Forster Essay

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“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” is a saying is commonly used to emphasize how ignorance can result in decisions that lead to unfavorable situations. Likewise, in Where Angels Fear to Tread, Edward Morgan Forster uses irony, point of view, and satire to effectively emphasize how stereotypes, prejudices, misunderstanding of cultural differences, and hypocrisy could lead to unfavorable circumstances. Where Angels Fear to Tread begins as a light and comedic novel but later develops to become more dense and tragic.
The novel starts off in a train station in England where a widow named Lilia Herriton prepares to leave on a trip to the fictional Italian town of Monteriano. Her mother-in-law, Mrs. Herriton, and her two children, Phillip and Harriet, are sending her on this trip in the hopes of separating her from her suitors. Lilia is accompanied by a family friend, Caroline Abbott, who the Herritons hope would watch over her. A month passes by and the Herritons receive a letter that informs them that Lilia is engaged to an Italian man, Signor Gino Carella. Enraged, Mrs. Herriton sends her son Phillip to break up the engagement. However, Phillip arrives too late and Lilia had already married Signor Carella. Phillip and Ms. Abbot then return to England after failing to break up the marriage.
Months pass by and the Herritons receive another letter that informs them that Lilia had given birth to a baby boy but had died during childbirth. Mrs. Herriton did not believe that Signor Carella was capable of being a father and sent Phillip and Harriet to Italy to retrieve the baby. Ms. Abbott, believing she had failed Lilia the first time, joined them on their trip. While in Italy, Ms. Abbott and Phillip have a change of heart and...

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...listic. The novel ends with Phillip and Ms. Abbott returning to England having learned an important lesson of life.
Overall, the use of irony, point of view, and satire in this novel efficiently emphasizes the central message of the dangers of stereotypes, prejudice, the obsession with social conventions, and hypocrisy. Where Angels Fear to Tread is a novel that goes through several stages of happiness and sadness. It takes the reader through a rollercoaster ride of emotions as they follow the characters and their revelations. The novel teaches the reader to avoid generalizations and judging people before knowing their true personality so that they may avoid unfavorable situations and avoid being the “fool” that “rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Works Cited

Forster, E.M. Where Angels Fear to Tread. 10th ed. Oxford: Project Gutenberg, 2001. eBook.

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