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ideoloji Kuramlarında Özne [The Subject in the Theories of Ideology] – Althusser and Gramsci


Son yıllarda çağcıl düşünce ,”özne”‘nin geleneksel olarak ayrıcalıklı epistemolojik konumunu sorgulamaktadır.Geleneksel batı felsefesinin bir ürünü olan genel bir “özne”kavramının yanısıra ,öznenin nesneyi yönlendirici ve anlam oluşturucu rolü de tartışılmaktadır.Bu makale ,Althusser ve Gramsci’nin ideoloji kuramlarında göründüğü biçimiyle özne kavramında durmayı hedeflemektedir.Althusser ve Gramsci,kuramları ideoloji içinde “özne”nin yerinin gösterdiği ölçüde , bu makale için önem taşımaktadır.Aralarında önemli farklar olmakla birlikte her iki kuram da,özne ve ideoloji arasında neler olup bittiğine ve idoloji içinde insanın rolüne ilişkin açık bir kavrayış sunmaktadır.Bu iki kuramcıyı bu yazı için vazgeçilmez kılan,eserlerinin farklı bir özne kavrayışının kurumsal temellerini barındırması,başka bir deyişle öznenin Kartezyen olmayan kurluşunun ipuçlarını içermesidir.


In recent years contemporary thought has mounted a challange to the traditionally privileged epistemological status of the “subject”.It has attempted to problematize the notion of the “subject”,as the product of traditional western philosophical speculation in general,and its role as the manipulator of the object,or as the meaning-given agent in particular.The present article is an attempt to adress the notion of the “subject” as it is installed within the Althusserian and Gramscian theories of ideology.It also aims to show the significance of the establishment of a category of the “subject” which represents a break with its traditional theorization.Both Althusser and Gramsci are important for this article insofar as their theories clarify the place of the “subject” in ideology.Although their theories have important differences ,they both offer a clearer sense of what happens between the “subject” and ideology ,and of the role of the human agent in ideology.What also makes them indispensable for this article is that their theories offer a theoritical foundation to a different notion of the “subject” which has no longer a Cartesian constitution.


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Into the Wild (ingilizce Kitap Özeti)

Into the Wild

The purpose of Jon Krakauer’s book is to address the matter of young Christopher McCandless and his odd seclusion from society and a lifestyle that was all most people could ask for. Coming from a well to do background in the Washington D.C. area, McCandless always had privileges that few can claim. McCandless was just entering society, having graduated from Emory University, with more than $25,000 in savings and a family that loved him. The question of why he would completely break contact with all that he knew, give away everything he owned, and disappear to the Alaskan wilderness as a homeless man for two years drives Krakauer’s work.

Throughout the many years he spends on the road, McCandless meets and affects many people, though never long enough have a lasting impact or be lured away from his wandering. Citing classic hermits and renouncers of society such as Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, McCandless decides to live in the wild, without the advents of human society. Living in a bus in the midst of the Alaskan wilderness with nothing more than some basic supplies, McCandless keeps a careful diary of his time, his thoughts, and his reasons for fleeing from society.

Eventually, he makes the decision to return to society, but is unfortunately forced to return to his bus by a swollen river. In his final days, McCandless is weakened by hunger and the cold. He spends a little more than 100 days in the wild, all the while being suspected of causing damage on local cabin owners’ land, and finding himself stuck in his situation. He writes often of his reasons but eventually decides that nature is only a refuge for a short while, that true happiness can only be shared with others. In 1992, moose hunters in the Alaskan wild found McCandless’s body partially decomposed in his bus, the diaries and meager supplies still nearby. Initially, many thought he died from confusing potato seeds with a poison type of pea.

Alaskans derided the foolishness of his endeavor, thinking he could possibly survive in the harsh Alaskan wilderness with nothing but his wits. There were many who spoke out adamantly against anyone who was foolish enough to try and survive in such conditions without survival equipment. Alongside the heartbreak of his parents and the public disdain for his ignorance, many try to make an example of him in a negative way.

The author though believes he has lived a similar life and undergone similar instances as McCandless. With that belief, he offer his own personal story and attempts to parallel what has happened in his life with McCandless’s. In the process, he touches on many themes that cross everyone’s lives. There is the matter of the parent-child conundrum, and in it Krakauer manages to maneuver enough perspective into McCandless’s story to make it more about the general condition of youth than about McCandless’s individual situation and decisions.

Into the Wild Characters – People
Christopher Johnson McCandless

After his body’s discovery in the Alaskan wilderness, Jon Krakauer wrote a short article for Outsider magazine about Chris McCandless and how he ended up in Alaska. The story remained with him though and he eventually revisited the story, eager to defend Chris from those that sought to speak negatively of him. A great deal of people have spoken out angrily against Chris and his foolish youth who threw away his advantages in life and died in the wild. Krakauer tries to draw out the similarities between the brash youth of most people and McCandless’s odd decisions. McCandless himself is a young and successful college graduate with a good job and money in the bank who one day decides to up and disappear in response to his father’s indiscretions, giving away his money and becoming homeless. With a father who constantly pushed him to perfection and a paradigm shift that saw Chris completely disillusioned by his father’s hubris in expecting such perfection, Chris could no longer deal with life and spitefully left everything he knew. He eventually ends up in the wilds of Alaska, living in a bus, only to pass away before he has a chance to return to civilization.
Wayne Westerberg

After Chris runs from his father and severs ties with his family, he runs across Wayne who becomes a close friend and a father figure. Because he does not judge Chris, Wayne acts an inspiration to Chris. He represents the middle class and the opposite of everything that his father represents, seeking material wealth at every step. Chris revels in their deep friendship but never stays long enough in Carthage to get to really know him, instead wandering off again whenever he gets the chance. As he discovered his father to be an imperfect human being, Chris might have discovered the same thing with Wayne had he stayed with him for too long.
Samuel Walter McCandless, Jr.

As Chris’s father, Walt (as his friends call him) becomes the root of Krakauer’s theories on why Chris ran off as he did. Walt himself is a rich man, self-made through hard work and education, landing himself a job with NASA and Hughes aircraft. First married to Marcia, Walt fathered five children. He later fathered Chris and Carine with Billie, their mother. For much of his life, Walt holds his son to very high expectations, which Chris attempts to live up to. Eventually, Chris discovers that his father was still married to Marcia for seven years while with Billie, attempting to maintain a home with both women. The two women discover what he’s done when Chris is only 2 years old, forcing Walt and Billie to move. It takes four more years before Walt divorces Marcia and marries Billie, and during their relationship frequent fights can be remembered by their children. In high school, many years later, Chris learns of what his father did and grows angry at the hypocrisy of his father’s expectations. After five years of dwelling on his anger, Chris decides that he cannot stand human hypocrisy and disappears, attempting to teach his family a lesson as well.
Billie McCandless

As Chris’s mother, Billie is only briefly touched upon in the book by Krakauer, speaking on her relationship with Walt as a catalyst for Chris’s eventual rebellion. Chris includes her in his angry rejection of society, holding her responsible with his father for his father’s deeds. Though she isn’t often shown or mentioned, her grief is a display of what Chris’s actions have done.
Carine McCandless

As Chris’s sister, Carine is very close to him and he is able to share his feelings with her, the only member of his family he feels comfortable doing so with. Chris writes letters to Carine throughout the five years after he learns of his father’s indiscretions. The two share angry words about their parents though Carine tells the author that she has a much better relationship with her parents now, having forgiven them. Carine is smart like her brother and very opinionated. She has grown to be very much like her parents in …..hood, married and running her own business, but still remembers her brother and his actions always.
Jan Burres

As a drifter herself, Jan meets Chris as he arrives tired and hungry by the side of the road. Along with her boyfriend, she takes care of Chris, attempting to nurture his desire to live free of society, but also to warn him of the dangers in his actions. She tries to convince him of the errors of his ways and send him back to his mother as she is estranged from her own son, though she fails. She likes him though and though frustrated, is intrigued by him and decides that he will eventually grow out of his youthful woes. As a motherly figure in his life, Burres is a key individual in his journey.
Ronald Franz

Ronald is an eighty year old widower, whose son and wife passed away forty years earlier while away in Japan for the military, leaving him an empty man. Because of his grief, Franz becomes a kind soul trying to find meaning in life, adopting Okinawan orphans and sending two of them to medical school. When he meets Chris, he immediately feels the desire to offer his advice. In the end, Franz becomes a foil for Chris which shows him that if he does not change his ways he will grow old and lonely. McCandless convinces Franz that he is lonely himself and has him sell all of his worldly possessions and join him on the road. Franz agrees, hoping to keep McCandless as his friend and not be lonely again. In the end, Franz is alone, on the road and hoping for death.
Everett Ruess

As a case study, Ruess’s story is used to compare to McCandless’s. His story however is considered more understandable by the author, even though he also renounced his life and exited the world. He is bored by civilization though like McCandless and wants to pit himself against nature. As a youth, his life was filled with traumatic instances, constantly moving, never feeling like he had a place in society. He continues to reject a place in society as an ….. and becomes an outdoorsman and lover of nature. He similarly dislikes his parents and is close to his sibling and ultimately dies in the wild at age 21.
John Mallon Waterman

Waterman is yet another case study, though he was mentally ill rather than disillusioned like McCandless. He considers Waterman’s actions as crazy, while McCandless’s are just poorly informed. The question of mental-illness is never quite answered though as Krakauer’s own knowledge on the subject is not sufficient to make a final judgment. He does however list a variety of reasons for considered Waterman insane. He includes the wearing of a cape on campus, a self check-in to a mental facility his run for the presidency on an outrageous platform. However, his actions are still debatably sane, possibly only eccentric, and possibly more informed than McCandless’s.
Jon Krakauer

As the author of Into the Wild, Krakauer makes himself a character by comparing his own youth to that of McCandless. He compares his father and his own high expectations for Krakauer with McCandless and his father. Always set up for failure in his father’s eyes, Krakauer feels the pressure to succeed and the desire to rebel. He eventually makes the choice to become a carpenter and climber, rather than attend college, to spite his father. He eventually attempts to climb a mountain that is beyond his ability so as to show his father he can do it, revealing in the book his thought processes during the climb. He eventually comes to the conclusion that his method of thinking could have killed him, something that ultimately happened to Christopher McCandless.
Into the Wild Chapter Summaries
Author’s Note

Krakauer begins the book by describing the story behind Christopher McCandless. In April, 1992, the young McCandless hitchhiked his way into Alaska and took up residence in the wild nearby Mt. McKinley. Later, in August of that year, a group of hunters found his body, prompting Outside magazine to request Jon Krakauer to write a story about McCandless’s life and times. He describes McCandless’s college education at Emory University and the events that followed directly after he graduated. He gave away all of his money to charity, left his things, and took to being a drifter and explorer.

The article arrived in Outside magazine in January, 1993, but Krakauer’s interest in the story did not die with the story’s publication. Rather, he was personally attracted to the aspects of McCandless’s life, the outdoors attraction and rocky relationship with his father. He compares himself to McCandless to give a little perspective, and describes the reaction many people had to McCandless’s actions, so many labeling him young and foolish. Krakauer does not agree though and states that McCandless would still be alive if he had only kept from making one or two crucial mistakes. He ends his note by announcing he hopes to allow the reader to form their own opinion of McCandless and his actions.

Chapter 1, The Alaska Interior

Opening chapter one is a postcard from McCandless to Wayne Westerberg, back in Carthage, South Dakota. Using the name Alex on the card, McCandless describes how much respect he has for Westerberg and how he is afraid he might not survive his time in the Alaskan wilderness. Every chapter, starting here, opens with a quotation established to set the tone for the rest of the chapter.

It is near Fairbanks that Jim Gallien encounters “Alex” for the first time. Alex is hitchhiking north with a rifle in hand and Gallien offers him a ride. With no last name, Alex describes his plans to live in Denali National Park for a few months on his own. Gallien mentions how rich people from the city often come to the area to do just that, hoping to escape their hectic lives. Many times, these people are underprepared and seem unintelligent, but Gallien sees Alex as brighter than the others.

Despite his intellect, Alex has no food with him except for a bag of rice and his boots are poorly insulated and lacking waterproofing. He only carries a .22 rifle, which will only succeed in killing smaller game, and he lacks any compass or means of navigating his gas station bought map. Intending to go via the Stampede Trail, Alex causes Gallien to worry, wanting to stop Alex from taking such a journey. He offers to buy him gear but Alex refuses and doesn’t listen to the advice of Gallien in his excitement. Before leaving him, Gallien offers a nicer pair of boots and a bagged lunch, opting out of notifying any authorities, believing Alex will display some intelligence in the matter.
Chapter 2, The Stampede Trail

The chapter opens with a mention and quote from Jack London’s White Fang, referring to the cold hard winters of the wilderness and small chance of survival in such circumstances. The Stampede Trail is described as a fifty mile stretch between Mt. Healy and Mt. McKinley. It was originally used in the 1930s to reach mining claims in Stampede Creek and later became a road in the 1960s to haul grabs from the mines. The construction workers were housed in converted buses parked alongside the road, each fitted with beds and a stove. The road was never finished due to problematic weather and one of the buses was left behind for hunters to use if lost.

The area itself is oft frequented by moose hunters due to its proximity to local protected lands and every year, numerous hunters make their way to the bus. In September of 1992, three separate groups of hunters reach the bus. Krakauer describes how the hunters ford the rivers in pickup trucks, dynamite beaver dams, and drive ATVs through the terrain. The rivers themselves are more than 75 foot crossings and extremely dangerous.

When the hunters arrive, a couple stand nearby, reading a note on the bus from McCandless describing how close he is to death, with a horrible smell emanating from the bus. When they enter the bus, they find McCandless’s decomposing body and send a hunter, Butch Killian – a volunteer firefighter – to get help by contacting State Troopers at a radio outpost over five miles away.

The next morning, the police arrive via helicopter and evacuate the body and McCandless’s possessions from the bus site, including a diary and a handful of used camera film. Because of the partially decomposed body, the coroner cannot discern why or when McCandless died, though all the extra fat in his body had been used, prompting the cause of death to be named as starvation. There is no ID on the body either, forcing the police to hunt down his identity and discover who the body is.
Chapter 3, Carthage

A quotation from Tolstoy about loving danger opens the chapter, having been highlighted by McCandless in one of his many books, Family Happiness, which bridges to Krakauer discussing McCandless’s family.

Back in Carthage, South Dakota again, the author sits down with Wayne Westerberg to discuss how he met Alex, also known as McCandless. He originally offered him a ride as McCandless was hitchhiking and immediately took to him, offering him a meal and a job when he couldn’t drive him as far as he was going. He originally stayed for only three days, but did return a few weeks later to work some more. Westerberg comments on how hard Alex worked and how intelligent he was, how it might have caused him more pain than good. Eventually Westerberg learns that Alex’s real name is Chris and that he has problems with his family. Westerberg never questions him further, but offers Alex a place to stay and a surrogate family in Carthage. Alex likes the small town and enjoys the sense of community but eventually Westerberg is sent to jail for four months for illegal satellite boxes and Alex leaves town. He continues to consider Carthage his home town though having his mail sent there.

McCandless’s real story and home town takes the story to Annandale, Virginia though where his father Walt works as an aerospace engineer, having spent time with NASA before starting his own firm. Chris has a sister, Carine, and five half-siblings from Walt’s previous marriage. Chris is intelligent in college, working for the student paper and asked to join the honor society. An inheritance pays for his schooling, and he eventually donates the rest of the money, a sum of twenty-four thousand dollars to OXFAM America to feed the hungry.

Chris is very much against the materialism of his parents and refuses their offer for a new car when he graduates, venting to his sister in letters that they are trying to buy his respect. The Datsun he drives was bought with his own money in high school and when he tells his parents he will “disappear for a while”. The last contact he ever has with his family is a thank you note to his family for his graduation ceremony.

For a long time, Chris has created distance between himself and his family, living off campus with no telephone. After a while though, his parents become worried and drive to Atlanta to check on him. They find in August of 1990 that he moved out of his apartment in June and find that his mail has been held for two months to keep them from knowing he disappeared. He changes his name on the road and heads west as Alexander Supertramp.
Chapter 4, Detrital Wash

In October of the same year, 1990, an Arizona National Park Ranger finds McCandless’s car in a ditch with a pile of odd possessions. Written on the windows is a dedication of the car to whomever can extricate it from the ditch. It’s still used today by the Park Service for Undercover stings.

It turns out that the abandonment of the car is due to a flash flood that caught McCandless in a flash flood zone – unbeknownst to him. He barely had time to evacuate his things, let alone grab his car, and so it is flooded and he drains the battery trying to get his car started again. He does not call the authorities though as he has no paperwork and was camped in an off limits area. Instead, he decides to leave the car and burn the remains of his cash, setting himself free of material possessions.

He buries his rifle and starts hiking around Lake Mead. However, with the extreme heat of July he finds that he is slowly becoming delirious from dehydration. Some boaters carry him to the west side of the lake where he resumes his hitchhiking ways for the next two months. He meets many other hitchhikers and eventually finds a job in California. When that job does not pan out, he steals a bicycle and leaves.

In time, McCandless meets two drifters, Jan Burres and Bob, her boyfriend. They feed him and Burres recognizes him as the same age as her own estranged son. She shows her worry for him and his burning of the money, despite his pride in having found edible plants in the wild to keep himself alive. Eventually he leaves them, but stays in touch via postcard.

McCandless is issued a ticket in Eureka, California for hitchhiking on August and the ticket is sent to his parent’s in Annandale, a rare lapse on his part of telling the arresting officer his parents’ address. After such careful attention to not give his parents’ address, he intentionally gives out the right one to give his parents an idea of where he was and how he has decided to “punish” them.

When they receive the ticket, McCandless’s parents hire Peter Kalitka, a PI to search for him. It isn’t until December that the PI discovers anything, the donation of his college fund to OXFAM. They are entirely confused by his behavior, hitchhiking without his car, giving away his money, and not contacting them.

After Westerberg is jailed in Carthage, Chris heads back out west to, hitchhiking back to Needles, California and walking through the desert to Arizona. He goes so far as to buy a canoe and paddle his way down the Colorado River. By November he reaches Yuma, Arizona where he mails a postcard to Westerberg thanking him again for his assistance. He actually complains about the money he made from Westerberg as scraping by for food was much harder than simply paying for it.

On December 2, Alex makes his way into Mexico where he begins having trouble maneuvering his canoe due to the marshlands. His diary entries become odd in this section, referring to himself in the third person as Alex and very sure that he can find a river route to the Gulf of California. He meets many Mexican folks who he notes are friendlier than Americans and follows their directions along the Wellteco Canal, until it dead ends into more swamp land. Eventually, he must turn to local hunters for a trip back to the ocean.

While camped by the sea, a great storm arrives and pulls his canoe back out into the ocean. He writes in his diary of how the storm angered him to the point of destroying one of his oars. He manages to steer the canoe back to shore with a single oar though, and because of the storm he decides to head north without the canoe in tow. He has lived off only rice and food from the sea for two months at this point, a note the author points out as a reason he thinks he could survive in Alaska in the same manner.

McCandless makes his way back into the United States, but is caught on the way by immigration, who take his handgun away. This takes place on January 18 and for the next six weeks he travels the immediate southwest. For a short while he gets an ID and job in LA, but soon decides against society again and leaves for the Grand Canyon. He writes that he feels much better since leaving back in July. When he finally returns to where he left his car, he finds it gone but is able to retrieve the few things he buried, including his rifle.

He travels to Las Vegas and takes a job in a restaurant, once again burying his things outside the city. For a few weeks he again lives on the street with the homeless until he once again hits the road on May 10, full of joy for the life he is leading.
Chapter 5, Bullhead City

After burying his items outside of Las Vegas, McCandless’s camera is ruined. He stops writing in his journal as well and all information as to his travels is cut significantly following May of 1991. We learn that he spends the summer months of July and August in Oregon from a letter he sends to Jan Burres and that he returns to California because of the fall rain. Eventually he arrives in Bullhead City, Arizona in October where he stays for a while, a little more than two months.

He starts a job at a local McDonald’s and opens a savings account, using his real name and social security number. Despite his horrible hygiene –related to his homeless status – his hard work ethic keeps him on at McDonald’s. He was constantly teased about his body odor though and his former manager believes this is the reason he eventually quit. He ends up living in an empty mobile home during his stay in Bullhead City, offered to him by Charlie. Charlie is described by McCandless as a lunatic, though Charlie largely describes to have liked McCandless.

In a postcard exchange between Jan Burres and McCandless, Jan decides to visit McCandless in Bullhead City, excited that he finally has an address. However, before she and Bob can leave, he arrives at their home, having left what he viewed as plastic people behind in Arizona.

Alex arrives in the Slabs, a drifter city in an old naval station, where Jan and Bob are staying for the winter. He helps Jan sell her paperback books at a flea market and goes on at length about the ideas and thinking of Jack London in The Call of the Wild, a lifestyle and mode of thinking he greatly admires. During his time in the drifter city, McCandless draws the attentions of seventeen year old Tracy. However, he is intent on remaining celibate during his journey, ignoring her attentions.

He has at this point decided to make his trip to Alaska and spends vast amounts of time readying himself for the trip, getting in shape and learning what he can. Burres speaks with him often of his enthusiastic plans, trying to convince him once more to call his mother, but to no avail.

Alex leaves the camp and heads for Salton City finally where he picks up his last check from the McDonald’s at which he worked. He rejects Burres’ offer to pay him for his help, though he does take a few knives she offers instead. He returns the warm clothing she offers him when she isn’t looking though, refusing any further assistance.
Chapter 6, Anza-Borrego

Krakauer receives a letter from a man named Roland Franz in January of 1993, after the article in Outside Magazine is published. He wishes to know more about what happened to McCandless and what Krakauer knows of him. An elderly man, Franz was greatly affected by his short time with McCandless.

After Burres and McCandless said their farewells once more, McCandless headed into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and set up a camp. He is camped only four miles out of Salton City and one day while in town for supplies he runs across Roland Franz and requests a ride back to his site. Though he’s lived there for six years, Franz is unfamiliar with the area.

Franz reveals that he is a long time army veteran, whose wife and son died in a car accident in 1957 while he was in Japan. After they died, Franz began adopting and caring for Okinawan orphans and paying for their college education, including medical school for two of them. A week later, after church Franz decides to talk with Alex about his lifestyle and the decisions he’s making, not wishing to see him waste his potential.

Alex explains however that he is educated and living in destitution by choice. The two spend a lot of time together, with Franz buying Alex dinner and driving him to dig up some of his possessions. He allows Alex to use his apartment for doing laundry and they barbeque together. Alex begins to speak against material possessions and tell Franz that at 80 years of age, he should renounce material things and go on the road.

Franz describes how Alex described at length his plans for his trip to Alaska and the adventure that awaited him there. Because he enjoyed Alex’s company so much, Franz took to teaching him leatherwork and Alex subsequently crafted a belt that displayed through pictures his journey. Franz’s own recollection of Alex is halting and tinged with sadness, seeping the emotion he feels for his lost friend, describing Alex’s brilliance alongside his rage and passionate ranting against all things social.

After turning down Franz’s offer of money, Alex decides to go to San Diego in February, 1992 to raise funds for Alaska. Franz gives him a ride to the San Diego water front and the two talk again in a couple of weeks when they each have celebrated their 81st and 24th birthdays, respectively.

In a postcard to Burres, McCandless describes being homeless in San Diego and listening to sermons in the missions. He is heading north and soon and plans to be in Alaska by May 1. He sends out more postcards in March from Seattle describing his use of the train system to travel cross country in style and escaping armed guards who throw him from the trains.

A week after receiving the postcard, Franz gets a call from Alex asking to be picked up from a nearby city in California. He picks him up and buys him dinner, returning him to his apartment in Salton City. Alex announces that he has a job lined up in Carthage and Franz agrees to take him back into Bullhead City to clear out his savings and his things from Charlie’s mobile home. Finally, he drives Alex to Colorado Springs, the farthest Franz is willing to go, and offers him some Arctic Gear as a gift before he leaves.

Franz describes his strong emotional attachment to Alex and how hard it was to see him go, having gone as far as to ask him to be his adopted grandson. Weeks later Alex sends word of his progress in Carthage, working for Westerburg. Alex makes the first allusion that he might not survive in Alaska – which he plans to leave for by April 15. Alex continues to tell Franz he should throw off the shackles of money and his possessions and enjoy life as a nomad, that you cannot be happy if you are with others, but only if you are free to roam.

Shortly afterward, Franz takes Alex’s advice and sells everything he owns, buys a camper and takes Alex’s former camping spot outside the city. Krakauer goes on to describe Franz as a healthy man who had spent the time following Alex’s death in nature, living in the desert near the Borrego badlands. The whole time, Franz waited for Alex to return until a hitchhiker finally arrived, having read of Alex’s death in Outdoor Magazine. He promptly drains a bottle of whisky in an attempt to die, quits his church, and denounces religion.
Chapter 7, Carthage

Krakauer, having traveled to Carthage while writing his article on McCandless’s death, describes Westerberg and his workers. They are short a hand, having waited for Alex to return only to find he had passed away. Alex was a very hard worker for Westerberg, always willing to do the work no one else wanted, though he didn’t have the mechanical aptitude to learn anything more complicated.

In his final visit in Carthage, Alex spends a lot of time with Westerberg’s girlfriend, Gail Borah. She is a divorced mother and takes to Alex quickly, treating him like one of her own and feeding him nightly. He speaks to her often, revealing his emotions and talking often of his sister, though never of his parents. Borah ponders the reasons for his silence after learning of his death and how he likely had some issues with his father that he could not overcome.

Krakauer then goes on to describe how both father and son McCandless were very much alike, stubborn and emotional. Walt’s controlling nature did not naturally mesh with Chris’s desire to be independent. He goes on to describe Chris’s vanishing act as a work of rebellion, having at one point described to his sister his plans to lull his parents into security before disappearing. He goes so far as to say he will never see his parents again in life in a letter to her.

Despite his hatred towards his parents, McCandless is a kind and gentle soul as described by all of his acquaintances on his journey. Closed up and with little experience, McCandless spent very little time with women, though he described to Westerberg his desire to raise a family one day. Carine describes how he never danced with girls in High School and only had relationships with two or three girls at most while she knew him. Krakauer draws parallels to McCandless’s chastity to Thoreau and his lifelong virginity.

According to Westerberg, Alex viewed Alaska as his final big adventure, that he was to return to Carthage and work in the fall and write books about his adventures. Westerberg attempts to get Alex to stay and help until May 1, even offering to buy him a plane ticket to get to Alaska on time, but Alex refuses, intent on the plan as he had outlined it. On his final day in Carthage, his friends gather with him in a bar to wish him farewell, learning that he can play piano in the process. He cries in his farewells, worrying again that he won’t survive. Postcards sent to Burres and Westerberg from Alaska before he enters the wild once again relay that he feels he might not survive his ordeal, and he says final goodbyes to everyone he knows, intent on never seeing them again.
Chapter 8, Alaska

Krakauer describes the angry responses he got for his glorification of McCandless’s story in Outside Magazine. The letters speak of McCandless’s lack of knowledge and hubris in his adventure into the wild, though the ones Krakauer chooses are often intelligently written and carefully worded. He begins to introduce a collection of men who underwent similar situations to McCandless, trying to prove his own point that McCandless was not merely a foolish man.

The First of these men, Gene Rosellini, Krakauer actually met in 1981. He was very much like McCandless in that he was born wealthy, intelligent, and athletic. He attended college for a long while but did not graduate, leaving in 1977 to live free of technology and society. He had a belief that humans today were becoming weaker because of that dependence and could not live off the land. He got rid of everything he owned, and carried with him no tools other than what he had made with his own hands and lived in the woods of Hippie Cove in Alaska, foraging for food. He carried on his experiment for a decade before deciding to end it, writing that humans could not survive in the wild before killing himself in his woodland shack. There was no suicide note.

The next case study in this chapter is John Mallon Waterman. He was also from the Washington D.C. area, the son of a musician and a speechwriter. He was constantly exercising and was an avid rock climber, and first scaled Mt. McKinley when he was only 16. He attended the University of Alaska and was a well reknowned mountain climber already when he started. He is described by those who knew him as odd, even manic-depressive, running around campus in a cape and singing about the wild.

Krakauer relates more information about Waterman’s childhood. His parents divorced when he was in High School and his mother had a severe history of mental illness. His brother, Bill, was severely injured in a train accident and eventually left without notice on a long trip, never to be heard from again. In his youth, eight climbing buddies were killed in accidents or suicide. In 1978, he took it upon himself to climb Mt. Hunter, an extremely difficult climb, by himself. The act made him a local climbing hero but also slightly more eccentric and compulsive. He started writing down everything he did and soon ran for the school board, then the Presidency of the United States on an ‘end-hunger’ platform. He decided to climb Mt. Denali alone and with very little food as a publicity stunt. He lost all of his journals and notes in a fire at the base of the mountain, resulting in what may have been a psychological snap, prompting him to check into a psychiatric facility for two weeks. A year later, he tried to climb Mt. Denali again.

He made to within 30 miles of the peak on that attempt but turned left again. Later, in March, he tried to ascend the mountain again, telling his friends he’d likely not see them ever again. A few people saw him on the Ruth Glacier nearby, acting very strangely and preparing for his climb. He had little food and was ill-prepared for his climb, with no radio to call for help. The last anyone saw of him was on April 1, 1981 and his body was never found.

Yet another man who people have compared McCandless to is Carl McCunn. As a worker on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 70s, McCunn was in Alaska already and in 1981 requested to be flown to a remote lake above the Coleen River. He forgot to request a flight back though and soon ran out of food in his cabin. Rather than ever attempt to walk back out of the wilderness, he wasted away in his cabin and eventually shot himself. Krakauer goes on to compare McCunn and McCandless’s lack of common sense and foresight in their planning. He also states that McCandless was not mentally ill, but that McCunn and Waterman both were. The argument of whether McCandless was in fact mentally ill is railed against by Krakauer, saying he knew he would likely not survive in the wild and did not think he would be saved as the other men did.
Chapter 9, Davis Gulch

Chapter 9 introduces Everett Ruess through a letter to his brother declaring his love for the outdoors and his life in the wilderness. Krakauer soon goes on to describe his life in the wild. Born in Oakland to Christopher Ruess, a Harvard Graduate and Unitarian minister, Everett Ruess grew up in the midst of Southern California excess. He attended art school and Hollywood High at one point before taking a trip alone through Yosemite National Park. He becomes an apprentice to a local photographer and after a brief stint back home to receive his diploma, continues traveling through the southwest. In his final sessions with the civilized world, Ruess attends half a year at UCLA, stays with his parents for a bit, and spends a winter in San Francisco with artist friends of his.

The rest of his life is spent backpacking and sleeping in the wild, stating that his friends and family will never understand his love for nature. He takes on many new names, including Nemo, in a carving at Davis Gulch. The reference to the Jules Verne character in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is similar to McCandless’s own Ahab reference at his death site.

With his own chapter, Krakauer gives Ruess’s story more credence as a suitable comparison to that of McCandless and draws numerous comparisons between them, their writings, and their eventually perspective on the world. Before his death, Ruess sends many letters stating that he might never return. After three more months, his parents receive a bundle of his mail and in 1935, search parties form to find him. The party finds the Nemo reference mentioned in Davis Gulch and remnants of Ruess’s travels in his donkeys. His body though was never found, and the debate rages on as to where he went and what happened to his body and possessions.

An author devoted to Ruess’s story, Ken Sleight has his own theory that Ruess drowned in 1935 after tying up his donkeys in the Gulch and taking the Mormon trail out of the area. He was likely on his way to visit friends across the river and drowned in the crossing.

With yet one more comparison, Krakauer describes the secluded Papar monks of Ireland. These monks moved to Iceland in the 5th century until Norwegians arrived and they headed off for Greenland. Because they so fervently sought seclusion, many of them lost their lives in the harsh conditions of Greenland. He compares the lives and ideals of both Ruess and McCandless to that of these Irish monks, seeking some sort of Spiritual seclusion.
Chapter 10, Fairbanks

Jim Gallien, the man who drove McCandless to the Stampede Trail in April reads an article about the unknown body found in the wilderness printed in the September 10 edition of the Anchorage Daily News. He initially calls the State Troopers but is rebuked because they have heard so many tips already. However, they finally believe Gallien when they find a reference to a “Galliean” in McCandless’s journal. They send the film to Gallien to identify the body and he confirms that it is the boy he drove out and that he stated he was from South Dakota.

Westerberg back in South Dakota hears about the unknown man’s death on the radio and calls the police to present his own information. The same State Troopers have received even more useless leads and initially ignore Westerberg. However, when he provides Alex’s social security number and real name they are able to contact officers in Virginia who are able to contact one of McCandless’s half-brothers, Sam.

Sam reveals that he originally read the article about the hiker but didn’t think it could be Chris. However, when he receives the description, it is familiar and so he is called on to identify Chris from photographs. Sam and his wife are left the duty of driving to Maryland, where Chris’s parents are, to inform them of what’s happened.
Chapter 11, Chesapeake Beach

In the home of Walt and Billie, McCandless’s parents only a few weeks after his death, Krakauer finds an emotionally ravaged family and a photographic memorial to his life. Walt describes how he spent so much time with his son and couldn’t understand why he would do what he did.

Walt has long been a powerful man, carrying with him high level security clearance for his work on radar systems and constantly being in charge. His intensity mellowed when Chris disappeared, though his attitude still reminds Krakauer of Chris when they meet. Walt’s wealth was entirely self-made, originally hailing from poverty himself, using his musical talents to support himself during college and starting his own aerospace consulting firm. He originally met Billie, Chris’s mother, while separated from his wife Marcia.

Walt took up with Billie and the two moved in together shortly before Chris was born. As a young child, Chris was always intelligent and strong willed. He was unwilling to do the excess work of a gifted student though and liked to keep to himself. At the age of 6, his family moved to Annandale when Walt began working for NASA. Carine was born and they lived a very strict lifestyle with their parents constantly working, trying to provide for his new family and the five children he had with Marcia before he’d even met Billie.

Despite the financial freedom that Walt and Billie’s consulting firm brought the family, there was high tension in their near constant arguments and threats of divorce. Walt reveals that the family often took long, outdoor trips and that a history of outdoors and wandering runs in the family. Chris’s grandfather, Loren Johnson was as trucker and never stayed in one place and was a lover of nature. He was a hunter, though he would often cry for the animals he killed. Chris and Loren grew very close while Chris was a child and the two spent a lot of time in the woods.

Walt describes how Chris received a single F in his years of High School for ignoring his Physics teacher’s formatting requirements for lab reports. Otherwise he was a straight A student. Chris was close to Carine throughout school and thoroughly enjoyed anything that was naturally easy. He, however, did not enjoy things like racquetball in which he could not quite improve.

Chris, as the team captain for the cross-country team was a grueling leader, constantly dragging them into the woods until lost, then forcing them to run until they were no longer lost. He was a convincing speaker and managed to convince his teammates to follow him with his spiritual motivation speeches. However, if Chris ever lost a race himself, he would be very harsh on himself.

As a single person in the world, McCandless constantly worried over things like racism and social injustice. He often spent time downtown feeding the homeless and took a homeless man into his family’s Airstream to stay. He was unwilling to attend college, though his parents badgered him until he consented. He never spoke highly of his family though, constantly deriding their financial independence.
Chapter 12, Annandale

High School graduation sees Chris grateful and emotional towards his parents, offering an expensive birthday gift and speaking highly of them. He takes his first trip during that summer, with his parent’s gas credit card in hand and instructions to call every three days. He eventually stops calling though and shows up on a couple months later, malnourished, apparently having been lost in the Mojave Desert and succumbing to dehydration.

Because they know he’ll only do worse if they try, Chris’s parents are careful not to speak too harshly against his safety. Chris decides not to keep his parents informed though. He does very well at Emory, writing for the school paper and speaking of law school often. He spends his summer at home with his parents working for them flawlessly and making his father very happy.

According to his friends from high school, Chris has become much more cynical while in college and studying often. Chris returns the next year and works as pizza boy, carefully managing his money and sharing with Carine his accounting methods. He becomes angrier and angrier over the course of the summer though towards his parents. It turns out that two years previously Chris had discovered that his father was still married to his first wife until after Chris was born. His father had been living with both Marcia and Billie for years until his wives found out when Chris was two, putting both families through terrible stress.

It wasn’t until he was six that Chris’s father finalized the divorce from Marcia, spending the next few years trying to mend the fences with Billie. Chris never reveals what he’s learned though, instead brooding and becoming angrier over the years. He decides to never reveal what he knows, but to express his rage silently, via withdrawal. He becomes more angry, not only at his parents, but at the world as well, pitting his idealism against all of society’s injustices.

After his junior year, he leaves again for a road trip to Alaska, falling in love with the wilderness. He spends most of his time in the library when he returns, with the rest spent in his apartment away from his family. Carine tries to draw him back out of seclusion, but Chris replies by calling his parents anything but good parents.

His family sees him as happy during his graduation, but shortly afterwards, he cuts off all contact with them, donates his savings to OXFAM and disappears. Carine worries for her brother but thinks he is well and happy with his new found freedom. After his disappearance, his family grows worse and worse for wear, worrying about where he might have gone. They constantly leave notes on their door for him, should he return and stop for every young man they see on the side of the road, thinking it might be Chris. They continue to worry as such until they learn of his death in 1992.
Chapter 13, Virginia Beach

In this chapter, the author visits Carine McCandless in Virginia Beach and she shows him pictures of Chris at both seven and seventeen and describes how much she loved her dog, Buck. Carine had the same high level of intellectual thought as her brother and is highly opinionated but describes how she made peace with their parents. She now works with her husband Chris on their auto repair business, working almost constantly, finding irony in how much she disliked her parents for doing the same thing.

Carine describes how she cries every day over Chris’s death and how he grief persists. It has been ten months since she learned from her husband of Chris’s death, making her hysteric. When she finally calmed, she and her husband drove four hours to her parents’ home, and then flew to Fairbanks the next day to retrieve Chris’s body. She describes how Chris’s cause of death affected their diets, since he starved to death. She describes the extremities of her family’s grief, even nearly a year later.
Chapter 14, The Stikine Ice Cap

Krakauer describes again the final postcard that McCandless sent to Westerberg stating he believed he would die. Despite the wording though, he believes the death was an accident and begins comparing his own youthful indiscretions to those of McCandless, to show his insight into the matter. He describes his overbearing father and his obsession with climbing, desiring to reach new heights and prove to his father his own skills.

When twenty three years old, Krakauer climbed the Devils Thumb alone, also planning a thirty mile ski to reach the mountain, all the while reading the works of Nietzsche, Kerouace and John Menlove Edwards. He is enthralled by the prospect of his climb, carrying around a picture of the mountain that scares and excites him at the same time.

He quits his carpentry job, clears out his things and sets out for Alaska within hours. He leaves everything behind and drives to Alaska before hitching a ride as a crew member on the Ocean Queen to reach Petersberg. He jumps ship in Petersberg and takes dinner and a spot to sleep as offered by a local woman named Kai Sandburn. He decides he rather enjoys human contact but continues on his journey, hitching across another stretch of ocean to the mountain’s base. He describes how he has brought a pair of poles to keep from falling through a crevasse and dying.

He describes the emotional highs and lows of being alone in the mountains and how they affected him as opposed to being with other people. In his descriptions, Krakauer reveals more of his closeness to McCandless through their situations. After three days, Krakauer reaches the Stikine Ice Cap, where he finds the powerfulness of nature downright frightening. While there, he falls through the ice bridges twice, his poles saving his life. He realizes how easily he could die and becomes ill. He makes camp where his food is to be dropped and is thankful for the man’s persistence in flying up the mountainside. The next day he continues his climb up the mountain.

The farther he climbs, the more confident he becomes and the more excited he becomes that he’s successfully cheated death and the more he enjoys the climb. Finally he realizes that his climb is not as safe as he had thought and so he returns to survey the mountain, finally deciding that he can not finish the climb and descending the mountain.
Chapter 15, The Stikine Ice Cap

Krakauer stays in his tent at the base of the ice cap for three days, not quite willing to retreat in defeat yet. He smokes a bit of marijuana and decides to make oatmeal, somewhere in the process burning a hole in his father’s expensive tent again. He ponders how he will have disappointed his father once again. His father is a rash man who never admits when he is wrong. He taught Krakauer to climb, though he never knew he would become so adamant about the sport. Despite his love for his family and the rare gentle side, his father is a controlling man, expecting great things from his children – doctors and lawyers. His father started young, constantly expecting the best from his children and pushing him to reach medical school. It is this that Krakauer claims he rebelled against.

So it is that instead of going to college, Krakauer becomes a carpenter and climber and when his father’s weaknesses come to light, he becomes angry over such hypocrisy and high expectations. The rage from those days has faded away, claims Krakauer, replaced by familial love and affection. He realizes how stubborn and foolish he was being and that it took time for him to make these realizations. His father became ill at a certain point, dependent upon medication and even attempted suicide in front of Krakauer, completely shattering whatever illusion he might still have had of his father’s greatness.

After three days on the ice cap, Krakauer attempts once again to climb the north face of the mountain, quickly driven back down the mountain by weather and fear. He stays at the mid-mountain point and waits, unwilling to give in and return. However, when he returns, a storm buries him again and he decides to hide away in a snow drift.

After the storm, he finds the base camp and decides that he cannot defeat nature, considering the climb on the south wall instead of the north. So, he makes that climb and sleeps on the mountain again, watching the city and feeling lonely. He must race to beat a storm to the summit once again, taking an extremely dangerous route to the top so as to beat out an approaching storm.

After a series of near-deadly slips and close calls, he makes it to the summit, takes a few photographs, and quickly descends. Having beaten the weather to the summit, he quickly heads back down the mountain to ensure he survives. On his way down, he hitches a ride with a boater across the water and back to Petersberg. At first the boater doesn’t believe Krakauer’s story and is wary of the smelly, unkempt young man. He tells his story later than night to patrons at a bar who are hardly impressed by his climb, bursting his bubble of pride. He returns home a month later to his carpentry job, gets a better apartment and begins putting his life back together. He ends the chapter with reflections on how his climb of the Devils’ Thumb did nothing to change his life or who he was, comparing his revelations to what McCandless might have felt shortly before he died.
Chapter 16, The Alaska Interior

As planned, Chris McCandless leaves Carthage for Alaska on April 15, 1992. Along the way, he takes numerous photos of himself at different mile markers and hitches with a trucker named Gaylord Stucky for nearly a thousand miles in the state of Alaska itself. Alex describes for Stuckey his anger with his parents, his love for his sister and his dreams of living off the land in Alaska. Alex buys a great deal of rice in Fairbanks and stops off at the University of Alaska to research what he can survive off of while in the wild, which plants are safe and whatnot. Alex promises to send Stuckey a letter when he reemerges from the wild but will not commit to calling his parents.

McCandless spends three days in Fairbanks and mails out the post cards and letters to Burres and Westerberg. He buys a used .22 because it is light and durable and makes camp about four miles outside of town. On the morning of that fourth day, he gets a ride from the first person he sees, Jim Gallien, and in three hours he is standing at the Stampede Trail, covered in snow.

On his second day hiking the trail, he comes across the Teklanika River. In April, the river is tiny and easy to cross, not anywhere near the rapid it becomes in August when Alex tries to cross back over it. He travels 20 miles inland and comes across the bus with its hunting gear and remarks on it as the “magic bus” because of its miraculous appearance.

He tags the bus immediately, excited by his luck. Within days his journal reflects something different though, with worry over his weakness, the snow outside. He often references “disasters” becoming frustrated at nearly all interruptions to his goals. His hunting skills eventually increase though and when the snow melts he finds various plants that he can eat.

Alex leaves the bus on May 5 to head west, seeking game and hoping to hike 500 miles to the tidewater. Unfortunately, melting snow makes the hiking too hard and he returns to the bus for the summer. The bus is actually only 30 miles from the main highway, 16 from another road and within 6 miles of at least four other cabins. He never sees another human being though during the summer and goes about staying alive, gathering wood, and finding food.

His hunting skills continue to increase until he kills a moose on June 9. He feels bad for the kill though and when he fails to properly cure the meat because of his unfamiliarity with the weather and local assets, he is upset at wasting the animal’s life. Because of the failure, McCandless decides he will make every motion of life a deliberate, well thought out one, and to treat food as holy.

At some point in his diary, it is apparent that McCandless had decided to return, that happiness is only achieved when with other people. He decides to return on July 3rd but is stopped by the slew of Beaver Ponds blocking the Stampede Trail on which he hiked in. the river has exploded into a hundred foot torrent and so he decides to return to the bus, incapable of fording the river. As Krakauer notes, McCandless could have merely walked north a bit and found smaller fording points. However, he returns to the bus in what will eventually become a fatal move.
Chapter 17, The Stampede Trail

A full year after McCandless failed to cross the Teklanika River, Krakauer observes the same torrent of water. Only a half mile away there is a basket on cables and pulleys to cross the river, which McCandless had no way of finding without the kind of map McCandless has. Initially annoyed at the company, Krakauer remarks on how lonely the area seems and how much he would have disliked having been alone.

When they reach the bus, they find a variety of animal bones and the remains of the moose McCandless was unable to cure. Much of Krakauer’s hate mail regarding his Outside Magazine article was directly related to the fact that the initial moose hunters said the remains belonged to a caribou. However, Krakauer’s party finds that this is not the case.

Inside the bus, Krakauer finds books, supplies, and remnants of unmade clothing. There are remnants of his stay everywhere, including clothing, pots and pans, and the knife sheath given to him by Franz. Krakauer heads outside, disturbed by his discovery, later discussing the matter of McCandless with his companions, not understanding why so many people are so upset by the young man’s decisions. There have been comparisons to Sir John Franklin, a cocky British Officer who led 140 men and himself to death in the 19th century. Krakauer differentiates between the different kinds of arrogance though, with Franklin believing he could conquer the wild and McCandless trying to live with it.

Krakauer admits that the major mistake McCandless makes is that he didn’t first learn what most people learn before heading into the wild. He did however have the right survival skills to survive in the wild for the time he was there. He compares McCandless to the typical teenager who will take unnecessary risks to prove him or herself. He tries to confirm that McCandless found meaning in his adventures and that he wasn’t in fact a man lost in the wild like his critics have claimed.
Chapter 18, The Stampede Trail

On July 8, McCandless returns to his bus because of the river. He decides to wait for the river to go back down and returns to his previous routine of hunting and gathering. The animals he finds though are small and weak because of the weather and don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. He makes a revelation while reading Doctor Zhivago that he wants to re-enter society because he cannot be happy without sharing his happiness with others.

A couple of days later though, he reports that he is starving and can hardly move. He blames potato seeds, though some believe he confused a wild potato plant with a poisonous sweet pea. Krakauer reported originally in his magazine article that this was the likely cause of death, but later revised his statement in the book against such a conclusion. It had been months since McCandless started eating the wild potato plant and it was unlikely that he would make the mistake after so long. He had long been eating the rest of the potato plant and not gotten sick, so probably assumed the seeds were okay as there was no reference anywhere stating otherwise.

Krakauer tests the seeds at the University of Alaska and finds swainsonine alkaloid, a substance that stops the human body from turning food into usable energy. It cause starvation regardless of how much you eat. It’s possible to overcome the poison but because McCandless was already so low on necessary sugars and protein, he could not flush it free and likely succumbed to the seed.

On August 5, McCandless had been in the wild for 100 days and even though he is excited, he is also very weak and now unable to walk outside. Krakauer once again describes the nearby cabins and service stations that he could have found had he carried the right map with him. The cabins in question had actually been vandalized and when they found McCandless’s body, the owners assumed it was him.

There is no evidence that he did any wrong doing though and Krakauer believes he did not, though there is no true way to know. Many have argued that he would have edited his journals to not include any negative aspects of his stay, having previously noted he wanted to write a memoir.

In his final days, McCandless continues attempting to kill game but is unable to kill anything larger than a squirrel. With the poison, such game was useless to keeping him alive. He writes a plea for help on the bus door slightly before he dies on August 12, reverting to his actual name. In the final pages, Krakauer muses on the final moments of McCandless’s life, hoping he felt the euphoria of starvation that many have reported having. His last note is dated for August 12, saying goodbye and stating that he had a happy life. He takes one last photograph and is believed to have died on August 18.


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Irene’s Sister – Irene’nin Kızkardeşi – Vina Delmar (ingilizce-türkçe özeti)

Irene’s Sister
Vina Delmar

This is a story of 19_, the year that the schools did not open on time, the year that plague descended and caught us as terrified and as defenseless as though we were inhabitants in some medieval city faced with a new and terrible sickness.
I was a child at that time. My friends and I did not understand. We asked questions but the grown-ups were as confused and as frightened as ourselves. ”It’s infantile paralysis” they told us. “It kills you or else it leaves you crippled forever. Don’t go too close to anybody and don’t touch anything that a strange child has handled”.
Fear held us so completely that we forgot how to laugh or to play. I can remember lying in bed at night waiting for the disease to strike at me. I had no idea what form it might take and lay very quietly praying that when next I wished to move my legs or arms I would be able to do so as I had always done in the past.
There was among us, however, who had no fear of the terrible plague. That girl was Irene Crane. In my mind’s eye I can still see her as she was back there in those difficult days. She was a yellow-haired child with a happy ring to her laughter and the greatest capacity for fun of anyone I’ve ever known. She was the school beauty, popular with teachers and pupils alike and she was not the most intelligent of our group that was easily forgiven for one does not expect to find genius in a flower.
Irene had a sister who was a year younger. Her mother called her Caroline, but outside the house she was known simply as Irene’s sister. It was natural for her to be Irene’s sister just as it was natural for us to be a nameless group of girls known as Irene’s friends.

İrene’nin Kardeşi
Vina Delmar

Bu 1900’lerde ; okulların zamanında açılmadığı, vebanın musallat olduğu ve sanki yeni ve korkunç bir salgınla karşılaşmış ortaçağ şehirlerinin sakinleriymişiz gibi bizi korkmuş ve savunmasız olarak yakaladığı bir yılın hikayesi.
Ben o zamanlar çocuktum. Arkadaşlarım ve ben anlamamıştık. Sorular soruyorduk fakat büyüklerimiz de bizim kadar korkmuş ve şaşkındılar. Bize “bu çocuk felci sizi ya öldürür ya da sizi sonsuza kadar sakat bırakır. Sakın her hangi ibir yabancıya yaklaşmayın ve yabancı bir çocuğun kullandığı herhangi bir şeye dokunmayın” diyorlardı.
Korku tamamen bizi sarmıştı ki gülmeyi ve oyun oynamayı unutmuştuk. Geceleri yatağımda yattığımı ve hastalığın beni yakalamasını beklediğimi hatırlayabiliyorum. Ne şekilde olacağı hakkında hiç bir fikrim yoktu ve sessizce yatıp bir daha ne zaman kollarımı ve ayaklarımı hareket ettiriyor olabileceğimi dileyerek geçmişte her zaman yaptığım gibi dua ediyordum.
Bununla beraber, aramızda bu berbat vebadan korkmayan bir kişi vardı. O kız İrene Crane’ndi. Onun tekrar o zorlu günlerdeki halini hayal edebiliyorum. Gülüşündeki o mutlu izlenimiyle sarı saçlı bir çocuktu ve tanıdığım herkesi eğlendirebilecek en büyük yetenekti. Okulun güzeliydi ve öğrenciler gibi öğretmenler arasında da popülerdi ve grubumuzun en zekisi olmasaydı bile bu kolayca affedilebilirdi zira insan çiçekte zeka bulmayı beklemez.
İrene’nin kendisinden bir yaş küçük bir kız kardeşi vardı. Annesi ona Caroline derdi, ancak evin dışında kısaca İrene’nin kardeşi olarak bilinirdi. Bizim isimsiz kız grubunun İrene’nin arkadaşları olarak bilinmemizin doğal olduğu gibi onun için de İrene’nin kardeşi olmak doğaldı.

Irene was the center of our small world and we revolved about her brilliance and asked for no recognition for ourselves. Irene’s sister, conscious of her inability to compete with the beauty and enhancing manner of Irene was perfectly content to be only a pale reflection of our yellow-haired commander.
Only once were we unable to think with Irene. That was when she said : ”I’m not scared of that infantile paralysis. We won’t get it. You’ll see. None of us will.”
We were ashamed of our fears but there they were just the same.
I can remember the day that we all went over to Ginny Smith’s house for games and light refreshments. For our health’s sake, the grown-ups looked upon the party with some doubts, but for the good of our morale they consented.
“After all”, they said to one another ,”it’s the same group of girls who see each other almost every day anyway. It’ll be all right.”
“It’s the same group except for Irene’s sister “She hadn’t been invited because she was not in our grade at school and Ginny Smith hadn’t known that Irene had a sister.
“It doesn’t matter “Irene said. ”Caroline isn’t feeling well. She has an upset stomach ,I guess.”
The games were fun ,the food was wonderful we thought .It had been a beautiful day in which we all seemed to forget for a while that something strange and terrible walked everywhere about us beyond the pleasant comfort of Ginny Smith’s house. We were just collecting our hats and coats ,ready to leave ,and thanking Ginny for a lovely day when the phone rang.
I can still see Ginny Smith’s mother as she stood talking on that phone. I can see the look of horror that appeared on her face. I can still see the tears that were in her eyes when she hung up the receiver and turned to face us.

İrene ufak dünyamızın merkeziydi ve biz onun parlaklığı etrafında dolanıyorduk ve kendi kendimize hiç bir tanıtım istemiyorduk. İrene’nin gelişen tavırları ve güzelliğiyle rekabet edemeyeceğinin farkında olan İrene’nin kardeşi, bizim sarı saçlı komutanımızın sadece soluk bir yansıması olmaktan tamamen memnundu.
Sadece bir kez İrene’yle beraber düşünemedik? “Şu çocuk felcinden korkmuyorum. Ona yakalanmıyacağız. Göreceksiniz. Hiçbirimiz yakalanmayacak” dediği zamandı.
Kendi korkularımızdan mahçup olduk, ancak o korkular hep oradaydı.
Hafif içecekler ve oyun için Ginny Smith’in evine hep beraber gittiğimiz günü hatırlayabiliyorum. Sağlığımızın hatırı için büyüklerimiz partiyi biraz şüpheli buluyorlardı fakat moralimizin iyi olması için partiyi kabul ettiler.
Birbirlerine “Ne de olsa, her gün bir şekilde birbirlerini gören kızların aynı grubu, sorun olmayacak” diyorlardı.
“İrene’nin kardeşi hariç aynı gruptu.” O partiye davet edilmemişti çünkü okulda bizimle aynı sınıfta değildi ve Ginny Smith İrene’nin bir kardeşi olduğunu bilmiyordu.
İrene “sorun değil, Caroline kendini pek iyi hissetmiyordu. Tahmin edersem midesi bozuk”dedi.
Bizce oyunlar eğlenceliydi, yemekler mükemmeldi. Ginny Smith’in evinin cana yakın rahatlığının dışında, bizimle ilgili her yere berbat ve garip şeyin yayıldığını unutmuş göründüğümüz güzel bir gündü. Tam gitmeye hazırlandığımız, şapkalarımızı ve montlarımızı alıp Ginny’e böyle güzel bir gün için teşekkür ederken telefon çaldı.
Hala Ginny Smith’in annesini telefonda konuşurken kala kaldığını hatırlayabiliyorum. Suratında beliren dehşet ifadesini görebiliyorum. Hala telefonu kapatıp, bize döndüğünde gözlerindeki yaşları görebiliyorum.

“Irene, “ she said in a choked voice.” That was your mother. Your sister has infantile paralysis. You can’t go home. You’ll have to stay here.“ There was a horrible pause .Then “It’s to late for us to be afraid of you child. You‘ve been here all day.”
We went away without touching Irene, some of us without speaking to her. The plague had reached out and struck at us. We hurried home afraid of each other, ashamed of our fear and unable to keep back the thought that tomorrow we would all be attacked by death or lameness.

Irene stayed with the Smith’s I suppose. I don’t know. I hurried home and wrote at once to my father. It must have been an emotional, crazy little letter in which I begged him to come and get me and take me to safety somewhere, anywhere. I did not know that the plague was widespread. I thought it was just in our town. Anyway my father came and took me away. I went happily ,thankfully but I did not known as I went that it would be fifteen years before I ever saw that town again.
I was a woman when I returned to visit and the first night I was back I was surprised to find that my hostess’s living room was decorated as though for a party.
“Just the old group” she explained. ”and their husbands. You remember Ginny Smith, Lila Day the Crane girls and that group.”
A strange feeling of terror ran through me at the mention of the Crane girls. I was a child again frightened before a terrible mysterious force that wanted to kill me.
“I remember them all, ”I said.” How are the Crane girls?”
“The same as ever ,just exactly the same. One popular and one a complete failure “
“It’s cruel to say that “ I protested.” Caroline had paralysis . How can you expect her to be-“

Boğuk bir sesle “İrene” dedi, “ Arayan annendi. Kardeşin çocuk felcine yakalanmış. Eve gidemezsin. Burada kalmak zorundasın.” Korkunç bir bekleyiş oldu. Sonra “Senden korkuyor olmamız için çok geç çocuğum. Bütün gün buradaydın” dedi.
İrene’e dokunmadan, bazılarımız onunla konuşmadan oradan ayrıldık. Veba bize ulaşmış ve bizi vurmuştu. Birbirimizden korkarak, korkumuzdan utanarak ve zaptedmeyi beceremediğimiz yarın ölmüş veya sakatlığa uğramış olma düşüncesiyle aceleyle evlerimize gittik.

Tahmin edersem İrene Smith’lerde kaldı. Bilmiyorum. Ben aceleyle eve gittim ve önce babama mektup yazdım. Babamdan gelmesini ve beni almasını ve beni güvenli herhangi bir yere götürmesi için yalvardığım duygusal ve biraz çılgınca bir mektup olmalıydı. Vebanın çok yayılmış olduğunu bilmiyordum. Sadece bizim kasabamızda olduğunu düşünüyordum. Her neyse babam geldi ve beni alıp götürdü. Mutlu ve minnettar bir şekilde gittim fakat giderken bu kasabayı tekrar görmem için on beş yıl bekeleyeceğimi bilmiyordum.
Ziyaret için geri döndüğümde artık yetişkin bir kadındım ve döndüğüm ilk gece ev sahibemin oturma odasını, sanki bir parti için dekore edilmiş olarak bulduğumda şaşırdım.
“Sadece eski arkadaşlar ve onların kocaları. Ginny Smith, Lila Day, Crane’nin kızları ve o grup” diye açıkladı.
Crane’nin kızlarının adı anıldığında garip bir korku ürpertisi içimden geçti. Tekrar; daha önce beni öldürmek isteyen gizemli, berbat bir gücün korkuttuğu bir çocuktum.
“Hepsini hatırlıyorum” dedim. “Crane’nin kızları nasıl?”
“Öncaden olduğu gibi aynı. Biri popüler ve biri tamamen bir fiyasko.”
“Bunu söylemek acımasızlıktır” diye karşı çıktım. “Caroline felç geçirdi. Ondan nasıl olmasını bekliyorsun?”

“But it’s Irene who is the failure. She is silly. Remember how she used to laugh and play jokes all the time? She is still the same, but now everything she says sound a little silly. But you can’t invite Caroline without inviting Irene so we-“
“But is Caroline well?”
“Of course she is .She had good care and good sense used on her and she is as fine as anyone. A lot finer ,I guess. She went through so much pain and suffering that she has more dept and understanding than most people. She is so strong and dependable. Of course she thanks her doctor and her nurse and her mother for everything and they say that it was Caroline’s patience and courage that helped them to help her. Wait till you see her. She’s-“

It was at that moment the doorbell rang that my hostess’s mother who was looking out of an upstairs window , called us .I’ll never forget her words .She called, ”Daughter, go to the door .It’s Caroline’s sister “
My hostess looked at me and laughed. ”What did I tell you?” she said.

“Fakat fiyasko olan İrene. O aptal…Hatırlıyormusun nasıl gülüp, her zaman şakalar yapardı? Hala aynı, fakat şimdi söylediği herşey biraz aptalca geliyor. Ancak Caroline’i, İrene’nı davet etmeden çagıramazsın, bu yüzden biz de…”
“Fakat Caroline iyi mi?”
“Elbette iyi. Ona iyi dikkat ettiler ve iyi mantıklı davrandılar ve şimdi herkes kadar iyi. Bence çok daha iyi. Çok fazla acı ve ıstırap çekti ve şimdi çoğu insandan daha çok olgunluk ve anlayışa sahip. Çok güçlü ve güvenilir. Elbette doktoruna, hemşiresine ve annesine herşey için teşekkür ediyor ve onlar da Caroline’nin sabır ve cesaretinin onların kendisine yardım etmelerini sağladığını söylüyorlar. Onu görünceye kadar bekle. O…”
Bu sırada kapı çaldı ve üst kattaki camlardan birinden dışarı bakan ev sahibemin annesi bize seslendi. Onun sözlerini asla unutmayacağım. “Kızım kapıya bak. Gelen Caroline’nin kardeşi” dedi.
“Ev sahibem bana baktı ve güldü “Ne demiştim sana?” dedi…

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James Joyce – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (ingilizce Kitap Özeti)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


Now largely of interest as a way of understanding the mind and the developing writing style of James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a largely autobiographical novel tracing the author’s youth from his birth to his departure from Ireland. It was published in The Egoist 1914-5 in serial form but its first draft, Stephen Hero, was also published later in 1944. The central character is Stephen Dedalus (who also appears in Ulysses) and he narrates his own life in words and styles appropriate to each phase: as such the earliest stages are expresses in simplistic and fragmentary diction, while his university life is given complex and articulate form. This is its chief innovation, but otherwise it is notable for its wonderful evocation of a child blessed and cursed with intellect and a middle-class upbringing. We follow Joyce/Dedalus through his crisis of faith inspired by Father Arnall’s ‘hellfire’ sermon and various childhood difficulties such as bullying and into sexual and emotional development. In the background to this and central to the narrator’s concerns are the vulgar narrow-mindedness of both the Irish Catholic Church and nationalism, which was at its peak at the end of the nineteenth century when this novel is set. The book is best enjoyed as either a route towards the complexity of Ulysses from Dubliners or as a way of understanding Joyce’s psyche after experiencing Ulysses.

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark Bard Books (Avon), 1973
Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark, is touted as being Spark’s best novel. This said, I had great expectations when I began reading the book. For the first forty pages or so, I began to doubt the jacket quotes due to the slow pace at which the story evolves. However, the reader comes to understand only later why Spark lets the plot evolve at such a languid pace. This is a novel about growing old and dying. It begins with one older woman receiving a phone call from an anonymous voice that cheerfully reminds her “Remember, you must die.” Soon, others in her close circle of family and friends begin to receive the same phone calls. And, not so surprisingly, they do die. The novel introduces us to a cast of characters that, on the surface, seem to be doting, forgetful, cantankerous — fulfilling every stereotype commonly held about the elderly. However, through the course of the story, we gradually learn of the intrigues, the love triangles, the clever manipulations of wills, the secrets that flow like hidden currents under the superficial facades each person initially shows. Who is making the disturbing phone calls? and why? Spark plots a delightful journey to the answers to those questions.

Summary Seventy-nine year old Dame Lettie Colson begins to receive anonymous phone calls from a man whose message is, “Remember, you must die.” Soon, her octogenarian brother, her senile sister-in-law, and many of their tottery friends begin to receive similar phone messages.
The novel takes us through a year or so in the lives of this group of eccentric elderly upper-class Brits and a few of their not-so-privileged servants and caretakers. As they pursue the source of the “memento mori” message, we discover a complex matrix of infidelity and deception, ranging from youthful love affairs and harmless perversions to manipulation and blackmail. In the end, though, Death will not be denied.

Commentary This is an eminently readable dark comedy that reveals the fears and foibles of the very aged. Ms. Spark gives exceptional portraits of many of her aged protagonists; for example, Charmian Colson, the comically senile novelist; Percy Mannering, the poet, a perfectly realized Old Fart; and Mrs. Pettigrew, the vituperative companion who blackmails her employer. In these days when it is politically correct to take Old Age very seriously, Memento Mori reminds us how humorous the human condition can be.
Memento Mori By Muriel Spark

t was G.K. Chesterton whose resourcefulness first showed us that literary conventions as frivolous-seeming as those of the detective story could be adapted to serious purposes. After him, novelists as different as Charles Williams and Graham Greene extended his strategy, borrowing mystery and thriller techniques to purvey human mysteries that would have seemed stiffly doctrinaire in any other form.
The third generation of this distinctly British family has now appeared, and a bright young lady named Muriel Spark has mixed a touch of Agatha Christie with some of the swift, slightly brutal comedy of Evelyn Waugh to produce a novel about death that ought to tease, entertain, and quietly perturb a wide variety of American readers.
Two or three of the characters in “Memento Mori” are less than 70 years old, but they are wholly incidental. The remainder average 80 and comprise a thorough London cross-section of their age-group: an Edwardian lady-novelist, a wealthy brewer, a spinster prison-reformer, a couple of lady’s companions, the dozen occupants of the female wing of a state home for the aged, a retired Scotland Yard man, and a considerable number of others, including an amateur student of geriatric statistics–himself 79. Over a several-months period, they all receive the same anonymous telephone call. A male voice, of varying age and register, confirms their name and then adds, “Remember you must die.”
In the course of events, Miss Spark’s trim, unloitering narrative reveals a fairly complete gamut of human seaminess. The flesh may lapse after three-score-and-ten, but at least five of the Seven Deadly Sins can still proliferate. So, too, can love, humility, and compassion, though their incidence is relatively infrequent. At one point, the Scotland Yard investigator assembles everyone around a table, and observes: “Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid. You might as well live on the whites of eggs.” And the solution of the mystery proceeds from this premise. It is fair, implicit, a little more than temporal, and should disappoint only readers without moral imagination.
As a whole, the book is most engaging, though I thought Miss Spark could have accomplished her purpose with half as many characters as she has used, and left the reader less distracted with remembering who is who. It is also, at times, a daffily hilarious book, even though it is pervasively concerned with the importance of Death and Judgment. Mr. Phelps is the author of the novel, “Heroes and Orators.”

Structuralism is appealing to some critics because it adds a certain objectivity, a SCIENTIFIC objectivity, to the realm of literary studies (which have often been criticized as purely subjective/impressionistic). This scientific objectivity is achieved by subordinating “parole” to “langue;” actual usage is abandoned in favor of studying the structure of a system in the abstract. Thus structuralist readings ignore the specificity of actual texts and treat them as if they were like the patterns produced by iron filings moved by magnetic force–the result of some impersonal force or power, not the result of human effort.
In structuralism, the individuality of the text disappears in favor of looking at patterns, systems, and structures. Some structuralists (and a related school of critics, called the Russian Formalists) propose that ALL narratives can be charted as variations on certain basic universal narrative patterns.
In this way of looking at narratives, the author is canceled out, since the text is a function of a system, not of an individual. The Romantic humanist model holds that the author is the origin of the text, its creator, and hence is the starting point or progenitor of the text. Structuralism argues that any piece of writing, or any signifying system, has no origin, and that authors merely inhabit pre-existing structures (langue) that enable them to make any particular sentence (or story)–any parole. Hence the idea that “language speaks us,” rather than that we speak language. We don’t originate language; we inhabit a structure that enables us to speak; what we (mis)perceive as our originality is simply our recombination of some of the elements in the pre-existing system. Hence every text, and every sentence we speak or write, is made up of the “already written.”
By focusing on the system itself, in a synchronic analysis, structuralists cancel out history. Most insist, as Levi-Strauss does, that structures are universal, therefore timeless. Structuralists can’t account for change or development; they are uninterested, for example, in how literary forms may have changed over time. They are not interested in a text’s production or reception/consumption, but only in the structures that shape it.
In erasing the author, the individual text, the reader, and history, structuralism represented a major challenge to what we now call the “liberal humanist” tradition in literary criticism.
The HUMANIST model presupposed:
1.) That there is a real world out there that we can understand with our rational minds.
2.) That language is capable of (more or less) accurately depicting that real world..
3.) That language is a product of the individual writer’s mind or free will, meaning that we determine what we say, and what we mean when we say it; that language thus expresses the essence of our individual beings (and that there is such a thing as an essential unique individual “self”).
4.) the SELF–also known as the “subject,” since that’s how we represent the idea of a self in language, by saying I, which is the subject of a sentence–or the individual (or the mind or the free will) is the center of all meaning and truth; words mean what I say they mean, and truth is what I perceive as truth. I create my own sentences out of my own individual experiences and need for individual expression.
The STRUCTURALIST model argues
1.) that the structure of language itself produces “reality”–that we can think only through language, and therefore our perceptions of reality are all framed by and determined by the structure of language.
2.) That language speaks us; that the source of meaning is not an individual’s experience or being, but the sets of oppositions and operations, the signs and grammars that govern language. Meaning doesn’t come from individuals, but from the system that governs what any individual can do within it.
3.) Rather than seeing the individual as the center of meaning, structuralism places THE STRUCTURE at the center–it’s the structure that originates or produces meaning, not the individual self. Language in particular is the center of self and meaning; I can only say “I” because I inhabit a system of language in which the position of subject is marked by the first personal pronoun, hence my identity is the product of the linguistic system I occupy.
This is also where deconstruction starts to come in. The leading figure in deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, looks at philosophy (Western metaphysics) to see that any system necessarily posits a CENTER, a point from which everything comes, and to which everything refers or returns. Sometimes it’s God, sometimes it’s the human self, the mind, sometimes it’s the unconscious, depending on what philosophical system (or set of beliefs) one is talking about.
There are two key points to the idea of deconstruction. First is that we’re still going to look at systems or structures, rather than at individual concrete practices, and that all systems or structures have a CENTER, the point of origin, the thing that created the system in the first place. Second is that all systems or structures are created of binary pairs or oppositions, of two terms placed in some sort of relation to each.
Derrida says that such systems are always built of the basic units structuralism analyzes–the binary opposition or pair–and that within these systems one part of that binary pair is always more important than the other, that one term is “marked” as positive and the other as negative. Hence in the binary pair good/evil, good is what Western philosophy values, and evil is subordinated to good. Derrida argues that all binary pairs work this way–light/dark, masculine/feminine, right/left; in Western culture, the first term is always valued over the second.
In his most famous work, Of Grammatology, Derrida looks particularly at the opposition speech/writing, saying that speech is always seen as more important than writing. This may not be as self-evident as the example of good/evil, but it’s true in terms of linguistic theories, where speech is posited as the first or primary form of language, and writing is just the transcription of speech. Derrida says speech gets privileged because speech is associated with presence–for there to be spoken language, somebody has to be there to be speaking.
No, he doesn’t take into account tape recordings and things like that. Remember, a lot of what these guys are talking about has roots in philosophic and linguistic traditions that predate modern technology–so that Derrida is responding to an opposition (speech/writing) that Plato set up, long before there were tape recorders. Just like poor old Levi-Strauss talks about how, in order to map all the dimensions of a myth, he’d have to have “punch cards and an IBM machine,” when all he’d need now is a home computer.
Anyway, the idea is that the spoken word guarantees the existence of somebody doing the speaking–thus it reinforces all those great humanist ideas, like that there’s a real self that is the origin of what’s being said. Derrida calls this idea of the self that has to be there to speak part of the metaphysics of PRESENCE; the idea of being, or presence, is central to all systems of Western philosophy, from Plato through Descartes (up to Derrida himself). Presence is part of a binary opposition presence/absence, in which presence is always favored over absence. Speech gets associated with presence, and both are favored over writing and absence; this privileging of speech and presence is what Derrida calls LOGOCENTRISM.
You might think here about the Biblical phrase “Let there be light” as an example. The statement insures that there is a God (the thing doing the speaking), and that God is present (because speech=presence); the present God is the origin of all things (because God creates the world by speaking), and what God creates is binary oppositions (starting with light/dark). You might also think about other binary oppositions or pairs, including being/nothingness, reason/madness, word/silence, culture/nature, mind/body. Each term has meaning only in reference to the other (light is what is not dark, and vice-versa), just as, in Saussure’s view, signifiers only have meaning–or negative value–in relation to other signifiers. These binary pairs are the “structures,” or fundamental opposing ideas, that Derrida is concerned with in Western philosophy.
Because of the favoring of presence over absence, speech is favored over writing (and, as we’ll see with Freud, masculine is favored over feminine because the penis is defined as a presence, whereas the female genitals are defined as absence).
It’s because of this favoring of presence over absence that every system (I’m referring here mostly to philosophical systems, but the idea works for signifying systems as well) posits a CENTER, a place from which the whole system comes, and which guarantees its meaning–this center guarantees being as presence. Think of your entire self as a kind of system–everything you do, think, feel, etc. is part of that system. At the core or center of your mental and physical life is a notion of SELF, of an “I”, of an identity that is stable and unified and coherent, the part of you that knows who you mean when you say “I”. This core self or “I” is thus the CENTER of the “system”, the “langue” of your being, and every other part of you (each individual act) is part of the “parole”. The “I” is the origin of all you say and do, and it guarantees the idea of your presence, your being.
Western thought has a whole bunch of terms that serve as centers to systems –being, essence, substance, truth, form, consciousness, man, god, etc. What Derrida tells us is that each of these terms designating the center of a system serves two purposes: it’s the thing that created the system, that originated it and guarantees that all the parts of the system interrelate, and it’s also something beyond the system, not governed by the rules of the system. This is what he talks about as a “scandal” discovered by Levi-Strauss in Levi-Strauss’s thoughts about kinship systems. (This will be covered in detail in the next lecture).
What Derrida does is to look at how a binary opposition–the fundamental unit of the structures or systems we’ve been looking at, and of the philosophical systems he refers to–functions within a system. He points out that a binary opposition is algebraic (a=~b, a equals not-b), and that two terms can’t exist without reference to the other–light (as presence) is defined as the absence of darkness, goodness the absence of evil, etc. He doesn’t seek to reverse the hierarchies implied in binary pairs–to make evil favored over good, unconscious over consciousness, feminine over masculine. Rather, deconstruction wants to erase the boundaries (the slash) between oppositions, hence to show that the values and order implied by the opposition are also not rigid.
Here’s the basic method of deconstruction: find a binary opposition. Show how each term, rather than being polar opposite of its paired term, is actually part of it. Then the structure or opposition which kept them apart collapses, as we see with the terms nature and culture in Derrida’s essay. Ultimately, you can’t tell which is which, and the idea of binary opposites loses meaning, or is put into “play” (more on this in the next lecture). This method is called “Deconstruction” because it is a combination of construction/destruction–the idea is that you don’t simply construct new system of binaries, with the previously subordinated term on top, nor do you destroy the old system–rather, you deconstruct the old system by showing how its basic units of structuration (binary pairs and the rules for their combination) contradict their own logic.

warning: Before you begin John Fowles’s new novel, be certain there’s only one log on the fire. If, unhappily, you lack the fireplace by which this book should be read, set an alarm clock. “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” is 467 pages long. No matter how fast a reader you may be, it’s not good for the circulation to sit in one position for the length of time required to read it. You’ll need something to remind you to stretch your legs every so often. It’s that kind of book. It’s filled with enchanting mysteries that demand solutions, and the solutions are withheld until the last page. And even beyond the end. When I finished it, I started over, searching for missed clues, testing the beginning in light of the end. If I’d had time, I’d have read it straight through again. The language is elegant enough, the solutions elusive enough.
First of all, there is Mr. Fowles’s story–a story so irresistibly novelistic that he has disguised it as a Victorian romance, one thinks at first. The year is 1867. Our leading man, Mr. Charles Smithson, is looking forward to an excellent marriage to Miss Ernestina Freeman, the fair daughter of a wealthy tradesman. Charles is in the prime of life (32), well-born (with prospects of a baronetcy), a gentleman of honor, a scientist of sorts, quite modern, an adherent of Mr. Darwin’s writings.

A Destined Convergence

One day, while walking by the sea with his betrothed, and exchanging hyperbolical pleasantries, Charles comes upon a strange young woman standing forlornly, “her stare aimed like a rifle at the farthest horizon.” Upon asking Ernestina about the woman’s identity, he learns that she is Sarah Woodruff, known to the residents of Lyme Regis, Dorset, as the abandoned lover of a French naval officer, and a “hoer.”
Sarah is not precisely beautiful. But to Charles there is something in her eyes and in her manner that sets her far apart, that makes her the secret possessor of possibilities that marriage to Ernestina threatens to blot out forever.
It is deliciously obvious from page 1 on that Charles’s and Sarah’s paths are destined to converge. But Mr. Fowles withholds the encounter deftly enough to charge it with magically erotic possibilities. What, after all, is more seductive than a possibility? (And though his prose is chaste in thought and deed, Mr. Fowles clearly knows his Victorian …..graphers.) Very Victorian, in short. If you have the smallest residual weakness for Dickens, you are lost.
But why, for Heaven’s sake, a Victorian novel in this day and age of RobbÈ-Grillet? What is this practitioner of flawed Gothica (“The Collector” and “The Magus”) up to now? Here quickly arises another element of suspense. For it is also clear from page 1 on that Mr. Fowles is not going to be satisfied merely with witty (and often brilliantly erudite) anachronistic comments on the manners, morals, literature, art and science of a century before. Not only will something surprising happen to the story of “The French Lieutenant’s Woman;” something will happen to the form of the book as well. And the prospect adds immeasurably to the suspense.

Choice of Two Endings

Let me recapitulate. One likes Charles. One admires him even. As an enlightened inhabitant of the 1960’s one can share his Darwinian view of Sarah Woodruff, with her cool contempt for Victorian morals, as an evolutionary advance. One can identify with his considerable heroism in throwing in his lot with her, even at the cost of his good standing (and Fowles makes his act more poignant than your would imagine possible). One cares a great deal how the story will turn out. And one feels, secure in Mr. Fowles’s hands, that it will turn out well.
But it develops that Mr. Fowles has a problem, which he graciously explains in chapter 55, while riding with Charles on a train to London. (Yes, literally.) Mr. Fowles doesn’t know what to do with his story. He can’t manipulate the plot (or, as he says, “fix the fight”) “to show one’s readers what one thinks of the world around one” because this story happened a hundred years ago and “we know what has happened since.” The only solution, he decides, is to write two endings.
So he proceeds. The first is heart-warming, gratifying, a very “Great Expectations” of an ending, a thorough domestication of eroticism, wholly consistent with Fowles’s charming tale. The tale we thought we had been reading, at any rate.
Then comes the second ending. It explodes all the assumptions our Victorian sensibilities had so willingly embraced. In a giant step it covers the distance between the Victorian novel and the roman nouveau. It leaves one wondering which century was more sexually liberated. It is a shock. It is comic. It signals the sudden but predictable arrival of a remarkable novelist.


The setting throughout the novel is predominantly Victorian. Most
of the novel’s action takes place at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England.
Lyme Regis was one of many small villages in southwest England
scattered along the coast. It consisted largely of small houses
surrounded by hills on one side and the sea on the other. The Cobb
was built along the shore and it is a promenade where people could
enjoy the sea air while taking a walk. A section of the hills, known
as the Ware Commons, was a meeting ground for most young
couples and where Charles and Sarah meet clandestinely. Lyme’s
community was close-knit and provincial. Unlike the larger
metropolitan areas such as London, here people upheld the
prevailing social norms. Unconventional behavior is seen as an
aberration and often times a sign of mental illness. The repressive
norms and the people’s insensitive attitude towards Sarah succeed
in driving her to Exeter.

In the nineteenth century, Exeter served the same purpose as
London does today. Exeter was notorious for providing all sorts of
wicked entertainment. Brothels, dance halls and gin palaces thrived
there. It served as a haven for “shamed” girls and women, namely
unmarried mothers and mistresses who were victims of sexual
abuse or social rejects. Due to its scandalous reputation, many
upstanding English kept their distance. Social norms were virtually
non-existent. Because no one knows her or interferes with her,
Sarah feels free, a pleasure that was denied to her while in Lyme. It
is in Exeter that Charles and Sarah consummate their relationship,
which is the turning point of the novel.

For a brief moment the action shifts to London where Charles
signs his statement of guilt. It is also here that Charles and Sarah
meet, after a two-year separation, at the Rossetti residence. The
action tends to move back and forth between the Victorian and the
modern age as Fowles tends to make intrusive comments about the
past and the present. He has deliberately recreated a Victorian
world so that he can criticize those aspects of the Victorian era that
would seem alien to a modern reader. It is interesting to note the
different social conditions prevalent in these places and their
effects on individuals.


Major Characters

Sarah Woodruff – The bearer of the book’s title ‘The French
Lieutenant’s Woman.’ She is also referred to as “Tragedy” or “The
French Loot’n’nt’s Tenant’s Hore.” She is the scarlet woman of
Lyme, the outcast dismissed by society because of her affair with a
French sailor. She is a figure of intrigue due to rumors that
circulate around her, most of them false. She is the protagonist of
the novel. Her character is that of a mysterious or evil woman
commonly found in a Victorian novel.

Charles Smithson – Male protagonist of the novel. He is a wealthy
Victorian gentlemen and heir to a title. He is interested in Darwin
and paleontology and considers himself to be intellectually
superior to other Victorian men, as he is one of the few who holds
scientifically advanced ideas. He is engaged to Ernestina Freeman
but is attracted to the mysterious Miss Woodruff. He is unhappy
with the way his life is unfolding, yet he is extremely sensitive and
intelligent. He is an insecure man constantly analyzing his life.

Ernestina Freeman – Charles’ fiancée. She is pretty, coy and
intelligent, but at times she tends to reveal her youth and naivete.
She likes to think of herself as a modern woman but her attitudes
are similar to most of the young Victorian women who behaved in
a proper manner. She is Aunt Tranter’s niece and is vacationing in
Lyme when the story begins.

Aunt Tranter – Ernestina’s mother’s sister. She is a kind woman
who is loved by her domestic staff because she treats people with
respect. She offers to help Sarah when the rest of the town rejects
her. Aunt Tranter is an honest woman and lacks hypocrisy of any

Mrs. Poulteney – A cruel old woman, she takes great delight in
harassing her domestic staff. Her temperament is exactly opposite
to that of Mrs. Tranter’s. She believes herself to be an upholder of
Christian virtues yet in reality, she is a hypocrite who reluctantly
helps people only out of a show of charity. Sarah in employed by
her in the position of a companion. She succeeds in making
Sarah’s life miserable by constantly reminding her that she is an

Mrs. Fairley – Mrs. Poulteney’s housekeeper. She pretends to be
virtuous but is a confirmed hypocrite like her employer. She acts as
Mrs. Poulteney’s spy reporting Sarah’s movements back to her.
She is jealous of Sarah and succeeds in getting Sarah dismissed
from her job.

Dr. Grogan – An intelligent, friendly man who befriends Charles.
The younger man finds him to be a sympathetic listener. Dr.
Grogan empathizes with Sarah but finds her behavior too
outrageous to be taken seriously. He is refreshingly unconventional
in his views for a Victorian although he belongs more to an earlier
age that was more liberal in many ways.

Sam Farrow – Charles Smithson’s valet. He is not content with his
present status and wants to climb the social ladder. He is ambitious
and is determined to secure his future with Mary even if he has to
blackmail Charles.

Mr. Freeman – Ernestina’s father. He is a haberdasher who has
succeeded in attaining a higher status in society. Although he
comes from a lower class, he is able to have his daughter marry
into nobility.

Lieutenant Varguennes – Sarah Woodruff’s alleged French lover.
He was injured in a shipwreck when he first met Sarah and tried to
flirt and seduce her. Later, Sarah found out that he was married.

John Fowles – The author of the novel. Fowles tends to intrude into
the narrative to make his own critical comments about the
characters as well as the relationship between art and life. He
comes in the guise of a foppish theatrical director or as a bearded


Protagonists: The novel has two protagonists, Sarah Woodruff and
Charles Smithson. Both of them are character types commonly
found in a nineteenth century romantic novel. These lovers are
doomed from the beginning. Sarah is an outcast, rejected by
Victorian society. Charles is an aristocratic Victorian gentleman
already engaged to be married to someone else. Charles must
challenge the conventions he lives by and eschew them. He does
this through the help of Sarah who has already moved beyond
society’s definition of who she is. By Victorian standards their
union would have been seen as scandalous. Through their
characters Fowles is attempting to understand how people’s lives
were dictated by what the Victorian Age thought was true about
the essential nature of men and women and how they relate to one

Antagonist: The novel’s antagonist is the Victorian society, which
spurns women like Sarah who do not conform to normal gender
roles. If not for society’s strict definitions of what women should
be and how they should act, Sarah would not be an outcast.

Climax: Charles breaks his engagement with Ernestina when he
realizes that he loves Sarah but when he goes to Exeter to meet her,
he does not find her. Finally, in despair he leaves England to try
and forget her. After two years of being separated, he learns of her
whereabouts. During their separation both had undergone a
change. Charles has shrugged off his conventional layers and Sarah
is representative of a New Woman of the Age.

Outcome: They finally meet after a two-year separation period at
the Rossettis. Sarah has changed drastically and Charles cannot
adapt himself to this new version. To complicate matters further,
Fowles gives two different endings to the novel. One follows the
conventional rule of a happy ending, and the other attempts to be a
more unconventional but realistic ending.

In the conventional ending, Charles meets his baby daughter and
the couple reunite with their love is strengthened by all that they
have gone through.

In the unconventional ending, Charles rejects Sarah and feels
disgusted with himself for allowing himself to fall for a woman
like her. He leaves without meeting his child. Though he is bitter
and alienated, he does realize a strength within him that was
dormant. Since deciding to break off his engagement and shrug off
his age’s burdensome conventions to follow his heart, he can now
take on the world by himself.

Unlike traditional gothic novels, Fowle’s objective is not to unite
his protagonists, Sarah and Charles, but to show that every human
being must face hurdles in life in order to be able to grow.

PLOT (Synopsis)

At the beginning of the novel, Charles Smithson and Ernestina
Freeman are engaged to be married. Charles is an upper-class
aristocrat and Ernestina is a wealthy heiress. They meet Sarah
Woodruff, an unemployed governess and the scarlet woman of
Lyme. Charles is struck by this woman who “had been dumped by
her French lover and now wandered the shores in the hope that he
would return someday.”

Sarah is employed as a lady’s companion by Mrs. Poulteney of
Malborough House. Her stay is miserable due to Mrs. Poulteney
and the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairley, who keeps spying on Sarah.
They attempt to restrict her freedom in the name of making her
repent for her sins. Meanwhile, Charles is intrigued by the outcast.
His interest in her grows to be an obsession. An amateur
paleontologist, he meets her on several occasions at Ware
Commons. He wants to help her but his interest is routed in the fact
that he finds her singularly different from other Victorian woman.
As on outcast, Sarah does not follow societal norms yet she insists
on Charles help. Dr. Grogan, Charles friend, sympathizes with her
situation but believes that Sarah wants Charles’ constant attention.
He diagnoses her condition as a mental illness called melancholia
and wants to get her institutionalized.

Meanwhile, Sarah has come to depend on Charles who is himself
going through a change. He is beginning to question his age’s
conventions and questioning himself. He urges Sarah to leave
Lyme and go to Exeter where she will have more freedom to live
an unconventional life. Sarah takes his advice but Charles cannot
forget her. At the same time, he feels guilty for even thinking about
her. He does not love Ernestina and is marrying her solely for her
wealth. He thinks their relationship is nothing more than a façade.

Fowles constantly interrupts the narrative by making authorial
comments with a twentieth century perspective. The narrative
action digresses back and forth from the Victorian Age to the
twentieth century in time. Fowles is writing a novel set in the
nineteenth-century romantic literary genre but with a twentieth
century perspective. Charles finds the prospect of living a life as a
dutiful husband and son-in-law unappealing. His uncle disinherits
him, so he has no money and title. He wants to have a more
meaningful life, unrestricted by traditions. He makes the ultimate
decision of his life by breaking his engagement to Ernestina and
follows Sarah to Exeter, where they consummate their relationship.
When he returns for her, after informing Ernestina of the break-up,
he learns that she has left with no forwarding address. His valet
Sam betrays him. In despair, Charles reaches Sarah but to no avail.
Ernestina’s father makes him sign a humiliating statement of guilt
for breaking the marriage contract and Charles’ friend and solicitor
prevails upon him to leave England for some time.

Charles travels the world but prefers America, which he finds
refreshingly modern compared to England. While touring America,
he receives word that Sarah has been found. He hurries back to
England and finds Sarah living with the Rossettis. She has changed
drastically, and Charles finds this difficult to accept. Fowles gives
two endings to the novel. In the conventional ending, Charles
meets his baby daughter and Sarah and he reunite. They live
happily ever after like any other hero and heroine in a romantic
novel. The other ending is unconventional and more realistic, an
ending more apt for a twentieth century novel. Charles rejects the
new Sarah, yet despite feeling bitter and alienated, he has found a
new awareness and strength within himself. Because of his
involvement with Sarah, Charles has changed from his old
conventional self, rejecting the values that sought to confine him.


Major Theme

In this novel, Fowles is interested in the literary genre of the
nineteenth-century romantic or gothic novel and succeeds in
reproducing typical Victorian characters, situations and dialogue.
But Fowles perception of the genre is touched with typical
twentieth-century irony. His thematic concerns range from the
relationship between life and art and the artist and his creation to
the isolation that results from an individual struggling for selfhood.

Minor Theme

Fowles’ aim is to bring to light those aspects of Victorian society
that would appear most foreign to contemporary readers. Victorian
attitudes towards women, economics, science and philosophy are
tackled as minor themes within the main plot. Both women and the
working-class are two groups that are revealed as being oppressed
both economically and socially in a society that inhibits mobility
for anyone who is not middle or upper-class and male. These are
the social issues that Fowles explores within the guise of a
traditional romance.


The general mood throughout the novel is somber and turbulent.
From the initial chapter, the mood is set. A strong easterly wind is
blowing and a storm is coming in. It is in such a setting that
Charles and Sarah meet. The atmosphere suits Sarah’s enigmatic
personality. Throughout the novel, she is presented as a dark,
mysterious and intriguing figure. The reader are unconsciously
aware that the lovers, Charles and Sarah, are doomed from the
beginning. In several sections, the mood changes to one of irony
and realistic recording of details. Fowles tends to comment on
several unknown aspects of the Victorian era (e.g. prostitution) in
an ironically realistic manner.


Major Theme

In this novel, Fowles is interested in the literary genre of the
nineteenth-century romantic or gothic novel and succeeds in
reproducing typical Victorian characters, situations and dialogue.
But Fowles perception of the genre is touched with typical
twentieth-century irony. His thematic concerns range from the
relationship between life and art and the artist and his creation to
the isolation that results from an individual struggling for selfhood.

Minor Theme

Fowles’ aim is to bring to light those aspects of Victorian society
that would appear most foreign to contemporary readers. Victorian
attitudes towards women, economics, science and philosophy are
tackled as minor themes within the main plot. Both women and the
working-class are two groups that are revealed as being oppressed
both economically and socially in a society that inhibits mobility
for anyone who is not middle or upper-class and male. These are
the social issues that Fowles explores within the guise of a
traditional romance.


The general mood throughout the novel is somber and turbulent.
From the initial chapter, the mood is set. A strong easterly wind is
blowing and a storm is coming in. It is in such a setting that
Charles and Sarah meet. The atmosphere suits Sarah’s enigmatic
personality. Throughout the novel, she is presented as a dark,
mysterious and intriguing figure. The reader are unconsciously
aware that the lovers, Charles and Sarah, are doomed from the
beginning. In several sections, the mood changes to one of irony
and realistic recording of details. Fowles tends to comment on
several unknown aspects of the Victorian era (e.g. prostitution) in
an ironically realistic manner.



John Robert Fowles (1926), novelist, was educated at Bedford
School and New College, Oxford, where he read French. After
serving in the Royal Marines, he worked as a schoolteacher before
embarking on a career as a full-time writer. He spent some time on
the Greek island of Spetsai before the success of his first novel,
The Collector, enabled him to write full-time.

The Collector is a psychological thriller in which a girl, Miranda,
is kidnapped by a psychologically possessive repressed clerk and
butterfly-collector who keeps her as one of the many specimens of
his butterfly collection. The novel ends with her death and his
plans to add another specimen to his collection.

This novel was followed by Aristos (1965), an idiosyncratic
collection of notes and aphorisms aimed at a ‘personal
philosophy.’ It is a self-portrait, revised in 1980, on ideas that set
forth the personal version of existentialism which underlies his
novels. Fowles’ concern with the strategies of fictional narrative
and the implications of conventional ways of writing fiction is
explicated in the valuable notes on an unfinished novel in The
Novel Today edited by Malcolm Bradbury (1977).

The Magus (1966, revised 1977), is a long, compulsive
masquerade of sexual enticement and historical manipulation set
on the Greek island of Phraxos. A British schoolmaster, Nicholas
D’urfe, half-guest and half-victim is subjected to a series of
mysterious apparitions and tableaux which, despite their
naturalistic explanations, give the novel a narrative complexity and
mythological dimension faintly suggestive of Magic Realism.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), is a careful pastiche of a
Victorian novel undercut by twentieth century literary and social
insight. Its heroine, the governess Sarah Woodruff, is one version
of the elusive, inscrutable woman who appears throughout Fowles’
fiction, notably in the titular novella of The Ebony Tower (1974), a
collection of shorter fictions. The novel is notable for the author’s
intrusive commentary and suggestion of alternative endings, an
aspect represented in Pinter’s screenplay by a double action of

Daniel Martin (1977) is a dense, realistic novel rooted in post-war
Britain and expounding an unfashionable philosophy and
humanism. It is a long self-searching, semi-naturalistic, semi-
experimental account of screen-writer Daniel Martin and his
relationship with Hollywood, capitalism, art and his sister-in-law,
set in a wide variety of locations, ranging from opening sequences
in Devon and Oxford to a closing sequence in the ruins of Palmyra.

Mantissa (1983) is a sexual jeu d’esprit and satire of contemporary
structuralist ideology. It consists largely of an extended erotic
fantasy on the subject of la femine inspiratrice, with mythological
undertones and A Maggot (1985) is a murder mystery set in the
eighteenth century and written as a transcript of the subsequent
interrogations of the murderer.


In this novel, Fowles is interested in the genre of the nineteenth-
century romantic or gothic novel and successfully recreates typical
characters, situations and even dialogue. Yet his perspective is that
of the twentieth century as can be noted in the authorial intrusions
and opening quotations drawn from the works of Victorian writers
whose observations were uniquely different from the assumptions
that most Victorians held about their world. In this way, he
attempts to critique those values that Victorians most heralded.

Until today, the Victorian Age was seen to be a Golden Age where
Reason and Rationality were proclaimed as dogma and faith.
People were beginning to question the claims that religion made
about the existence of God and the beginning of man. Anything
that could not be proven through experimentation and science was
immediately treated with suspicion. With Charles Darwin’s The
Origin of Species (1859) the biblical myth of Adam and Eve and
the origins of man were shattered. Darwin’s work created quite an
uproar as it succeeded it in shattering the Victorian people’s
unquestioning religious faith.

The Victorian society imposed a great deal of repressive
conventions and norms on its people, especially women and the
working class. Victorian women were socially conditioned to
believe that their rightful place was at home with their husbands
and children. A Victorian woman was expected to accept the
patriarchal norm unhesitatingly. Her duty was to her husband and
children. Only if she toed this social line would she be deemed a
proper young Victorian lady. The institution of marriage was often
a contract agreement. Money often married into a titled family as
in Charles and Ernestina’s case, thereby reinforcing the dominant
society’s power. Money and nobility were often the main criteria
for a Victorian marriage.

The practice of prostitution was a topic that Victorian archivists
rarely touched upon. Most historians up until recently thought that
the Victorian age was known for its virtuous and pure qualities yet
Fowles’ novel reveals that even during the Age of Propriety
prostitution flourished and consequently women were often
victims of sexual abuse or social rejects. By giving prostitutes a
mention in his novel, Fowles is attempting to be realistic about
their situation. He is obviously concerned about the role of women
in Victorian England and society’s treatment of them. As is
apparent women of all classes right from the aristocracy to the
prostitutes were exploited by society which was largely patriarchal
and this practice continues even today.

The aristocrats were a dominant class once upon a time in England
yet it is during Queen Victoria’s time that the class hierarchy
began to dismantle. The nobility were no longer all powerful. The
rising middle-class was a new class coming into existence and
successful businessmen in the trade and commerce industry were
now socially prominent leaders of society. London was the place
where all urban activity took place partly due to its reputation as an
industrial capital. The working classes in industrial London
consisted of the lower classes that had migrated from the
countryside to better their prospects. The middle class had the
largest population. Class structure was based more on money than
breeding in the changing Victorian social scene. Successful
members of the trade and commerce industry now held the upper
rungs of the social ladder although there was still some resistance
in terms of acceptance into certain social circles.

A Victorian gentleman was expected to have a sense of duty and
propriety. He was expected to stick to his commitments, be they
legal or marital. They were expected to keep up the facade of a
proper gentleman. But Fowles informs the reader that very often
the norm was flouted to the advantage of men. In a telling chapter,
Fowles comments on upper class men patronizing the prostitution
dens. There were one set of social rules for men and one for
women. Rules of propriety were started by the middle classes in
order to keep their members from straying from the ‘proper’
pathway. The upper classes and the lower classes had no hang-ups
about pre-marital sex yet the middle classes treated this as a taboo

Fowles is interested in society’s effects on its members and the
concerns that arise from it. Much of the novel is geared towards
analyzing particular roles that various members of society had to
play due to societal pressure to conform to a particular behavior.
His characters often act and react to how they are supposed to be
behaving rather than to any individual agency. Fowles is also
interested in twentieth century novel conventions and the Victorian
romantic novel conditions and their treatment of realism. The
Victorians were trying to write in a realistic manner whereas their
modern counterparts were attempting to clearly define the meaning
of realism through their writings.



The initial chapter begins with an extensive description of Lyme
Bay in 1867. The narrator observer informs the reader that since
that time very little has changed in Lyme. He compares it to a tiny
Greek island, Piraeus. It is picturesque place a dozen or so houses,
sloping meadows and wooded hills. From the perspective of an
outsider looking in, the narrator informs the reader that he is the
local spy. He uses his telescope to spy on two people taking a walk
along the Cobb. The two people seem to be well-dressed and from
the upper class. The young lady is dressed in the height of fashion,
which the narrator says was a revolt against the crinoline and large
bonnet commonly worn by Victorian women. The man too is
expensively clothed.

The narrator/spy then shifts his telescope to the other figure
standing at the end of the Cobb. Dressed in black, the figure is
staring out to sea. She is a woman who appears distressed.


The novel begins with a quote from Thomas Hardy’s “The Riddle”
and is an apt description of the French Lieutenant’s Woman and
the reader. She is portrayed as a singular figure, alone against a
desolate landscape. This image piques the reader’s curiosity.

Chapter 1 gives an extensive, detailed description of Lyme Bay.
The narrator makes it a point to insist that very little has changed
in Lyme Regis since the nineteenth century to the present day. The
narrator deftly moves between the two centuries and comments on
the present day events in the same tone in which he comment on
the Victorian period. That is, he adopts a rather formal, stiff
Victorian tone while narrating the events in the novel yet the
content of what he says is contemporary.

The narrator is in the persona of John Fowles, the author. His
authorial intrusions are very pointed and sometimes biased. He
comments on Charles and Ernestina’s dress sense, saying both
appeared fashionable, especially Ernestina who has adopted a more
provocative style of dress. For instance, Ernestina’s skirt is shorter
than the accepted length, and she wears a pork-pie hat instead of a
large bonnet. Her sense of fashion is alien to a place like Lyme
Regis, which is provincial and rooted in conventions. This gives
the reader a sense that Ernestina may be less conventional than a
typical Victorian woman yet whether her adventurous dress sense
matches her ideas will soon be seen.

The narrator plays the role of participant and observer. It is through
his lens, metaphorically seen in the use of his telescope, that the
characters and situations are wrought. He provides insight and
information about the characters as well as providing authorial
commentary about the setting.

PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles


Fowles gives a quotation from E. Royston Pike’s “Human
Documents of the Victorian Golden Age” which is a commentary
on the role of Victorian women.

The chapter introduces the reader to Ernestina Freeman and
Charles Smithson, the two people walking along the Cobb. The
couple are engaged to be married. Their conversation is largely
small talk and rather trite. Ernestina appears to be lively, romantic
and coy, typical of Victorian women. Her fiancée, Charles is
interested in the theories of Darwin. He likes to think of himself as
rational and scientific. His aim is to be different from other
Victorian gentlemen.

The wind is blowing rather hard and a gale is coming in when
Charles sees the women in black standing at the far end of the
Cobb. He is concerned for her safety. Ernestina tells him that the
woman is nicknamed “Tragedy” and that she is awaiting the return
of her lover who has abandoned her. Charles is intrigued by the
story and curious to meet the woman. He attempts to warn her
about the storm but the woman simply turns around and stares at
him. The look has a strong impact on Charles. He finds her face is
unforgettable and tragic. When she turns away from them, Charles
and Ernestina leave.


Chapter 2 starts out with a quotation from E. Royston Pike’s
“Human Documents of the Victorian Golden Age” which
comments on the population of women being higher than that of
men. Pikes implies that because of these statistics the set role of
Victorian women is that of a wife and mother. Yet because there
are more women than men, not all women can fulfil their role as
wives and mothers; therefore, the quote becomes ironic in the
context of the French Lieutenant’s Woman. Although Sarah’s
epithet appears to attach her to a man, he is in fact not present so
far in the novel and she is free of the conventional role society
attempts to impose on her.

The reader is introduced to Charles Smithson and his fiancée,
Ernestina Freeman. Their conversation is banal. Ernestina typifies
a Victorian woman in that all of her energy is expended on
captivating a man’s attention yet what she says is insubstantial.
Much of this has to do with her socialization and she cannot be
judged too harshly. Yet the differences between her and Charles is
significant here. Whereas she has no interest in Sara other than the
story of misfortune, Charles finds her odd and disconcertingly
attractive because she is outside the norm. He has a predilection for
scientific inquiries and theories such as Darwinism yet Ernestina
shares none of this. He believes himself to be rational and
analytical as he is scientifically inclined, but in reality, he is like
any other Victorian gentleman: romantic, idealistic and
conventional. When Ernestina informs him about Sarah, he is
attracted by her unconventionality yet repelled by her strangeness.
It is as though he is looking at some exotic specimen.


Fowles begins the chapter with a passage from The Origin of
Species (1859), a controversial work written by Charles Darwin
that created an uproar during the Victorian age because its theory
undermined the creationist myth of Adam and Eve as told in the

The chapter focuses on Charles Smithson, an amateur
paleontologist, interested in Darwin’s theory. He likes to think of
himself as rational and analytical as well as intellectually superior
to other Victorian men because he holds progressive views. The
narrator intrudes in to make statements about the nature of time
and the differences in perception from one century to the next. He
notes that if the twentieth century suffers from a lack of time than
our Victorian counterparts suffered from tranquil boredom or what
is known as ennui. However, ennui was experienced by those in
the upper classes who did not have to work to live. It is this which
Charles finds so dissatisfying in his life and which also makes him
vulnerable to that which is different or strange.

Charles Smithson was born into the upper class. His grandfather
was a renowned paleontologist and although Charles was inspired
by his work, he only dabbles in it rather than studies it seriously.
Charles’ uncle is now the owner of the estate, and Charles is his
heir. Deep down Charles is idealistic and romantic. He is also
cynical unlike other young men of his class. After his studies at
Cambridge, he had decided to join the Church. His father
discouraged him and sent him to Paris. There, he lost some of his
idealism and became more cynical and worldly-wise. His
experience in the city of Sin matured him greatly. Charles, the
narrator informs the reader, is rather superficial yet paleontology
keeps him occupied. His interest in scientific tracks is only a
passing fancy. He is one of the most eligible bachelors and is
constantly hounded by mothers with marriageable daughters.


This chapter is begins with a quotation from Darwin’s The Origin
of Species. This work caused a lot of controversy during the
Victorian age as it led to a breakdown in religious attitudes. The
reader must not forget that the Victorian period was once of great
discoveries and that with this new knowledge of the universe and
biological diversity, people were questioning the origins of their
existence. Charles is a pseudo-intellectual and pretends to be a
Darwinist although in reality he does not understand the work. By
claiming to be a Darwinist, he is making a statement that he is
different from his Victorian peers.

The narrative digression explores the concept of time in the two
adjoining centuries. If lack of time is the anathema of modern man
(which leads them to neurosis) then tranquil boredom is the ill of
the wealthy class. Because Charles does not really have to work for
a living, he is easily bored as well as confined by social rules that
frustrate and exasperate him. He is a romantic and idealistic man
like any other Victorian, but deliberately chooses to read scientific
tracts which he took up to relieve his boredom.

Charles is trained to be a conventional moralist and his first sexual
episode makes him run to the Church. But once in Paris, the City
of Sin, he does not mind indulging in what his age proclaims is
forbidden pleasure yet at the same time condone it as his father
does when he forbids him to take Holy Orders. This double
standard prevalent in Victorian destroys Charles’ youthful idealism
and replaces it with a more worldly cynicism. He may be
outwardly superficial yet the man inside is still an idealistic
romantic. His double standards often confuse him. His age has
taught him to think of sex as something evil but he derives pleasure
from sometimes deviating from the norm. Thus, the reader may be
able to understand his being attracted to Sarah Woodrufft as being
not only unconventional but also sanctioned by the society he lives
in though it would be loath to admit it.


The chapter starts out with a quote about the social conditions of
the British upper and middle classes. The chapter introduces the
reader to Mrs. Poulteney who is well known in Lyme Regis and
dreaded for her taskmaster attitude. Her domestic staff is
overworked and underpaid and Mrs. Fairley, her maid, acts as her
spy. Anyone caught shirking his or her duties is immediately
reported to Mrs. Poulteney.

Mrs. Poulteney likes to think of herself as a morally upright and
religious woman. Her spy pretends to be religiously virtuous for
her mistress’ sake. In reality, both are hypocrites. Mrs. Poulteney is
well known for her charity yet her motives for being “charitable”
are mercenary. Firstly she wants to assure a place for herself in
Heaven. Secondly, she wants a cheap source of labor and so asks
the vicar if there is anyone she can take into her household who
has fallen on unfortunate circumstance. This also gives her a
morally superior edge. Her sanctimoniousness is evident in her
request. The vicar, Mr. Forsythe recommends Sarah Woodruff.


The chapter begins with another quotation from Pike’s work, and it
expounds on the social conditions of British upper and middle
classes and their attitudes towards the lower classes. In Pike’s own
words ‘cesspool’ is the term he uses to refer to the lower classes.

The chapter is largely a portrait of Mrs. Poulteney and her
housekeeper/spy, Mrs. Fairley. Mrs. Poulteney professes to be a
moralistic upright woman and her sidekick, Mrs. Fairley pretends
to be the same. But in reality both are hypocrites. Together they
succeed in making the lives of the domestic staff at Malborough
Hill a living hell. Mrs. Poulteney, the narrator intrudes in to
mention, is well known for her charity yet her motives are selfish.
She believes she is feathering a bed for herself in Heaven. Both of
these women are common types in Victorian novels. Whether or
not such types really existed is worthy of inquiry although their
high-mindedness and social and moral superiority are attributes
associated with many Victorians. Together the two mean women
succeed in making Sarah’s life miserable and make Sarah’s
character more sympathetic.


The chapter begins with a quote from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s In
Memoriam which is a reflective commentary on Victorian attitudes
towards sexuality and duty and the moral conflicts Victorian men
and women faced.

This chapter has Charles and Ernestina parting after their walk and
focuses on Ernestina’s return to her room where she gazes in the
mirror while undressing. The reader is informed that Ernestina has
features appropriate for the age she lives in. She is the epitome of
everything a Victorian woman stands for: beauty, purity, and
modesty. Her father, Mr. Freeman, is a trader who has risen from
the lower classes to be a prominent citizen in London. He is
representative of the new merchant class which could buy its way
into a good social standing. The narrator makes intrusive
comments about the Victorian age and the roles women were
expected to play. Ernestina is a lively young lady who finds Lyme
Regis very dull and boring. Although quite traditional and
constantly conforming to the norm, Ernestina has moments when
she breaks away from the set. She has been brought up like all
Victorian women to think that her duty is to her husband and
children, and she is desperate to conform to this rule. Like most
women she is sexually repressed. The thought of sex and what
would be expected of her once she married Charles makes her
wince and shudder. She looks upon her engagement to Charles as a
kind of duty. She has to go through it for her father’s sake. Her
father is ambitious and wants a title for his daughter. After all
Charles is heir to a small fortune and estate. Ernestina is the perfect
foil to Sarah, who chooses not to conform to societal norms.


Chapter 5 is a portrait of Charles fiancee, Ernestina Freeman.
Ernestina typifies the heroine one would usually find in a Victorian
novel – beautiful, virtuous, ebullient and yet she is much too
controlled by her social conditioning to be a true heroine. Instead
she epitomizes everything the Victorians demanded out of a
woman – shy, pretty, dutiful. She accepts her future role as a wife
and mother. The author informs the reader that under normal
circumstances, that is by Victorian standards, Ernestina would
have been the Heroine of this novel. But she has to relinquish her
role to the more darkly, intense Sarah who defies convention.

Ernestina, nevertheless, emulates the ideals of the Victorian
woman. She is the rich, pampered daughter of her trader-father
who has risen from the lower classes and is ambitious that his
daughter marries into a high-ranking family. Her engagement to
Charles is only done out of a sense of duty to her parents and
society. An unfortunate condition of many Victorian women,
whether prostitutes or the daughters of wealthy businessman, was
that they were commodified. In Sarah’s case, her commodity is her
virginity, which was heavily prized at the time. Like most
Victorian women, she is sexually repressed, curious yet ignorant
about her sexuality at the same time. Her society has trained her to
believe that her body is meant for the sole sexual gratification of
her husband and to bear his children.

Fowles gives the reader a quote from Tennyson’s In Memoriam at
the beginning of the chapter that illustrates how Victorians
believed that if love could not be immortalized then it ended in
lust. This is in parlance with the Victorian attitude that love is
transcendental and not physical.

The author’s descriptions and dialogue are rendered in a style
suitable for a Victorian novel. The accuracy of detail and dialogue
should be noted for its authenticity.


Fowles gives the reader a detailed account of Sarah’s tragic
circumstances. At the vicar’s recommendation, Mrs. Poultenay
agrees to interview Sarah for the post of a lady’s companion. Her
conditions are that Sarah should be god fearing, respectable and
above reproach. From the vicar Mrs. Poulteney learns that Sarah
was at one time an appointed governess to the Talbot children.
Sarah’s family came from the lower classes of society but she had
been educated.

While working for the Talbots, she met a French Lieutenant,
Monsieur Varguennes. His ship had sunk and he was recuperating
at the Talbot residence. The Talbots had kindly given him shelter.
Since Sarah was versed in French, she was given the task of
tending to the injured Frenchman. Through this contact their
relationship blossomed. Two days after he had left, Sarah gave up
her job and followed him to Weymouth. He falsely promised her
that he would return from France and marry her. Since then she has
been awaiting his return.

Mrs. Poulteney takes a vicarious pleasure when she hears of
Sarah’s tragic circumstances. Sarah seems like the perfect charity
case, and she agrees to meet this “fallen” woman. At the interview,
Mrs. Poulteney mistakenly assumed Sarah’s reserved posture to be
that of someone who is remorseful and full of shame. She thinks
that Sarah wants to redeem herself. Sarah is made to read a passage
from the Bible and successfully passes the test. Mrs. Poulteney
exults in Sarah’s melancholic demeanor as she mistakenly
interprets her to be mourning her loss of moral values.

Sarah has received better offers of staying but she has her own
reasons for accepting Mrs. Poultney’s offer. Firstly, she is close to
destitution and needs some security and secondly, Malborough
House is conveniently near to the sea. This way she can continue
her watch for the Frenchman.


In this chapter, the reader gains a more detailed history of Sarah’s
past as well as Mrs. Poulteney’s sanctimoniousness as she feigns
compassion for a destitute woman. To her, Sarah is the perfect
candidate for charity and she is determined to make sure that her
charity-case redeems her fallen status. Sarah is the scourge on
which she could lay to rest her own sins in order to reach Heaven.

In fact, during the interview, she takes great delight in taunting
Sarah. She is satisfied that Sarah appears remorseful of her present
status. In fact, Sarah’s reserved melancholic demeanor is a habitual
one but Mrs. Poulteney prefers to think that she is morning her loss
of moral virtue. Mrs. Fairley realizes that Sarah is slowly taking
over the position that she originally has. To keep in Mrs.
Poulteney’s good favors, she deliberately gives unfavorable reports
on Sarah to Mrs. Poulteney. In fact, both women had already made
up their minds to personally see to it that this young sinner
underwent redemption. The author intrudes to inform the reader
that if Sarah’s countenance did not bear that visible repentant look
then Mrs. Poulteney would never have taken her in. It is important
to note Sarah’s reasons for accepting the post despite receiving
better offers from less harsher employers is that she is close to
destitution, and most importantly, Malborough House’s location
near the sea allows Sarah to continue her vigilance of the sea for
her French lover. If Mrs. Poulteney had known her reasons, she
would have been incensed.


A new day is ushered in bright and sunny. Our narrator introduces
the reader to Sam Farrow, Charles valet. Sam is working class and
has a distinct Cockney accent for which he is constantly heckled
by his master. Their entire conversation is a light-hearted bantering
where Charles teases Sam for his Cockney accent, his humble
lower class origins and his attraction to Ernestina’s maid, Mary.
Sam, being on the receiving end, resents his master’s jokes, which
he finds very patronizing. He considers his class a bane to his
social ambitions.

The narrator then goes into a long digression on the social
conditions of the lower classes during the Victorian period. He
compares Sam Farrow to Dickens’ popular character Sam Weller,
the Cockney servant from The Pickwick Papers. But then he is
quick to point out that since the publication of the papers, thirty
years have passed and much has changed. Earlier the lower classes
were content with their status. Now, they are determined to make
their mark on the social ladder. Sam Farrow belongs to this new
generation of servants. Sam is very snobbish as he portrays himself
to be a cut above his country cousins. He wears new, fashionable
clothes, and is constantly making an effort to improve on his
accent. The author intrudes in to comment that the gentile classes
were relatively kind to their domestics. Ironically, it was the
nouveau riche that treated their servants harshly. This was an
astonishing aspect as they themselves belonged to the same class.
Charles’ treatment of Sam borders on friendship. The narrator
winds up the chapter with a stark statement saying that where Sam
Weller was content with his lot, Sam Farrow was determined to get
out of it.


Chapter 7 is a reflection on Charles and Sam Farrow’s relationship
and looks more broadly at the relationship between the classes. At
the beginning of this chapter, a passage from Karl Marx’s Capital
(1867) comments on Victorian class attitudes, especially with
respect to the exploitation of the lower class by the upper class.

The conversation between Charles and Sam is seemingly friendly,
but to the readers, Charles’ attitude borders on condescension. The
narrator then digresses into a lengthy commentary on the situation
of the working classes in 1867. The likes of Sam Farrow were
decidedly upwardly mobile. Unlike their predecessors, they were
not content with their servile status. The author makes a
comparison between Sam Farrow and Sam Weller, Dickens’s
famous character from The Pickwick Papers.

Sam Weller was content in his position of the Cockney-accented
servant. Sam Farrow is not content with his present status and is
constantly looking for ways to improve himself. He despises
Charles patronizing talk. The narrator terms this new generation of
the London Cockney class as snobs because they consider
themselves a cut above their rural brothers. This is evident from
Sam’s attitude towards Mary, the maid. The author makes an
ironical statement that the upper class shared a better relationship
with their domestics than the rising middle-classes. This new breed
of nouveau riche set up rigid boundaries between them and their
servants as a way to make a distinction between them even though
many came from that very class.


The chapter starts out with Charles’ visit to Ernestina’s house only to find her indisposed. Out of a sense of duty, he asks if he should summon the doctor but is dissuaded by Aunt Tranter. He decides to spend the day indulging in his hobby and goes to the seashore to look for fossils. The narrator then interrupts the narrative to give the reader scientific data on the geographical strata that is available in Lyme Regis. It is a haven for anybody who is scientifically inclined towards fossils. The narration returns back to Charles. He is highly overdressed by twentieth century standards. For instance, he wears hob-nailed boots to walk on a beach strewn with boulders. The narrator hastens to warn the reader from laughing at Charles’ attire as Victorians tended to be a little bit overzealous in their efforts. They were guided by their driven sense of duty. The narrator digresses again stating that modern man was not interested in the past, only the present. The narrator states that Charles had a sentimental attitude towards science than any deep rooted realistic interest in it. He claimed to be a Darwinist, but the truth was that he did not understand the great theorist. Paleontology eased his boredom. When Charles finds a fossil specimen, he remembers Ernestina and his duty to her. He decides to give the fossil to her and reluctantly turns back from his search. He realizes that he has lost a lot of time and decides to take a shortcut through the undercliff. Notes Chapter 8 is a discussion of Victorian attitudes towards scientific inquiry. The Victorian Age was heralded as the age of rationality. The Victorians were questioning religious dogmas and conventions of the past and were now encouraging factual scientific research. Science and its findings fascinated the Victorians, but they rarely understood it. They realized that very little efforts were channeled toward this purpose and so encouraged it, but the scientific method of inquiry was not popular at the time. The scientific method required the scientist to arrive at a hypotheses and then to prove or disprove it with factual data using empirical methods of research. The Victorians were ignorant of this method. They instead proposed theories to explain the existence of natural phenomenon that had no scientific backing. Like the majority of the Victorian public, Charles did not understand Darwin’s theory on the origin of species. He prefers to call himself a Darwinist as this makes him feel contemporary as well as driven by larger ideas about the world and its origins. Charles has very little direction and practically no expectations out of life. He prefers to play the role of an upper class gentleman and dilettante naturalist. Also, his sense of duty is very strong like most Victorians. The author digresses to inform the reader that his switch from paleontology to his duty to Ernestina was easily done. According to the narrator, Charles interest in science was more a way to deflect boredom and avoid making decisions rather than a deeply driven need to discover. Victorians believed that all knowledge was already discovered and that it just had to be catalogued. Therefore, Charles’ purpose in finding fossils is not to discover anything new but to focus on minutiae and avoid the larger picture of his life. .


The narrator returns to the developing relationship between Sarah and Mrs. Poulteney. The reader gets a detailed account of Sarah’s young life. She was the daughter of a poor vicar and because she was extremely intelligent, she was educated and trained to be a governess. The narrator digresses to inform the reader that Sarah possesses a rare talent, the ability to astutely judge the real nature of an individual, and see through their pretensions. This talent serves to be more of a bane than a boon. She remained unmarried because she was considered to be of low economic standing to upper class men. Also, her penetrating insight into people’s nature made her reject their proposals. Condemned to be alone, she earned her living working as a governess. Shifting back to Sarah and Mrs. Poulteney, the observant narrator notes that on the first few weeks of Sarah’s stay, a perceptible change took place in Malborough House. She endears herself to the servants when she takes up for Millie, a young maid, and rescues her from being dismissed. Also, Mrs. Poulteney unwillingly finds herself drawn to Sarah, especially to the fervent way she read the Bible. Mrs. Poulteney actually interprets it as a sign of redemption. But even as Sarah is proving her worth to Mrs. Poulteney, she is unwittingly making an enemy of Mrs. Fairley, who thinks the young woman is usurping her role as Mrs. Poulteney’s favorite servant. Mrs. Fairley is a constant thorn in Sarah’s side. She spies on Sarah’s movements and reports back to Mrs. Poulteney that Sarah has been gazing at the sea in her free time. Mrs. Poulteney assumes that she is pining for her lover, and forbids her from walking that way. Instead of defending herself, Sarah offers to leave. Mrs. Poulteney has come to depend on Sarah’s services, and rather than lose her companion, she agrees to a compromise. Sarah must not be seen too often near the sea. When Sarah falls ill, Mrs. Fairley continues with her spying. She soon reports back that Sarah has taken to walking on Ware Commons. The information scandalizes Mrs. Poulteney. Notes Chapter 9 begins with a quotation from Matthew Arnold’s A Farewell and is an apt description of the French Lieutenant’s Woman who has an element of the unknown about her which is her most attractive quality. Sarah is a perceptive, young woman and an excellent judge of people’s characters. She, being naturally astute, can see through people’s artifices and judge them for what they really are and not what they pretend to be. Because of this intuition, she often sees the evil motives behind the seemingly kind veneers of the people she meets. In the Victorian age, where there was a public and private face, this kind of perception could pierce the deceptive appearances that people strove to keep intact. Despite being educated, upper class suitors rejected her because of her class and men belonging to own class found her too progressive for their taste. So she was subject to rejection from all quarters. As a single woman, Sarah must make due on her own. Therefore, she is often at the mercy of people who are malicious and want to control her. Both Mrs. Poulteney and Mrs. Fairley do not hesitate in making Sarah’s life a misery by not only tracking her whereabouts but constantly bringing up her past. Mrs. Poulteney reminds her to redeem her “fallen” self. Mrs. Fairley is jealous of Sarah and enjoys spying on her. Sarah is forbidden to walk along the sea as the two ladies feel she is not really repenting for her sins. Their need to keep her life circumscribed and “pure” is in fact a desire to make her conform to proper female behavior. The author’s criticism is directed towards close-minded attitudes of people like Mrs. Poulteney and Mrs. Fairley who cannot move beyond appearances and surfaces. Sarah’s chief fault was that she did not behave like other Victorian women. Despite her longing to be free, she is not able to get away from those who try to restrict her because of her class and gender.


The narrator focuses his attention back to Charles. Fowles gives an extensive description of the Undercliff, a coastal area that is densely overgrown with vegetation. Someone could easily get lost in it although it is not that big an area. He digresses to let the reader know that nothing has changed since then and in fact it is now a national preserve. Charles has been forced to use this shortcut to get back to Ernestina on time. The scenic beauty of the area enthralls and captivates him. Charles is a sentimental romantic at heart. He quits his hobby for the moment and allows himself to be hypnotized by the wondrous beauty around him. The woods are totally secluded and uninhabited except for some wild birds and animals. The eastern-half of this place is popularly known to the locals as “Ware Commons”. This is also a place where young lovers are rumored to meet because of its privacy. For this reason, it has a notorious reputation. While winding through the dense vegetation, Charles comes out onto a grassy meadow overlooking the sea. Just below him on a sloping ledge jutting out into the sea, he spots a darkly clothed woman who is sleeping. Approaching her, he realizes she is the French Lieutenant’s Woman. When he attempts to get nearer, Sarah wakes up and their eyes meet. He is embarrassed to be caught staring at her and she is ashamed that he caught her sleeping. In this brief meeting, Charles intuitively guesses that the rumors about Sarah are not true. She is not what her notorious story makes her out to be. He apologizes for waking her up and leaves quickly. Notes Chapter 10 begins with a description of the Undercliff, which is an unruly and uninhabited place and contrasts sharply to the otherwise docile landscape of southwestern England. It is here that young lovers meet in an age when any physical contact between the sexes before marriage is frowned upon. Therefore, Mrs. Poulteney’s reaction to the news that Sarah goes to the Commons seems a suitable one for the prudish Victorian woman. Much of the imagery in this chapter captures the wildness of the setting, its uninhibitedness as well as mystery. So when Charles finds Sarah sleeping in the woods, he reacts to her as part of the landscape. Something that is not quite part of the world he knows and lives in. He gazes at her first with sexual longing and then with a feeling of sympathy as he realizes that the rumors about Sarah are false. Rather than the disreputable woman she has been made out to be, she is instead innocent. The author digresses to inform the reader that in this unconscious act Charles has shrugged off the Victorian values impressed upon him of morality and propriety. He also sees through her image of a wanton woman and finds that she is an actuality a despairing person who has been unjustly ostracized. He is impatient with the Victorian attitudes towards sex and instinctually realizes the double standards existing within society. What he thinks and what he is supposed to think about this woman become two separate realities.


Ernestina wakes up in grumpy mood, feeling restless. Mary, her maid, brings in the flowers that Charles has sent through Sam. Hearing Sam flirt with Mary, she mistakenly assumes it is Charles and because she is fearful that Charles is attracted to her maid, she is rude to Mary. The observer narrator gives a brief portrait of Mary who is a lively, down-to-earth, warm-hearted young girl. He says she is the most beautiful of all the women in the novel although her beauty is not appreciated. She has been working for Aunt Tranter since her dismissal from Mrs. Poulteney’s services. The author digresses to inform the reader that Mary was quite unlike other Victorian women. Firstly, she was not a lady and secondly, she did not possess any physical attributes appropriate to Victorian standards. Meanwhile, Ernestina recalls her first meeting with Charles. She knew that Charles did not like women to pursue him, so she deliberately acted coy to lure him towards her. The author informs the reader that Charles had his own reasons for pursuing Ernestina as he was more in love with her money than with Ernestina. She reminisces about the moment when Charles first proposed to her and how happy she was and how her father heartily approved of the match because of his title. Notes Chapter 11 begins with a quotation from Duty by A. H. Clough. Fowles has deliberately incorporated it into the chapter as it clearly explicates the meaning of duty to a Victorian woman, that of wife, churchgoer, and socialite. Ernestina is unsure of her real feelings for Charles yet he is the best choice of a partner for her. Despite being engaged to him, she feels she still does not know him. She is insecure about the relationship but does not dare to speak about her true feelings to Charles or anyone else. This would be seen as being improper behavior. Compared to Ernestina, Mary appears to be beyond social protocol because of her class. She is lively and down-to-earth unlike Ernestina who must act within the dictates of social conventions. In fact, Mary is dismissed from Mrs. Poulteney for kissing a stable boy, which is seen as sacrilegious behavior according to Mrs. Poulteney. This chapter reveals how the upper classes attempted to repress women’s sexuality as well as reveals how women are used as commodities as is the case with Ernestina’s engagement. Her father uses Ernestina as a bargaining chip to gain social prominence. Ernestina knows what is expected of her yet attempts to find someone who she will at least find attractive and interesting. She deliberately sets out to lure Charles although he thinks that he came to her of his own volition. The power of economics and social status in Victorian society is displayed quite overtly. In return for the title, which Ernestina will acquire through her marriage to Charles, Charles will benefit economically. This quid pro quo arrangement benefits both parties. The marriage proposal is no different than a business contract in the Victorian age. At the same time, this mercenary exchange is vitiated by Charles’ growing need for a more substantive relationship with women. Knowing that his excursions to Europe for sexual satisfaction are less and less satisfying, Charles longs for a sexual partner as well as a companion.


Charles returns from Ware Commons and stops for a bowl of milk at “the Dairy.” While in conversation with the dairyman, he sees Sarah come out of the woods. The dairyman refers to her as “the French Loot’n’nt’s Hoer,” and Charles is incensed by this charge but quietly walks away. He goes after Sarah attempting to engage her in conversation and apologize for his actions. Sarah politely rebuffs him. When he visits Ernestina, he deliberately avoids telling her of his encounter with Sarah lest she misconstrues it. The narrator then digresses to explain the reasons why Ware Commons was treated as forbidden territory to young unescorted Victorian women. It was a private haven, a secluded retreat for all lovers. Mrs. Poulteney had based her opinions about the place on the rumors that were circulated rather than actually seeing what took place there. On hearing about Sarah’s new walking grounds, she promptly and rather severely reprimands Sarah and forbids her from ever walking there again. That very night, Sara stands by the window, crying. The author informs the reader that she was contemplating suicide but does not jump. Notes Chapter 12 reveals Charles’ own innocence and sexual inhibition. He is upset at the dairyman’s insensitive comment about Sarah but social conventions prevent him from defending her. His feelings towards Sarah are ambiguous at the moment. Although he is obviously physically attracted to her, he couches his feelings towards her as being that of respect and duty. He does not want to be like the others in town who have rebuffed her based on inconclusive evidence of her past behavior. Yet he feels guilty about these brief meetings and refrains from telling Ernestina about his meeting. Ernestina follows the predominant discourse about Sarah and divulging his meeting with her would make Ernestina question his motives, which are as yet unclear to Charles, although the reader can pick up that he finds her exciting. Here, the reader notes another typical Victorian masculine attitude towards women: what should and should not be told to Ernestina. Half- truths then become a protective device which shields women from fully knowing the truth and prevents them for exerting any influence on matters outside the household. Sarah and Ernestina are constantly juxtaposed as being dissimilar yet both act in a manner predetermined for them by the social and economic dictates of their culture. The narrator digresses to comment on the notorious reputation Ware Commons has gained for itself. Mrs. Poulteney makes her based assumptions on the rumors she has heard. To her the thick vegetation only served to cloak all kinds of wickedness that would endanger any moral soul. Her imagination runs wild but this may be due more to her intake of opium which conjures up fantastical images than to anything based in reality. In this respect, Fowles shows how often times those who criticize sexual transgressions are often the most prurient and hide their sexual depravity behind a cloak of piety. Sarah is unjustly reprimanded and forbidden to go there despite her being a mature …… Because of this oppression, she contemplates suicide, but the observer intrudes in to say that she does not do so. He notes that her sorrow is of the melancholic kind and not emotional.


Fowles makes an important digression in this chapter, commenting on his art as a novelist. He informs the reader the story is all a part of his imagination and that he admits he is writing in the Victorian convention as that is the age where his story is placed. He tries to examine the relationship between the creator and his creation and questions the autonomy of the characters and the conventions of writing in the Victorian age and the twentieth century. The author digresses onto the topic of Sarah as she continues to walk through Ware Commons heedless of Mrs. Poulteney’s warning. Notes In Chapter 13, the narrator quite violently disrupts the narrative to expound on his own theories of creativity and the writing process. By claiming that his story is entirely fictitious, he is bringing the reader into the mind of the creator to understand the workings of the creative mind. Disrupting the narrative flow makes the reader aware that these characters are indeed created and not real although they are autonomous individuals in themselves. He questions the conventions followed by Victorian novelists and their modern counterparts and explains why he deliberately chooses to write and adopt a Victorian tone in his novel. Being the author, he can be both observer and manipulator. Throughout the chapter, Fowles examines his style and method and provides an interesting inquiry into the long traditon of this kind of novel. He is making a link between his own creation and those that have come before. In using this particular genre, he is in a way exploring its storytelling capabilities and critiquing its conventions. Sometimes, he wants to tell the reader the entire story, yet prefers to let the story unfold by itself. He constantly questions his role as a novelist and tries to explain what he is doing yet reveals that he has the power to manipulate the reader and yet wants the reader to join him in seeing how a novel is constructed and what choices a writer makes and which ones are made for him by the characters themselves. He immediately jumps to the topic of Sarah who did not jump from the window out of choice. She still continues to secretly visit Ware Commons without Mrs. Poulteney’s knowledge. The chapter is an excellent example of digression and authorial intrusion which was a popular novelistic convention used widely in sixties’ literature. Often called “metafiction”, its aim is to make the structure and creation of the novel as important a feature as its storytelling capabilities by calling attention to itself.


Mrs. Tranter, Ernestina and Charles pay a visit to Mrs. Poulteney andCharles and his hostess do not exactly hit it off. He is bored by the formality of the occasion yet intrigued that Sarah is present at the meeting. She is generally ignored except by Mrs. Tranter, who attempts to draw her into the conversation. Charles is annoyed at his fiancée’s uncharacteristically rude behavior towards Sarah. When Mrs. Poultney complains of Mary’s flirtatious behavior, she and Charles disagree on the appropriate manner of courting. Throughout this exchange Sarah sits silent and aloof from the rest of the company. On hearing Mrs. Poulteney criticize Mary, Mrs. Tranter is quick to defend her maid only to be put down by Ernestina’s dry, hurtful remarks. Charles comes to Mrs. Tranter’s rescue and the argument leaves everyone feeling uncomfortable. Charles and Sarah share an empathetic look at this junction. The narrator moves to Mrs. Tranter’s kitchen where Sam and Mary are deep in conversation. Their relationship is in stark contrast to the shallow relationship of Charles and Ernestina. Notes Chapter 14 is a reflection of a typical Victorian soiree where such outings were always very ritualistic and formal. Charles is forcibly taken to visit Mrs. Poulteney and finds the entire affair stiff and boring. The meeting is one of tedious boredom, stiff formality and polite small talk, all aspects of his class that he would prefer to disregard. Charles and Mrs. Poulteney disagree on several topics and reveal how the orthodox Victorian values of Mrs. Poulteney jar with the relatively progressive ones of Charles. What is important in this exchange is how divided Charles and Ernestina are on the topic of courting and proper behavior. Whereas she comes off as prudish and offended by the more sexually uninhibited Mary, Charles and Mrs. Tranter defend her. Because of this difference in opinions, Charles becomes irritated with her and unseen by the other ladies, he and Sarah share a look of solidarity. Both of them feel out of place at such social gatherings and also disagree with the harsh indictments of Mary’s behavior. Ernestina senses that she has displeased Charles but she does not understand why. She tends to go with the predominant ideology of what is proper behavior for women while Sarah and Charles question it. The passage Fowles has selected from Jane Austin’s ‘persuasion’ aptly mirrors Charles’ own feelings about social gatherings. The chapter is reflective of the way Victorians of different classes viewed love. Sam and Mary’s relationship is much more refreshing than the stale artificiality seen in Mrs. Poulteney’s house. Sam and Mary have their own standards of morality. Respectability is not expected from them as they come from the lower classes. Yet, they are affected by trends in the standards of morality demanded by their society, though they are less conscious of rigidly adhering to them. Charles is confused by the double standards that he sees in society where women are chastised for any display of sexuality while men are encouraged. Sarah, who has dared to be different, has been ostracized. Although this bothers him, he rarely summons the guts to question the rigid conventions that bind women and allow him to act freely.


On reaching home, Ernestina immediately apologizes to Charles for her rude behavior. Charles is surprised at her quick change in mood and teases her as if she were a young child. He passes witty comments about Mrs. Poulteney and succeeds in making Ernestina erupt into uninhibited laughter. The author comments that this is a rare exchange these two Victorian people indulged in. In a moment of good humor, Ernestina gives Mary one of her old dresses. The next day, Charles teases Sam about his flirtatious behavior. He tells Sam that Mary is a kind hearted, gentle girl and warns him not to hurt her. If Sam’s intentions towards Mary were not honorable then he should leave immediately. Sam assures Charles that his intentions are definitely honorable. Pleased, Charles agrees to talk to Mrs. Tranter on Sam’s behalf. Notes In Chapter 15, the reader notes Ernestina’s change in attitude towards Charles. She defuses the tension between them by resorting to girlish tactics, those that originally won Charles over in the first place. Rather than stand by her opinion, she acts like a dutt to hurt her. If Sam’s intentions towards Mary were not honorable then he should leave immediately. Sam assures Charles that his intentions are definitely honorable. Pleased, Charles agrees to talk to Mrs. Tranter on Sam’s behalf. Notes In Chapter 15, the reader notes Ernestina’s change in attitude towards Charles. She defuses the tension between them by resorting to girlish tactics, those that originally won Charles over in the first place. Rather than stand by her opinion, she acts like a dutt to hurt her. If Sam’s intentions towards Mary were not honorable then he should leave immediately. Sam assures Charles that his intentions are definiteldifferent tones while speaking to people depending on who they are while this may appear as duplicitous it is in fact the way many people act


Five days have passed since their argument and Charles and Ernestina’s courtship is explained in detail. Its shallowness is more evident. Ernestina tries to make up for the disagreement between Charles and her by behaving as her gender role prescribes yet this dutiful wife act does not fool Charles. He finds her lacking in substance. The narrator then digresses to comment on the social status of women in the Victorian period. Ernestina reads a poem by Mrs. Caroline Norton to Charles who merely mocks the poetess’ efforts. The feminine emancipation was in full force. But Ernestina, like most other women, laughed at the efforts of men like Disraeli, who tried to uplift the status of women in Victorian England. The narrator shifts his attention to Charles, who is walking on Ware Commons. He encounters Sarah and attempts to talk to her. He tries to convince her to accept Mrs. Tranter’s offer of help and to resign from Mrs. Poulteney’s services. Sarah is touched by his concern. Charles stoutly denies the truth of the rumors. Sarah shocks Charles by confessing that she is not waiting for her Frenchman as she is well aware that he is already married. She leaves Charles feeling totally bewildered and curious about her continued sorrow. Notes In Chapter 16, the more domestic aspects of Charles and Ernestina’s courtship is revealed. Ernestina acts like a coy, dutiful wife in order to make up for the argument she had with Charles. Her change in mood surprises Charles because it does not seem like her. Ernestina is unconsciously showing sign of her shallowness and her upbringing. The narrator then digresses to comment on the social status of woman in the Victorian period. The feminist movement was being ushered in at the time and women such as Sarah who better understood better their own pathetic conditions fought for their rights. Women, like Ernestina, were complacent about the issue and laughed at these women’s efforts. Because of her closed and secure life, Ernestina is unaware of the implications of this rebellion, and laughs with Charles at these lame attempts. She is like most other Victorian women socially conditioned to believe that her duties are restricted to being a wife and mother. Sarah on the other hand does not have the economic security that Ernestina does; therefore, she can sympathize with the attempts of these women to right the disparity between the sexes. Her precarious position has made her a victim of a society that privileges men and money. Fowles deliberately gives the reader this comparison to illustrate the differences in the two women despite them both being Victorian. Sarah is touched when she realizes that Charles genuinely cares for her well being. She confesses that she is not waiting for Varguennes and this shocks Charles. He is unable to understand her motives for living in Lyme where she is being ostracized by society. Her strangeness and dark intense personality hypnotizes him and he finds her sexually inviting, especially her mouth. At this juncture Charles is unwilling to admit his attraction for Sarah yet the reader can see that his forays into Ware Commons is more enticing now that he knows she may be there. Because his life is staid, he is inclined towards the strange and unusual. Sarah fits this description.


Charles attends a concert with Mrs. Tranter and his fiancée at the Lyme Assembly Rooms. The narrator digresses briefly to give a historical account of the Assembly Rooms. Charles finds it difficult to concentrate on the concert. Thoughts of Sarah distract him constantly. He mentally compares Ernestina and Sarah, and finds the former rather shallow and more like a stranger to him. At the same time, he realizes his growing attraction to Sarah. His conventional upbringing prevents him from acknowledging his feelings for her, so he feels guilt instead. The narrator shifts his focus to Sam Farrow and his love interest, Mary. Like his master, Sam too is pondering over his life. Like Charles, Sam sees himself as a cynic. So when he does meet Mary, her innocence is like a whiff of fresh air. Sam is ambitious and he knows Mary will be supportive of his future plans. Both are in love with one another and want to marry. Notes In Chapter 17, the reader note that Charles is becoming more and more aware of his real relationship with Ernestina, which on the surface is supposed to be about love and respect yet there is an underlying difference in the way they view the world. She does not understand him, and he cannot relate to her. Her attitude at the concert reveals her as being socially competent but lacking in depth. Now that he has met Sarah, he cannot help comparing the two women although this is quite unfair considering the different backgrounds both women have come from. He is attracted to Sarah’s dark intensity as well as her overt sexuality. Ernestina is artless and callow compared to her. Because of his conventional upbringing, he feels guilty for even harboring thoughts of Sarah. Charles’ attraction, it must be noted, is slowly growing into an obsession. He builds an idealistic aura around the woman he thinks to be Sarah and will later have a difficult time accepting the real Sarah. The narrator then shifts his attention to Sam Farrow who is ambitions and wants to climb the social ladder very quickly. His experiences in London and the world make him a bit pretentious and he likes to think of himself as worldly-wise. Mary would make the perfect mate for Sam as she is full of life and spontaneous where he is cynical. Her innocent charm beguiles Sam. Earlier Sam thought of her as being uncouth and provincial but he sees beyond her outward appearance and falls in love with her. Their love is more meaningful than the one Charles and Ernestina supposedly have and is not bound by an economic contract.


Two days later Charles is again trekking over Ware Commons with his tools hunting for fossils. Thoughts of Sarah continue to obsess his mind. Her dark intense self is impinged on his memory. When he suddenly comes upon her, she hands him two fossil specimens, then asks for help. Charles is a little shocked at her forwardness. He suggests she take up Mrs. Tranter’s offer of help. He advises her to leave Lyme Regis and go to London where she could find better jobs with her educational qualifications. Sarah brushes aside the suggestion and hints that she may end up in a prostitute’s brothel. She wants to tell Charles her story and pleads that he meet her at a later date. At first, he refuses on the grounds that it would be socially improper for them to be seen together then he reluctantly agrees to meet her. Yet, he is left feeling uneasy about the situation, as he knows that such behavior is socially forbidden for someone in his position. Notes In Chapter 18, not only is Charles growing obsession with Sarah delved into more explicitly but Sarah’s interest in him begins to take shape. It is easy to understand Charles’ attraction for anything that is uniquely different from the mundane objects he comes across in his life and Sarah represents many taboos: mystery, sexuality, independence. She is intensely vivid as compared to the coy, docile women in Victorian England. He is drawn to Sarah yet conventions prevent him from giving in to his desire. He knows that being an engaged man he should not be associating himself with women who have tarnished reputations. When Sarah tells him that she wants him to know her story, he is surprised and flattered but does not understand her reasons. Sarah wants his understanding, not his pity. She intuitively senses that he is not judgmental like most Victorian men and recognizes Charles’ sensitive soul. Charles, of course, is bewildered by her behavior. When she asks him to meet her in private, he acts alarmed, almost offended by her forwardness and lack of social mores. Thus, the reader sees his double-standard attitudes. One minute he wants to defy convention but the next minute he does not dare go against what society deems proper behavior. With Sarah, he adopts a kind of formality in his speech, which is pinched and restrained. He attempts to treat their relationship as one of pity rather than seduction and uses moral grounds as the reasoning behind his concession to her pleas. The author digresses at a particular juncture to inform the reader that Victorian women never contradicted their men. Men supposedly said and did the right thing and it was not the woman’s place to go against a man’s word. Despite his better thinking, Charles agrees to meet Sarah. He is both excited as he is entering into the socially “forbidden” world, yet ashamed and guilty for going against convention. Charles may proclaim to be different yet he identifies with the prevailing Victorian ideology of what is correct and incorrect behavior. Charles’ motives for helping Sarah are not entirely altruistic, which is evident from his ambivalence.


Charles and Ernestina host a dinner party that night for Aunt Tranter and Dr. Grogan. The narrator introduces the doctor as being of Irish origins and the resident doctor of Lyme Regis. He knows the temperaments of each and every patient of Lyme, Mrs. Poulteney’s in particular, and can handle them accordingly. He is an extremely intelligent and witty man, and a good friend of Aunt Tranter. In his company Aunt Tranter is very relaxed and laughs at his jokes uncontrollably. Her behavior shocks Ernestina. Charles is now alert to her constantly swinging moods and wishes she could be her normal self. After dinner Dr. Grogan invites Charles over for a drink. They discuss several intellectual topics and discover that they have a shared interest in science and Darwin’s theory in particular. While on the topic of science, Charles shrewdly drops Sarah’s name and asks the doctor his opinion of her. Dr. Grogan admits that he had attended her on one occasion and had diagnosed ‘melancholia,’ a disorder which prevents her from taking any action to improve her situation. The two men discuss her case and wonder at her reasons for staying on in Lyme. Dr. Grogan theorizes that Sarah probably enjoys being treated like an outcast and indulging in self-pity. She deliberately continues to stay on at Lyme when there is no reason to do so. Charles feels he can now understand Sarah better and decides to help her out, their discussion justifying his need to help her. The narrator swiftly shifts his line of narration to Sarah and Milly, Mrs. Poulteney’s maid. The young maid is afraid of the dark and sleeps with Sarah at night. The narrator cautions the reader not to look deeper into their relationship as lesbianism was an unheard of topic in the Victorian age. Sarah is merely comforting the sick girl as she empathizes with Milly’s hard life, having undergone it herself. The narrator shifts back to Dr. Grogan and Charles who are immersed in a discussion on Darwin. Fowles deliberately digresses in order to show the reader that no one, neither Dr. Grogan nor Charles nor any modern psychologist, can decipher Sarah. She is incomprehensible. Notes In chapter 19, the reader is introduced to Dr. Grogan, the doctor of Lyme. Ernestina’s aunt and Dr. Grogan share a friendly uninhibited relationship. They are relaxed in each other’s company and speak frankly. Ernestina who has been brought up in a rigid atmosphere is shocked at Aunt Tranter’s uninhibited laughter. Charles realizes that all this time, she was merely pretending to be jolly. Her artifice puts him off and he wonders if she will always be this way. The reader must realize that Ernestina is a product of her age. She does not dare to defy convention even when she is tempted. By doing so, she would jeopardize herself and her position in society as well as her chances to marry well. Dr. Grogan, and Charles discussion of Sarah’s condition is representative of the Victorian need to classify and define all phenomenon. They attempt to understand and rationalize Sarah’s behavior and attempt to solve her problems. This is ironic since what Sarah suffers from is a malaise that transcends traditional diagnoses, therefore it can only be defined as madness. Their discussion of Sarah’s woes relieve Charles of his guilt as he realizes somewhat vainly that he really can help her. Little does he know that Sarah willfully chooses to act as she does rather than being the victim of a mental illness. However, at the time, any woman who showed even a little sign of rebellion from the standard moral code was termed as mad or insane. Society was very rigid and Fowles is aiming his criticism at this very society as well as the men who appear well intentioned but are only contributing to the inferior and powerless position of women. Moving his narration to Sarah and Millie, who are sharing the same bed, Fowles is comparing the two pairs of friends and their interactions with each other. Sarah and Millie’s relationship is based on common experience and empathy whereas the two rationalists’ discussion centers around solutions and diagnoses. The narrator then comments on Darwinism as well as lesbianism, both of which fail to explain the motives behind Sarah’s behavior. That she defies categorization is one of the reasons she is so deplored by the people of Lyme Regis. Despite their attempts at determining her problems, she remains an enigma to Dr. Grogan and Charles as well as to any modern psychologist.


Charles and Sarah meet in Ware Commons as planned earlier. She hands him another fossil and leads him to a secluded dell where she reveals the real details of her story. Varguennes was the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Since she could speak French, she was given the job of tending to the injured sailor. The Frenchman charmed and beguiled his way into Sarah’s heart. After leaving the Talbot residence, he asked Sarah to meet him. Assuming that he was going to marry her, Sarah resigned from her post and followed him to Weymouth. Charles tries to understand her motives and feels such behavior is to be expected from one who has very little social options. Sarah goes on to reveal that she deliberately chose to sleep with Varguennes, not because she felt any love or physical craving for him but because she wanted to be different from the women around her. Society would ostracize her but she wanted them to so that she could be a symbol of suffering for all women like her who defied convention. Charles cannot understand her bizarre behavior. He tries to justify it but fails yet he realizes he is attracted to this strange women. Notes In Chapter 20, Sarah’s true story about her affair with the shipwrecked sailor is revealed. She tells her story to Charles who cannot fathom why she has chosen him as her confidant. He is bewildered when Sarah says that she was aware of Varguennes’ underhanded motives for calling her but deliberately chose to sleep with him. She wanted to be different from other Victorian women and chose to defy societal mores. She wanted to be ostracized by society in a total act of defiance that would place her against the grain of the dominant culture. Sarah’s act of defiance is unfathomable to Charles who feels he cannot understand her bizarre desire for societal attention or rejection, as is the case. However, the story mystifies him further and adds to the aura of mystery and romanticism surrounding her. Fowles has quoted a passage from William Manchester’s The Death of President Kennedy that is a twentieth century work but is reflective of Sarah’s attitude to her ‘sin.’ She wants the world to know that she has “sinned.”

PLOT (Style & Structure)

By recreating a nineteenth century literary genre, John Fowles is doing much more than simply parodying it. In its capacity to recreate and redefine an older fictional life, The French Lieutenant’s Women acts as a key to understanding the best of contemporary British novelists whose relations with Victorian fiction and culture, although less conspicuous than here, are often equally intimate and complex. The novel recreates an older sort of realism to serve the old purpose of studying society. Fowles is interested in cultural continuity, in how our social conditions evolved. He deliberately works within the tradition of the Victorian novel and consciously uses its conventions to suit his own purpose. At the same time, the reader is made aware of Fowles’ intentions through his authorial intrusions. When the reader is first introduced to Charles and Ernestina, their relationship is typical of those found in Victorian romantic novels. Being Victorian and at least middle class, they both are bound to each other by their sense of duty and propriety. Their engagement is more or less contractual in nature. Ernestina will gain the title of Baroness through her marriage with Charles, and he in turn will get her money. Charles is bored with his age’s repressive conventions. Paleontology is merely a hobby to keep himself occupied. He reads scientific thesis, as he prefers to think of himself as a scientifically aware individual who is quite unlike his Victorian contemporaries. Charles, though, does not realize that he is no different from other Victorian men. He often desires to shrug of his age’s burdensome conventions but rarely motivates himself to break the norm. Both Ernestina and Charles are bound to the conventions of their age. Ernestina, despite being educated and smart, is desperate to conform to the norm. She wants to be a good wife to Charles as this is what society expects of her. She has been socially conditioned, like most Victorians, to act in a proper manner. Charles is indulgent and patronizing of her. Charles treats his fiancée the way most Victorian men usually did. Their women, like their children, were supposed to be seen not heard. When Charles meets Sarah, he feels uncomfortable with her direct and honest manner. She is quite unlike other Victorian women. To Charles this is a novelty, and he becomes obsessed with her. Sarah refuses to let him accept his unquestioning view of life. While trying to respond to her, he is aware of the hollowness of his own conventional responses. Sarah acts as his mentor. She makes him view life from a different perspective. It is because of her that he realizes he has the strength to give up his earlier stable conventional life and to look within himself for direction. Towards the end of the novel, Charles has emerged stronger. He does feel alienate and bitter as he no longer has any illusions to keep him going but he is a changed man. He realizes what every human being at some point in his or her life realizes, that one has to go through certain circumstances in life in order to be able to grow.

Minor Characters

Mary and Millie They are domestic servants. Mary works at Aunt Tranter’s and Millie at Mrs. Poulteney’s. Mary is a bright, vivacious young girl who is treated very well by her mistress. While in Mrs. Poulteney’s service, she is given a hard time and then dismissed for a petty reason. Aunt Tranter, on the other hand, treats her like a human being. Mary is in love with Sam Farrow. She is impressed by his urban ways and dreams of being rich someday. Coming from the lower classes, she is very down-to-earth in her approach to life. Millie, who is in Mrs. Poulteney’s service, is treated badly. She is overworked by Mrs. Fairley and paid very low wages. Coming from the lower classes, she has had a very hard life. Her family is large, and poverty-stricken. Sarah sympathizes with the young child as she too has had a hard life. She befriends Millie and comforts her. The lives of the two domestics are strikingly different. Mrs. Poulteney is harsh and cruel with her staff, whereas Aunt Tranter is adored and respected for her kindness by her staff. Gabriel and Christina Rossetti They are the founders of a school of art popularly known today as the pre-Raphaelite school. Charles finally manages to find Sarah in their employ. She is Mr. Rossetti’s assistant and model. She is comfortable in their home because for the first time in her life, she is surrounded by like-minded people who are her intellectual equal. Charles is shocked by her unconventional image and realizes the influence behind the change. The Rossetti’s had shaken the conventional foundations of English society with their unconventional works. They paved the way for a new breed of writers and artists, who changed the cultural scene of England with their revolutionary works.


Sarah Woodruff From the very beginning, she has been introduced as the French Lieutenant’s Woman. Being the scarlet woman of Lyme, she has been ostracized by the entire community. Charles learns of her through the rumors that abound about her. To him, she presents a picture of dark intrigue and mystery. In fact, her portrayal is supposed to match the mold of the dark, mysterious woman of the typical Victorian romantic novel. Such a character type either played the heroine or the villain but always stood as a symbol of all that was forbidden. Charles paints his own idealistic picture of her and his attraction for Sarah stems mainly from the aura of strangeness that the local rumors have built around her as well as his own imaginings. Sarah’s “strangeness” should be considered in the light of the Victorian era. She is very different from her Victorian counterparts in dress, behavior and attitude. Her unconventional attitude makes her stand out from the conventional community of Lyme. She deliberately chooses to defy convention as she dares to do the forbidden. She is ostracized for having had an affair with a French sailor and is an object of interest to Dr. Grogan who passes off her condition as melancholia. He believes that Sarah deliberately craves attention. To Charles she is an object of desire and obsession. He is too much in love with the idealistic Sarah than the real Sarah. It is for this reason that he finds it difficult to accept Sarah as being a person who is independent of other people’s perception of her as she is at the end. While in Lyme, Sarah had been condemned for what was perceived as her strange attitude. But in London, where economic and social change is occurring, Sarah is welcomed for the person she is. She is more comfortable in London with the Rossettis as she now meets like-minded intellectuals and artists. Her life has undergone a thorough change. She may be seen as one of the few women who consider herself to be liberated. As has been observed in the novel, Sarah does not go through any major change in the novel as she has already reached an awareness that she must go beyond the definition of her individuality that society has imposed upon her. Having been forced to go through an intolerable situation, she was better able to see through it and beyond it in order to find meaning and some sort of happiness in her life. Her choice in that role of the outcast may be seen as a desperate attempt on her part to establish a life within the norms of Victorian society. She falls in love with Charles and through his interaction with her, he learns how to begin to disentangle himself from the conventions that hold him a prisoner. Fowles has ingeniously taken her traditional romantic character of a mysterious woman and transformed her into a human being.

THEMES Major Theme

The Victorian world was not as stable and solid as it seemed. It was a period of transition and change. Old social norms were no longer applicable to the changing order. Thomas Hardy, the novelist, and poets like Matthew Arnold and Alfred Lord Tennyson were sensitive enough to feel this change and raise their doubts about the so-called ‘stability’ proclaimed by prominent leaders of the era. Fowles has picked up this theme and used it in the novel. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is deliberately written in the literary genre of the nineteenth century as it enables Fowles to explore this theme further. Also, it enables Fowles to test the conditions of fiction but within the world of the Victorian novel, with its solid narrative comforts. This novel allows one to understand the best of contemporary British novelists, whose relations with Victorian fiction and culture are often equally intimate and complex. Thus, Fowles is able to explore the relationship between life and art. An artist is expected to be aloof from his creation. T. S. Eliot insisted on non-personal involvement between the writer and his creation. Fowles is attempting to understand this relationship, as he himself is an artist. Also, the theme of an individual desiring his selfhood is explored. Charles has to give up an entire way of life in order to achieve selfhood. With all his illusions shattered he has to learn to cope with his isolation. He is left feeling bitter and alienated, but he is a more aware human being. It is this awareness that will help him to survive in the world alone. By rejecting conventional attitudes and loving Sarah, regardless of the social consequences, he has discovered a strength that he did not possess before. Minor Theme Fowles shrewdly focuses his attention on the unknown aspects of the Victorian period, aspects that would surprise the modern day reader, as they are quite contrary to what is known about the Golden Age. Fowles is a sensitive man as can be seen in his handling of sensitive topics like the treatment of women, for instance. Women were supposed to be seen, not heard. The patriarchal society expected her to act like a proper Victorian lady. She was expected to be loyal to her husband and stay with the children at home. Any woman who deviated from this norm was termed as “mad” or insane. Premarital sex was taboo. The only occupations open to women were those of a governess or a prostitute. Prostitution was a trade which flourished during Victorian era but was rarely talked about. The servant classes and the working classes were an economically and socially oppressed group who were exploited for their labor. However, the rise of industry loosened up the social hierarchy and allowed those from the lower classes to strike out on their own and achieve some financial comfort. The growing middle classes now occupied the middle rungs of the social hierarchical ladder. Industrialization was setting in. Nobility was being replaced by the capitalist class. The laborers continued to be exploited. Hence Fowles chose to use extracts from Karl Marx’s Kapital (1867) to illustrate his concern for these people. The existence of God was a debatable issue in the Age of Reason and Rationality. Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) created an uproar within conventional society and greatly influenced people’s thinking as it called into question the assumption that God created the world and promulgated an evolutionary theory of the physical properties of the universe.


The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author’s life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author. In this set of PinkMonkey® Literature Notes for a well-known piece of literature, we at PinkMonkey.com have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours. So is the interpretation of your teacher or professor. Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these PinkMonkey® Literature Notes will help you to accomplish that goal.


1. Compare the characters of Sarah and Ernestina and the roles they play within Victorian society. How are their actions and behaviors influenced or affected by Victorian attitudes towards women? How do their varied social and economic status affect their experiences? Explain.

2. Compare several members of the working class with those of their employers. What are their differences in social attitudes towards courting, work or professions, success, and marriage?

3. Discuss Charles as a Victorian gentleman trying to conform to Victorian norms yet aiming to break free from them. Discuss how he avoids realizing who he is. What function do Sarah and paleontology play in his life?

4. Examine Charles’ attitude towards women. Does he idealize some women while exploiting others? Explain.

5. Fowles gives the novel two conclusions. Why? Analysis what each of the endings signifies in terms of the genre of the romance and Fowles’ recreation of it.

6. How does Charles change by his romance with Sarah? Is this change for the better or for the worse? Explain.

7. Sarah allows herself to be ostracized as the French Lieutenant’s Woman despite the rumor not being true. Why is this? What grounds did she have for doing so?

8. How is this novel similar to a popular romance or a gothic novel, either of the nineteenth century or the present. Explain how Fowles uses the convention inherent in these novels and yet also changes them to suit the present age?
9. Do the many quotations from poems and allusions to literary works throw any light on your understanding of either the novel or Victorian attitudes towards life?

10. Fowles tries to explicate about the novel as an art form. What relationship does he draw between the creation and the creator?

11. What objections does Fowles, the narrator, have towards the Victorians and the values they privileged?

12. Can this novel be compared to any other works of the nineteenth century written by someone like Thomas Hardy, a George Eliot, or a Charles Dickens?


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John Rossiter’s Wife – John Rossiter’ın Karısı – Charles G. Norris (ingilizce-türkçe özeti)

John Rossiter’s Wife
Charles G. Norris

The most fascinating place in the United States is Palm Beach and the most interesting spot in Palm Beach is “Whitney’s.” The name isn’t Whitney’s at all, but anyone who has ever been to Palm Beach will know the establishment to which I refer.
Whitney’s is a restaurant and a gambling place, and sooner or later everybody who comes to Palm Beach visits Whitney’s.
There is no restaurant or hotel in France, Italy, Germany, or Spain whose food can compare with Whitney’s. At Whitney’s there are no menus; you order what you wish from an endless variety of special foods, anything from duck soup to bird’s tongues – and the surprising fact is that you get what you order. But on your first visit to Whitney’s you often pay little attention to what you eat, for very soon, as the room commences to fill, you can hardly believe your eyes. At every table you soon recognize someone who is either famous or notorious.
After lunch this brilliantly dressed group of persons goes down to the gambling room. By two o’clock this room is well filled, by three it is crowded, and it remains so until early hours of the morning. It’s far more interesting and better conducted than Monte Carlo. I was deeply impressed, and soon I welcomed an opportunity to meet Mr. Whitney himself.
We found him in a small, businesslike office hardly large enough to hold the big old-fashioned roll-top desk and a chair or two. Perhaps there was a safe; I can’t remember. The office was protected by some iron bars, and there was a uniformed attendant at the door who admitted us after Mr. Whitney had given the word he would see us.
I found him a man square of jaw, cold of eye, his face rather unexpressive – much what I expected.

John Rossiter’in Karısı
Charles G. Norris

Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nin en büyüleyici yeri Palm Sahili, Palm Sahili’nin en iliginç köşesi de Whitney’in Yeri’dir. Gerçekteki ismi elbetteki bu değil ama, Palm Sahili’ne gelen herkes kastettiğim bu yeri bilir.
Whitney’in Yeri bir restoran, aynı zamanda da bir kumar merkezidir. Palm Sahili’ne gelen herkes er ya da geç burayı mutlaka ziyaret eder.
Fransa, İtalya, Almanya ve İspanya’daki hiç bir otel veya restoranın yaptığı yemekler Whitney’in Yeri’ndekilerle boy ölçüşemez. Whitney’in Yeri’nde menü yoktur, siz sadece ördek çorbasından kuş diline kadar her ne istiyorsanız siparişini veriyorsunuz ve siparişiniz kısa sürede yerine getiriliyor. Ama Whitney’in Yeri’ni ilk ziyaretinizde ne ne yediğinize fazla önem vermezsiniz. Çünkü restoran dolmaya başlayınca gözlerinize inanamazsınız. Her masada ya bir ünlü ya da kötü şöhretli birini görebilirsiniz.
Öğle yemeğinden sonra bu şık giyimli insanlar aşağı kata kumar odasına inerler. Saat iki gibi oda epeyce dolu bir hal alır. Saat üçte iyice kalabalıklaşır ve sabaha kadar bu kalabalık hiç eksilmez. Monte Carlo’ya göre daha ilgi çekici ve daha iyi yönetilen bir yerdir. Ben de bu özelliklerinden çok etkilendim ve çok geçmeden restoran sahibi Bay Whitney ile bizzat tanışma fırsatı da buldum.
Bay Whitney’i içine büyük bir antika yazı masası ve bir veya iki sandalye alabilecek genişlikteki küçük bir ofiste bulduk. Odada tam olarak hatırlayamıyorum ama muhtemelen bir de çelik kasa vardı. Oda demir çubuklarla korunuyordu ve kapıda, Bay Whitney’in görüşmeyi kabul etmesi üzerine bizi içeri davet eden üniformalı bir görevli vardı.
Bay Whitney umduğum gibi birisiydi. Oval çeneli, soğuk bakışlı ve nispeten anlamsız bir yüzü olan bir adamdı.

He runs his gambling place as a business – and it is a matter of pride with him that it is conducted in an efficient, businesslike way. It is said that his profits are two million dollars a season, and I doubt this just as one doubts the salaries of motion picture stars.
However the man had a strong personality. He interested me. I liked him. I wanted to talk to him, but it was difficult. He was not a very communicative person. Soon I asked him how much he lost a season in the way of bad checks and bad debts. He said approximately two hundred thousand dollars, which he didn’t seem to consider heavy. As he spoke of this a light came into his eyes, and a faint smile appeared on his lips.
“I had a rather interesting experience the other day,” he said. “I was sitting in my office one morning when word was brought to me that a lady wanted to see me; ‘Mrs. John Rossiter,’ the man told me. I knew who John Rossiter was, so I told him to show her in.
“Before she said a word she began to cry, not bitterly; but tears came into her eyes and began to run down her cheeks, and she kept wiping them away with her handkerchief, trying all the time to control herself. I don’t like that sort of thing, you know, and I usually avoid it, but this rather impressed me. I felt sorry for her before she opened her mouth.
“Her husband had been gambling, she told me, and on Wednesday – the day before – had lost thirty thousand dollars. I’ve been acquainted with John Rossiter off and on for five or six years. Every year he has been coming down here, and I’ve known him well enough to say ‘Hello,’ but not much more intimately than that. At any rate, I’ve always had a good feeling about Rossiter. He was a clean-cut man, a good sport, well liked, belonged to a club, and was rather popular everywhere. I had seen him year after year here, but I hadn’t an idea of how he played or what he won or lost.

Kumarhanesini bir işyeri edasıyla yönetiyordu ve bu etkili ve işyeri benzeri yönetim de onun için bir gurur kaynağıydı. Sezon başına karının iki milyon dolar olduğu söyleniyordu ama nasıl birisi Hollywood artistlerinin maaşına inanmazsa ben de buna inanmıyordum.
Yine de adam güçlü bir şahsiyete sahipti. Benim de ilgimi çekti, ondan hoşlandım. Onunla konuşmak istedim ama iletişim kurmak konusunda pek istekli birisi değildi. Sonunda bir sezonda ödenmeyen çekler ve borçlardan dolayı ne kadar kaybettiğini sordum. Kendisi için çok olmadığını belli edecek bir tavırla hemen hemen iki yüz bin dolar kaybettiğini söyledi. Bunu söylerken gözleri parladı ve dudaklarında zayıf bir gülüş belirdi.
“Önceki gün oldukça ilginç bir deneyim yaşadım” dedi. Sa-bah ofisimde otururken hizmetkar, bir bayanın benimle görüşmek istediğini, isminin de Bayan John Rossiter olduğunu söyledi. John Rossiter’i tanıdığım için eşiyle görüşmeyi kabul ettim.
Bayan içeri girer girmez daha ağzını açmadan ağlamaya başladı ama şiddetli değil. Gözleri yaş doldu ve yanaklarından süzülmeye başladı. Kendini kontrol etmeye çalıştı. Gözlerinden yanaklarına süzülen yaşları mendiliyle silmeye çalışıyordu. Bu tür olaylardan aslında pek hoşlanmam, hatta kaçınırım ama bu durum beni oldukça etkiledi. Daha ağzından bir tek söz çıkmamasına rağmen onun için üzüntü duydum.
Kocasının bir gün önce – Çarşamba günü – kumarda otuz bin dolar kaybettiğini söyledi. Bay Rossiter’i beş, altı yıldır tanıyorum. Her yıl belli zamanlarda buraya gelir ve ben karşılaştığımızda bir merhaba diyecek kadar onu tanırdım ama daha fazla bir samimiyetimiz yoktu. Yine de onun hakkındaki görüşlerim hep olumlu yönde olmuştu. Bakımlı, atletik, iyi bir kulube mensup, nispeten her yerde popüler bir adamdı. Onu yıllardır burada görmeme rağmen nasıl kumar oynadığı veya ne kazanıp, ne kaybettiği hakkında hiç bir fikrim ve bilgim yoktu.

He had an account with me and always paid very promptly at the end of the month if there was any paying to be done.
“Mrs. Rossiter explained that the great problem of her life had been her husband’s gambling. She had begged him to keep away from the stock market and from cards, and he’d promise her that he’d stop, but then he’d slip and get caught again. The thirty thousand dollars he had lost on Wednesday about cleaned him and his wife out. It meant – oh, I’ve forgotten what she told me exactly: selling the home – it was mortgaged already, she said, taking the two girls out of the school, herself perhaps having to find a position. It was a long story, I don’t remember the details, but I confess that I felt very sorry for her. Taking those two girls out of school was what I believe impressed me, I don’t know why exactly. Well, at any rate, I told her that I didn’t like the idea of anybody coming here and losing everything. Sentiment, if you like, but it’s good business at the same time. It doesn’t help an establishment like this to get a reputation that people can loose everything they have here. The result of it all was that I agreed to give her back the money which her husband had lost, but on one condition, and I made that point very clear: John Rossiter was never to enter my place again. I don’t like that kind of a loser around here. If he hasn’t got the money, he shouldn’t play. She promised me with the tears running down her cheeks, and I gave her the money, and she made me feel like a damn fool by kissing both my hands and asking God to bless me – all that foolishness that a grateful woman feels she has to do when you do her a favor.

Benim yerimde bir hesabı vardı ve ay sonunda, eğer ödenmesi gereken borcu varsa vakit geçirmeden öderdi.
Bayan Rossiter, hayatındaki en büyük problemin kocasının kumar oynaması olduğundan bahsetti. Kocasına borsa ve oyun kağıtlarından uzak durması için yalvardığını, onun da bu kötü alışkanlıklarına bir son vereceğine dair söz verdiğini, ama sonra kaçıp bu illete yakalandığını söyledi. Çarşamba günü kaybettiği otuz bin doların kendilerini çok kötü durumda bırakmış. Yani, tam olarak şöyle demişti: O anda ipotek altında olan evlerini satmışlar, iki kızlarını okuldan almışlar ve kendi de bir iş bulacakmış. Oldukça uzun bir hikaye idi ve ayrıntıları tam olarak hatırlayamıyorum, ama itiraf etmeliyim ki onun adına fazlasıyla üzüntü duydum. Beni asıl etkileyen konu, sanırım iki kızını okuldan almak zorunda kalması oldu. Sebebini de tam olarak bilmiyorum ama yine de ona, insanların buraya gelip her şeylerini kaybetmelerinin hoşuma gitmediğini, duygusallığı bir kenara bırakırsak, aynı zamanda bunun iyi de bir iş olduğunu söyledim. Ancak buraya gelen insanların her şeylerini kaybettiği şeklindeki bir şöhretin, bu tipte bir iş yerine hiç de fayda sağlamayacağı açıktı. Sonuçta, bir şartla, ona kocasının kaybettiği otuz bin doları geri vermeye karar verdim ve bunu da açıkça ifade ettim. “John Rossiter bir daha benim yerime gelmeyecekti.” Buralarda bu şekilde sürekli kaybeden kişilerin bulunmasından hoşlanmadığımı söyledim. Parası yoksa oynamamalı. Gözü yaşlı kadın bana söz verdi. Parayı ona verince, kendimi aptal gibi hissetmeme yol açacak şekilde, iki elime birden sarıldı ve öpmeye, benim için dualar etmeye başladı. Bütün bunlar minnettar bir kadının kendisine yapılan bir iyiliğe karşı olan duygularının ifadesiydi.

“I didn’t think anything more about the affair until the very next afternoon when it was clearly brought back to my mind. My floor manager came to me ant told me that John Rossiter has just come in, and had gone to the gambling room, and was playing at one of the tables. As a rule, I never mix in with what happens outside, but this made me pretty mad, so I walked out there myself.”

“I went straight up to him and said: ‘May I speak to you a minute?’ And when we were off in a corner away from the crowd, I asked him what he meant by coming into my place .”
“’I want to know what this means,’ I demanded. ‘Your wife came to see me yesterday morning and told me about your troubles and about your losing thirty thousand dollars here on Wednesday, and I gave her back the money you’d lost on one condition and that was that you were never to enter my door again. Now, what do you mean by coming here?’”
Rossiter looked at me for a moment. Then he said:
“Why Mr. Whitney, there must be some mistake. I’m not married!”

Ertesi gün öğleden sonra, tekrar hatırıma gelinceye kadar bu olay hakkında hiç bir şey düşünmedim. Kat görevlisi bana geldi ve John Rossiter’in restorana geldiğini, kumar bölümüne gittiğini ve bir masada kumar oynadığını söyledi. Genel kural olarak, asla dışarıda olup bitenlerle ilgilenmem, ama bu durum beni oldukça sinirlendirdi. Dolayısıyla oraya doğru yürümeye başladım.

Doğruca ona doğru yaklaştım ve “Bir dakika konuşabilir miyiz?” dedim. Gözden uzak bir köşeye gittiğimizde; “Buraya gelmekle ne ima etmeye çalışıyorsunuz?” dedim.
Bütün bunların ne anlama geldiğini öğrenmek istediğimi söyledim. “Karınız dün sabah beni görmeye geldi ve sorunlarınızdan ve çarşamba günü kaybettiğiniz otuz bin dolardan bahsetti. Ben de bir şartla parayı geri vereceğimi, şartımın da sizin bir daha buraya adımınızı atmamanız olduğunu söyledim.” “Şimdi buraya gelmekle ne demek istiyorsunuz?” dedim.
Rossiter bir müddet sessizce yüzüme baktı ve sonunda:
“Neden, Bay Whitney? Sanırım bir hata olmuş. Ben evli değilim ki!” dedi…

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Julius Caesar [Sezar]

Julius Caesar Plot Summary

The play opens with Flavius and Murelles angrily deriding the people of Rome for celebrating the victories of Caesar over a man who they once cheered equally. Caesar has returned to the city in Triumph over Pompey and as his retinue parades through the city, he receives a warning from a Soothsayer warning him to “beware the Ides of March”. He ignores the man though and proceeds to celebrate.

Cassius and Brutus discuss the nature of things with Cassius telling Brutus how well received he is. The two go on to discuss their fear that Caesar might be given the crown and become King of Rome. Cassius relates his unwillingness to bow to a man he finds inferior, recounting instances in which Caesar showed great weakness. Caesar however reveals his own distrust for Cassius as a man who thinks too much.

Casca arrives and reveals that Caesar was offered the crown three times and that he refused it each time. He also relates the seizure Caesar had before the crowd, showing weakness and that the crowd cheered him on regardless. Brutus returns home to contemplate where his loyalties might lay while Cassius begins to plot how he will turn Brutus against Caesar.

That night Brutus finds letters from Roman citizens that Cassius has forged declaring Caesar as too powerful. Brutus’s fear of a dictator-led Republic, instilled by Cassius, forces him to change allegiances and when Cassius arrives with the conspirators against Caesar, Brutus takes charge. They all agree to lure Caesar away and kill him and though Cassius wants Antony dead, Brutus disagrees. When the conspirators leave, Brutus refuses to tell his wife, Portia, any of what has happened.

The next day, Caesar prepares to go to the Capitol. His wife, Calpurnia, begs him not to, describing nightmares and the many omens in recent days. Caesare refuses to listen though and eventually departs for the senate with Decius leading the way. As he approaches the Senate, the Soothsayer approaches him again with a warning but Caesar ignores him. A man named Artemidorus hands him a letter of warning about the conspirators which he also ignores. The conspirators greet him at the Senate, bow before him and stab him one by one until he is dead.

Antony arrives after the murder and feigns support of the conspirators, all the while marking them each for revenge. He asks them their reasons for the murder and Brutus replies that he will reveal the reason during the funeral. Antony requests permission to speak over the body as well and is given it, but as the conspirators all leave, Antony reveals he shall get his revenge.

Brutus and Cassius arrive at the Forum and address the crowd, with Brutus claiming the murder was done because it was best for Rome and that Caesar’s ambitions were a threat. They are placated until Antony takes the stage and begins his own speech. Antony quickly turns the crowd against Brutus and outlines why his claims were false. He reveals the will and shows the body of Caesar to the crowd, revealing that Caesar has left a small portion of his money to every citizen of the city. The crowd is angry that such a great man was murdered and turns against Brutus and Cassius.

Eventually Octavius, Caesar’s adopted son, returns and forms a coalition with Antony and Lepidus to fight Brutus and Cassius. The latter are outside the city in exile raising armies. Brutus and Cassius argue about all different manners of things and Brutus reveals that Portia has committed suicide in his absence. That night as they prepare and Brutus sleeps, he sees the Ghost of Caesar who subsequently warns him that they will meet again on the battlefield.

As Octavius and Antony march their armies toward Brutus and Cassius, Octavius begins to assert the authority his adopted father left him as the next ruler of Rome. The two sides eventually meet on the field and begin fighting.

When Cassius witnesses what he believes is his dear friend Titinius being captured by the opposing forces he orders Pindarus to kill him. After he is dead, Titinius returns and reveals that he was not captured but was celebrating with his men. He kills himself in grief over the death of Cassius.

When Brutus learns that Cassius and Titinius have died, he takes on the Roman armies by himself. When he loses the fight, he impales himself on his own sword, declaring Caesar’s satisfaction in his death. Antony speaks highly of Brutus for his nobility for Rome, that his intentions were not greedy or envious but altruistic and for the benefit of Rome. Octavius then orders that Brutus be buried in the highest honor.

Julius Caesar Character List

A close friend of Caesar, Brutus also opposes the placement of a single man in the role of sole leader of a nation. He believes in a strong government guided by the votes of the many. Because of his strong sense of honor, Brutus is more easily turned against Caesar because he believes what he does is for the good of Rome. He is the ideal of Roman virtue and can easily separate his private and public roles. Because he is so loyal to both Caesar and his role in the state, Brutus is the tragic hero.
Julius Caesar

As the powerful and brilliant Roman General and Senator, Caesar returns to Rome after a victory in his military campaign. When he returns, Brutus and others who are jealous of his popularity begin to worry that he aspires to become King. He however repeatedly turns down the crown and shows no interest in the offer. His major fault though lies in that he does not separate his private and public lives. He eventually falls victim to the cheers of the crowd and ignores all of the omens and threats against him.

As Caesar’s friend and closest confidant, he eventually turns to the coalition of Brutus and Caesar’s murderers to save his own life. He later delivers an amazing speech at Caesar’s funeral that convinces the crowd to turn to his side and denounce Brutus as a traitor. He manages to turn the crowd to revolt against the conspirators.

As a long time friend of Caesar and fellow General, Cassius is angry and upset that Caesar has become such a powerful force to the Romans. He masterminds the turn of Brutus against Caesar by forging letters from Roman Citizens declaring their support for Caesar’s death. He is very realistic about the political world and willing to do whatever he needs to do to overthrow Caesar’s popularity.

He is Caesar’s appointed successor and adopted son. He is traveling when Caesar is murdered and joins with Antony when he returns, intent on fighting Cassius and Brutus. Antony does his best to control Octavius and his intentions but Octavius proves to be much the same as his father and eventually seizes power of the government.

He is one of many public figures that opposes Caesar and his rise. He relates how Antony offered the crown three times and was turned down. He does not believe that Caesar is being truthful though and sees him as an actor who is slowly lulling people to his cause.

As Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia puts much import into omens. She warns him against visiting the Senate on the Ides of March after the Soothsayer’s omen. He ultimately ignores her in his ambition though

As the daughter of a Roman who joins the conspirators, Brutus’s Wife Portia is left out of much of his discussions and thoughts during the play. Later on, Portia kills herself because of the power that Antony and Octavius take for themselves.

Flavius begins the play by deriding the people for cheering Caesar when they at one time cheered the man Caesar had just defeated. He is eventually punished for his removal of favors from Caesar’s statue during the Triumph parade.

Known as an incredible skilled speaker, Cicero speaks during Caesar’s triumph parade. He dies at the order of Antony and Octavius.

He joins Antony and Octavius in taking their revenge against Caesar’s death. Antony does not like him but Octavius trusts him enough.

He is with Flavius when they deride the people for their cheering of Caesar and likewise is removed from his position for removing favors from Caesar’s statue.
Julius Caesar Scene Summaries
Act I
Scene I

Flavius and Murellus, two officials of Rome, arrive and find the streets filled with commoners. They order them to return to home and work and question a cobbler why it is he is out in the street and not working. The Cobbler reveals that he is taking a holiday to celebrate the return of Caesar and witness his Triumph and procession through the city after defeating Pompey.

The two do not appreciate this excuse though and attempt to belittle the importance of Caesar’s victory. They describe it as a meaningless victory over a man that Rome once welcomed as a hero. It does not bring glory to Rome, nor does it have any military impact. The people of Rome are thus becoming disloyal to those that came before.

The two decide to return the commoners to their homes and remove the decorations they have been placing on the statue of Caesar at the Capitol. They are worried that he is becoming too powerful and hope to weaken that strength before the people get carried away.

Scene II

With his retinue in tow, Caesar enters the square. Following the group is a crowd of commoners, Flavius and Murellus. A Soothsayer approaches him from the crowd and announces to the Caesar that he must beware the Ides of March (the fifteenth day of the month). Caesar immediately dismisses the warning though and continues his procession. As Caesar continues to enjoy his accolades, Brutus and Cassius discuss Brutus’s recent change of humor. Brutus describes his mood as a case of conflicting thought and inner turmoil.

After the crowd shouts for Caesar once more, Brutus comments that he believes they will make him King and he does not agree with such a course. He loves Caesar as his good friend and colleague, but would not want to see Rome run by a single man. Cassius expands by explaining how little he is willing to kneel before a man he finds to be no more than his equal. He describes two instances in which Caesar was near death and showed great weakness, including one in which Cassius had to save his life.

They continue to discuss Caesar, commenting on their own position in the State, having been not nearly as active as Caesar in political matters. Cassius derides the importance of a single man over all other men as an atrocity. Brutus quietly agrees but remains thoughtful, agreeing to think on Cassius’s words. They finish their conversation and depart as Caesar returns with Antony. He comments that he finds Cassius to be too full of thoughts, a dangerous sort of man. He continues to describe Cassius as a man he must watch before he and his retinue once again leave.

Brutus and Cassius return and converse with Casca, asking what happened during the course of the procession. They learn that Caesar was offered the crown three separate times by Antony and turned it down each time. He describes Caesar having fallen to the ground in a seizure before the crowd as well. However, the crowd cheered him regardless, uncaring of his weakness. Finally, he relays that Flavius and Murellus lost their posts for the desecration of Caesar’s statue.

After Brutus and Casca exit, Cassius addresses the audience, revealing his plan to draw Brutus to his side by forging letters from Roman citizens against Caesar and in favor of Brutus.

Scene III

Casca and Cicero meet together on a street and discuss the strange happenings in the city. The weather is frightful, with great storms, along with the strange appearances of men with burning hands, lions near the Capitol and an owl sitting in the market during the day. They ponder what might bring about such odd occurrences before Cicero departs, having learned from Casca that Ceasar will attend the Capitol the next day.

Cassius enters as Cicero leaves, wandering openly in the thunder and lightening. Cassius replies that he Gods are angry and are sending signs to the Romans to warn against the “Monstrous State” referring to both the nature of the city and the government itself. He then compares the weather and oddities of the night to Caesar and his actions in the Capitol.

Casca reveals to Cassius that Caesar will be made King the next day to which Cassius reacts violently. He pulls his dagger and swears that he must be given the strength to defeat the tyrant that is Caesar. He derides the city itself for so easily giving in to such a man and reveals that he has gathered support in a resistance movement against Caesar. Casca agrees and joins Cassius in his anger.

A man name Cinna, a fellow conspirator against Caesar, enters and Cassius reveals the next step in his plan against Caesar. They must turn Brutus. Cassius gives Cinna the letters he forged and tells him to place them in Brutus’s Senate chair and to throw into his home. Casca comments that they need Brutus on their side to bring a sense of worth to their cause against Caesar.

Act II
Scene I

In Brutus’s home, the general paces worriedly over the fate of Rome. He worries what might happen if Caesar is crowned king and cannot decide what he should do to counteract such a possibility. He ponders whether his friend, who he believes to know so well, could be swayed by the call of power. He cannot believe that any man could resist such a call, so he resolves that the only course is to kill Caesar.

A moment later, Brutus’s servant arrives with a letter found beside the window. It is addressed from citizens of Rome and derides Brutus for his lack of action and declares a universal distaste for Caesar becoming king. The letter solidifies for Brutus the need to take action against Caesar for the good of Rome. After he finishes reading the letter Cassius arrives with Casca, Metellus, Trebonius, Cinna, and Decius, his fellow conspirators.

They begin the discussion of what to do with Caesar and his advisers. It is agreed that Caesar must be killed, but the question of whether to bring Cicero into the fold is pondered at length. In the end, Brutus stands against it because Cicero is too independent of a voice. Another argument ensues over whether they should kill Antony, but Brutus once again objects, stating that any more bloodshed would be excessive. He does not want a bloody murder, but a stately death that can be used to make a point to the Romans and show that the actions were noble.

After the men have left, Portia, Brutus’s Wife, enters and asks him what has him so distant in recent days. He does not respond other than to say he feels ill. This upsets her further and she continues to ask, claiming a right as his wife. He does not respond though, and a knock comes at the door, allowing him to turn her away.
Scene II

At home, Caesar paces in his night garments, having been unable to sleep. His wife is plagued by nightmares of Caesar’s murder and now she begs him to remain at home because of so many ill omens. He tries to ignore her, but she persists stating that she never gives in to such superstition but with dead men in the streets, ghosts and lions at the capitol and lightning falling, the warnings cannot be ignored.

Caesar continues to state that he does not fear death and that brave men, because they do not fear death are only subject to the sensation of dying once while cowardly men die repeatedly in their own minds. When a servant enters the room and relays that Augurs as well have recommended for Caesar to remain home, Calpurnia begs him to send Antony to the Senate and Caesar finally gives in.

However, only moments later, Decius arrives to accompany Caesar to the Senate. Caesar relays that he has decided to stay home and tells Decius of his wife’s dreams and the ill omens. However, Decius cleverly disputes the very meaning of Calpurnia’s dreams, describing the blood on Caesar’s statue as a symbol of Rome gaining stronger from Caesar’s blood. He tells Caesar that the Senate has decided to crown him that day and if he stays home they might change their minds. Eventually, by playing on his fear of public opinion and the possibility of public service and power, Decius is able to convince Caesar to accompany him to the Senate. The other conspirators soon enter and Caesar prepares to leave.

Scene III

Artemidorus arrives and reads a letter that wrote for Caesar with a warning about Brutus, Casca and the other conspirators. He blocks the route of Caesar and prepares to hand it to him. He worries that the virtue of Caesar will be destroyed by those who are so ambitious and greedy as the conspirators.

Scene IV

Portia sends a servant to the Senate to watch and observe the events taking place there and see how Caesar does. A soothsayer arrives and Portia asks him if Caesar has left for the Senate yet. The Soothsayer reveals that he has not left yet and that he intends to block his path and relay a message for him along his route. He hopes that Caesar might listen to a man such as him if only for a minute.
Scene I

As Caesar approaches, Artemidorus and the Soothsayer wait. With his retinue following, Caesar enters the street and confronts Artemidorus. He hands Caesar the letter and warns him of the dangers that could befall him. He responds that he isn’t worried about his personal problems though and dismisses the man’s warnings as crazy.

The retinue arrives at the Senate and immediately Cassius assumes that the plot has been unveiled. Trebonius does his part by pulling Antony away from the Senate and Metellus requests of Caesar the pardon of his brother from exile. Caesar refuses though as the exile was a lawful decree and the group then falls to their knees before Caesar repeating the request. Caesar refuses even as more Senators arrive to kneel before him. Finally, when Casca arrives and kneels before Caesar, he stabs him, quickly followed by the knives of the other conspirators. The famous last words of Caesar, “Et tu, Brute? – Then fall Ceasar” are spoken before he finally dies.

Brutus urges the others to bathe their hands in the blood of Caesar and take their bloody swords to the Marketplace to declare Peace and Freedom. Cassius agrees and declares that the scene will be repeated for years to come as a ritual. As they prepare to do so, Antony’s messenger arrives and announces that Antony intends to serve Brutus in Caesar’s stead if they promise not to punish Antony. Brutus agrees and sends for Antony, trusting the declaration absolutely. However, Cassius is slightly less willing to agree and shares his reservations.

Antony then enters the scene and remarks on Caesar’s corpse. He declares that if they would like to kill him they should do it right then as he would be happy to die beside Caesar. Brutus begs him off for asking for death and declares that their actions were done of pity and not cruelty. Their actions were a token of love and sympathy for the people of Rome. Antony tells Brutus that he does not doubt their reasons for killing Caesar and shakes each of the conspirators’ hands.

Antony then speaks to the spirit of Caesar and asks forgiveness for being kind to the conspirators directly beside his body. He continues and praises Caesar’s loyalty. All the while, Cassius grows more wary and questions the loyalty of Antony. Antony repeats his willingness to ally with the conspirators though so long as they reveal why they killed him.

Antony requests to bring to the body with him to the Marketplace and say a few words in memory of Caesar. Brutus agrees while Cassius argues against the decision. He warns that Antony has the power to move the masses against them with a speech in favor of Caesar, yet Brutus states that he will simply preface the words of Antony and explain to the public why they killed Caesar as they did. Despite Cassius’s misgivings about Antony’s intentions, they all depart with it agreed that Antony might speak to the people over Caesar’s body. After they leave the scene, Antony remains alone. He begs forgiveness again for allying himself with the conspirators and prophesizes that much blood shed and strife will arise from the murder. He states that as long as the death of Caesar is unavenged, his spirit will wander and cause chaos in the realm.

When Octavius’s servant enters and sees the body of Caesar, Antony warns him to return to Octavius and keep the man outside the city. As the adopted son and heir of Caesar, Octavius would be at great risk within the city. He asks the messenger to return to the Forum to listen to his speech though so that they might decide how to proceed with Octavius after they know how the public reacts.
Scene II

Brutus and Cassius arrive with a large crowd of Romans. Cassius leaves to speak to another part of the crowd and Brutus begins to speak to those on stage. He describes their reason for killing Caesar – how their love for Rome overshadowed their love for Caesar and that the man was too ambitious and dangerous for the city. None of the crowd disagrees with him and he ends by stating that no one has been offended.

Antony then enters with Caesar’s body and Brutus introduces him, stating that he had nothing to do with the murder. The crowd cheers for the kindness of Brutus but he quiets them to give Antony the chance to speak. He then leaves the stage.

With the crowd talking amongst themselves, decrying Caesar as a power hungry dictator, Antony prepares to speak. Antony begins his funeral oratory by describing Caesar as an ambitious man and Brutus as an honorable one. He describes Caesar as his friend though and one who brought much wealth to Rome. He states that Caesar sympathized with the poor among them and reminds everyone that when offered the crown, Caesar refused it three separate times. He carefully weaves in more instances of Caesar’s kindness and leadership, musing as to whether he was actually ambitious or not.

He stops and weeps for a moment while the crowd begins to remember the deeds of Caesar and wonder at the reasons for the conspirators’ actions. Antony resumes his speech and states that he would gladly bring about rebellion and mutiny but not to harm Brutus or Cassius as both are good men. He pulls out Caesar’s will and when the crowd begs him to read it he at first refuses. He continues to speak highly of the conspirators but his words have already turned the crowd against them as they declare them traitors.

They eventually convince Antony to read the will. Antony takes a minute to point out the hole-ridden body of Caesar and where Brutus, a man who loved Caesar – stabbed him so viciously. He uncovers the body and allows the crowd to view it, angering the crowd even further. Antony however, once again states that they should not mutiny against ‘honorable’ men. He states that he is not the speaker that Brutus is, that if he were he might urge them to rebel, but that as Antony he can only tell them what he knows.

The crowd is enraged though and willing to rebel. Antony request silence to finish and proceeds to read the will. The will states that Caesar’s personal wealth will be divided amongst every man in Rome and that it was his plan to allow his parks and gardens to be made public. The crowd is so enraged by his murder now that they riot, running through the city. Octavius’s servant enters and relays that Octavius has returned and taken Caesar’s house while Brutus and Cassius have fled the city in exile.
Scene III

A poet by the name of Cinna walks through the city streets. He is not and has no relation to the conspirator but when a group of citizens asks him his name they drag him away. He pleads for his life and repeats that he is not the conspirator but they proceed and beat him to death regardless.

Act IV
Scene I

Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus all meet and go over a list of names to decide which of the conspirators must die first. Lepidus and Antony both agree that they will allow the deaths of their family members in turn and Antony tries to discover a way to reroute the money in Caesar’s will to save money. Antony reveals his distrust for Lepidus after he leaves but Octavius trusts him wholly despite those doubts. Octavius declares Lepidus to be a loyal man, but Antony compares him to animals and calls him a tool of their endeavors. They turn their conversation to the army that Brutus and Cassius are raising outside the city and the necessity of their bid to stop it.

Scene II

In Brutus’s camp, Lucillius, Titinius and Pindarus meet and offer a message from Cassius. It appears that Cassius is growing upset with Brutus and their ties are becoming weaker. Cassius then arrives and accuses Brutus of wrongdoing. Brutus pulls him aside to speak privately though as he feels they should be on good terms still.

Cassius’s own anger is because of a man Brutus had condemned for taking bribes, even though the man was a friend of Cassius and he requested that Brutus not charge him. Brutus responds that Cassius himself has been taking bribes and wonders if the death of Caesar was in vein with his murderers being more corrupt than Caesar ever was.

They continue to insult each other and Brutus outlines why he is so disappointed with Cassius including the fact that Cassius refused to offer money to Brutus when it was requested. Cassius blames the messenger for carrying the wrong message though and then accuses Brutus of having stopped loving him. The two continue to argue until they eventually decide their arguments are ill-temper and embrace in forgiveness.

The two then drink wine, with Cassius expressing his surprise over Brutus’s rage. Brutus relays that he has been emotionally burdened in recent days with the death of his wife, Portia. It is revealed that she committed suicide by swallowing fire. Soon afterward Titinius and Messala enter the tent and relay that Octavius, Antony and Lepidus have killed one hundred senators in their cleansing of the Senate.

Brutus, after questing Messala about the death of his wife, suggests they bring their troops to Philippi to fight. Cassius disagrees, wanting to wait at their current location for the Romans. However Brutus persists and they decide to march the next day. The others leave with Brutus alone in his tent with his servant.

While his servant and messengers sleep, Brutus tries to read and is greeted by the Ghost of Caesar. He wonders if he might be dreaming and asks for the identity of the specter. The Ghost doesn’t reply directly but states that they will meet again at Philippi. When he leaves, Brutus wakes his servants and asks them what they saw; they saw nothing.
Act V
Scene I

At the battlefield of Philippi, Octavius and Antony arrive with their armies. A messenger relates that the enemy is ready and Antony begins by telling Octavius to attack from the left. However, Octavius rejects Antony’s advice and decides to attack from the right. Antony wants to know why Octavius ignores his advice despite his experience as a military commander, but Octavius remains firm on his statements.

When Brutus and Cassius’s armies arrive, Octavius – now referred to by Antony as Caesar – asks if they should attack first. Antony tells him they will wait for the other side to attack first and they go to meet the two conspirators. The groups insult each other and Octavius calls for the avenging of Caesar’s death and that he will not lay down his sword until the traitors have fallen.

After Antony and Octavius leave to prepare their armies, Brutus and Cassius call their generals to discuss matters. Cassius reveals that it is his birthday and describes recent omens including the circling of ravens over their troops. He returns to Brutus and they discuss what will happen if they are defeated. Brutus declares that he would rather die than be paraded through Rome as a captive. The two men wish each other farewell as though they will never see each other again and depart, preparing for the final battle which will decide the struggle for power.
Scene II

The battle ensues and this short scene merely depicts the surge of either side against each other. Brutus sends a message that he sees a weakness in Octavius’s forces and that he seeks to exploit it.

Scene III

Cassius stands beside Titinius on a hill, watching the battle and worrying over their losses. It appears that Brutus was correct about Octavius being weak, but was too eager to exploit it and rushed their attack, now turning the battle against them. Pindarus then arrives with a message that Antony has entered Cassius’ camp and that Cassius should flee. He sees his own tents burning below and so sends Titinius off with a horse to see whose troops are approaching from afar.

Pindarus climbs a nearby hill and reports back to Cassius what is happening to Titinius. As Titinius rode to meet the others he is surrounded by them, after which he dismounts his horse and the men cheer. Cassius assumes this to mean Titinius has been captured and is very upset. He then calls Pindarus back to him and gives him his own sword, asking Pindarus to kill him. He closes his eyes and soon is dead. Cassius’s last words relate that Caesar has been avenged by the very same sword that killed him.

However, only moments later, Titinius arrives with Messala commenting on how the battle continues. Even though Cassius’s troops were defeated by Antony’s Brutus is rallying hard against Octavius. They then see the body of Cassius and Titinius realizes what must have happened. When he rode out, it turned out that the men were really Brutus’s troops, happy to see Titinius. Messala leaves to inform Brutus of the news while Titinius then stabs himself to death in grief.

Brutus then enters and upon seeing the bodies accounts their deaths to the might of Caesar even after his death. Brutus orders the bodies removed and everyone returns to the battle against Antony and Octavius’s men.

Scene IV

Brutus prepares for one more battle. Lucillius pretends to be Brutus and is captured in the field by the Romans before bringing him before Antony. Antony recognizes him and sends his men to find the real Brutus.
Scene V

In the final moments, Brutus has decided to take his own life so as he cannot be captured. He claims that he saw Caesar’s Ghost on the battlefield and he has taken such an omen as call for his own death. He requests that one of his men holds his sword so that he might impale himself, but they all refuse, urging him to flee with them and escape Octavius and Antony’s forces. He sends them away, telling them to flee and save their own lives, but keeps one man behind. He asks again for the man to hold his sword, which he does. Brutus then impales himself on his own sword and declares that Caesar’s death has been avenged.

A moment later, Antony and Octavius enter and find the body of Brutus. Lucillius makes the comment that it was good that Brutus was not captured alive. Octavius declares that he will take on Brutus’s men himself and Antony speaks over the dead General’s body. He declares him as the noblest of all Romans and pure heart, only looking out for the good of all Romans. He believed to be doing what was absolutely best for the Roman people and for that his actions were noble. Octavius declares they will bury him with honor and that Brutus’s body shall lie in his own tent.


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King Lear Plot Summary

The beginning of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy shows King Lear, the rapidly aging monarch of Britain, making the decision to step down from his throne. He has decided to evenly distribute his land between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Before he does so though, he decides to test them all by asking how much they love him. Both Goneril and Regan offer the flattering answers of unconditional love that he seeks. Cordelia however, remains silent and claims there are no words to describe her love.

Lear becomes incredibly angry and disowns her, forcing her to move to France to marry the King there. Despite her being disowned, the planned wedding between the two goes forward with the King of France still interested in her, despite the lack of Lear’s blessing.

Soon enough though, it becomes apparent that Lear’s decision to disown his youngest daughter was poor. Goneril and Regan both quickly go about removing Lear of any remaining power and divvying up the land between them and their husbands. While his daughters slowly betray him, Lear begins to go mad, even running into the midst of a thunderstorm at one point with his Fool and Kent, a disguised nobleman.

Another nobleman and confidante to Lear has his own problems in Gloucester. The father of two sons, Edmund and Edgar, he is soon betrayed by the illegitimate of the two. The illegitimate son, Edmund manages to convince him that Edgar is trying to kill him, sending Edgar into hiding as a beggar named “Poor Tom”. He also heads to the heath where Lear had gone during the thunderstorm.

Gloucester makes the decision to assist Lear after he learns of Regan and Goneril’s treachery. However, it is not long before Regan and her husband Cornwall discover his assistance to Lear and take their retribution. Accusing him of treason, they blind him and set him to wander the countryside. Edgar, disguised as Tom guides him to Dover where Lear is currently staying.

It is in Dover that Cordelia finally returns to the scene, leading an army of French forces to invade and save her father. Edmund, after betraying his father Gloucester has taken to a romantic involvement with both Gonerial and Regan. Because of his growing sympathy for Lear’s plight, Albany becomes the target of a plot by his wife Goneril and Edmund to be killed.

Gloucester attempts at one point in his despair to commit suicide. Edgar though, keeping careful vigil over his father, tricks him into walking over an imaginary cliff and saves his life. Back in Dover, the English troops arrive and take on the French forces led by Cordelia. They defeat the French and capture both Lear and Cordelia.

The final scene of the play is full of deaths, betrayals and fights. Edgar and Edmund finally duel, with Edgar defeating and killing Edmund. He then reveals that Gloucester died upon realizing it was Edgar who had saved him and that he was going to fight Edmund. Goneril poisons Regan in her jealousy of her relationship with Edmund, then kills herself after her plot to kill Albany is revealed. Because Edmund betrayed Cordelia, she dies unnecessarily in the prison, and finally Lear dies in grief over Cordelia’s death. The only survivors of the blood letting are Albany, Edgar, and Kent.

King Lear Characters
King Lear

As the elderly king of England and the title character of the play, Lear’s main fault is his pride and controlling nature as displayed in the first scene of the play. He does not accept contradiction or challenges and when Cordelia does not immediately speak her love for him, he disowns her, a mistake he will later regret unto his death. For him it is the appearance of love rather than literal devotion that he values most. Driven mad by the horrible acts of his family later in the play, he eventually realizes the errors of his ways and the true love Cordelia had for him.

As the only one of Lear’s daughters (and the youngest) to refuse the flattering attention he demands, Cordelia is quickly disowned. She leaves the country, marrying the King of France even after the disowning. Regardless of her father’s anger and cruelty, she remains loyal and returns to England with an army of French to fight her sisters and their power grabbing. She is reticent to speak and quiet in her actions, and eventually dies for her convictions after being imprisoned by her sisters.

As Lear’s oldest daughter, Goneril is frequently jealous, prone to treachery, and completely lacking in morals. Married to the Duke of Albany, her strong and aggressive character was atypical in the time in which Shakespeare penned the play. She not only removes her father from power, she has a torrid affair, and removes military power from her husband before eventually taking her own life in the final scene.

As the middle of Lear’s three daughters, Regan is just as treacherous and ruthless as Goneril and shows it many of the same ways. She is considerably similar to her sister in almost every way. They never work together in their treachery, but prompt further cruelty from each other until they both fight for the …..erous attentions of the same man and lose their lives in their jealousy.

Gloucester is an Earl loyal to Lear who at one pointed had an affair and fathered a bastard son, Edmund. His story in the play is very similar to that of Lear’s, following the same cycle of close mindedness and betrayal with his children. He trusts the wrong child and drives away Edgar, his loyal true son and pays for it with his sight and eventually his health. After helping Lear, he is blinded and stripped of his title by Lear’s daughters. Eventually he dies in grief over the fate of his two sons.

Edgar is the older and legitimate of Gloucester’s two sons. At first he is easily tricked by his brother, after which he takes on the guise of a beggar to hide from the men hunting him on behalf of his father. He uses this persona to aid his father and Lear, and eventually returning triumphantly to defeat his brother.

Edmund is Gloucester’s illegitimate younger son who is unhappy as a bastard son and soon plots to take both Gloucester and Edgar’s titles and worldly possessions. He is incredibly sly and almost manages to succeed in every aspect of his plans. Everyone he encounters and speaks to is hurt.

Another of Lear’s loyal Earls, Kent spends much of the play in disguise, assisting Lear after he is banished by the King, still loyal. He is very loyal but also too outspoken, a trait that causes his banishment and creates problems in various other situations.

Goneril’s husband and a Duke, Albany is naturally good at heart and eventually turns against his wife and Regan, unhappy with their actions. He is unfortunately too indecisive though and is not nearly so cunning or intelligent as his wife. He takes much too long to realize what horrors his wife is wreaking.

Regan’s husband and another Duke of Lear’s. He is very much like his wife, working with her and sister-in-law to destroy the rule of Lear and take control of the nation, wreaking violence and persecution on both Lear and Gloucester.

He stays with Lear throughout the play and offers seemingly empty songs as advice for the maddening King.

King Lear act and scene summaries
Act 1
Scene I

The beginning of the play opens with Gloucester and Kent, two nobles loyal to King Lear, in the throne room discussing how he plans to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. They change the topic though as Kent asks to be introduced to Gloucester’s son Edmund. Gloucester tells Kent that Edmund is a bastard son raised away from his home, but that he loves him all the same.

Lear then enters the throne room and continues describing how he plans to divide the kingdom. He wants to retire from the throne and enjoy his old age, visiting his children, free of the burden of the government. In deciding how, he declares that each of his daughters must announce how much they love their father. The daughter to display the most love will receive the largest share.

Goneril and Regan, the oldest and most conniving of Lear’s daughters flatter him immensely, describing their love in flowering, over the top forms. When he comes to his third and youngest daughter (also his favorite) though, he is greeted with silence. She doesn’t say anything except that she loves him as much as a daughter should love a father. She describes how neither of her sisters could possibly be married if they loved Lear so much as they said. Lear is unhappy with the response though and disowns her in a rage, giving her share to Regan and Goneril.

Kent is the only man willing to speak up and tell Lear the error of his decision, disagreeing with what he’s done. He calls the king insane and states that Cordelia clearly loves him more. Lear then banishes Kent as well, giving him six days to leave the kingdom.

Awaiting a decision as to who will marry Cordelia are the King of France and Duke of Burgandy. When Lear tells them of his disowning of Cordelia, Burgandy immediately withdraws his offer and leaves. The King of France however is impressed and still wishes to marry her. Lear does not give his blessing.

At the end of the scene, Goneril and Regan speak in private, planning how to best utilize their complete power of the kingdom. They decide to limit their father’s power and take full control.

Scene II

Edmund returns to the stage again alone, delivering a soliloquy about how bastards are treated and his unhappiness with society. He angrily denounces his legitimate half-brother Edgar and decides he will do in his brother and take the lands and privilege that he feels he’s been denied.

He begins by forging a letter that depicts Edgar as plotting to kill his father, Gloucester. Edmund pretends to hide it from Gloucester who then demands to read it. Edmund carefully lies to his father and lets on that Edgar is plotting against him to more quickly inherit his land and money. Edmund goes on to tell Edgar that Gloucester is angry with him and to avoid him and carry a sword at all times.

Scene III

For the first part of his retirement, Lear visits Goneril and her husband in their castle. Goneril is angry and complains to her steward Oswald that Lear is being obnoxious and his men are too rowdy. She then orders her servants to behave rudely in turn to provoke confrontation.

Scene IV

Arriving at Goneril’s castle disguised as a peasant named Caius, Kent finds a means to intercept Lear and convince the King to take him into his service as a blunt servant.

When Goneril’s servants begin ignoring the orders of Lear’s men, Oswald makes a show of being rude to Lear as well. He is rude and eventually provokes Lear to strike him, bringing Kent in to help push the Steward away.

For the first time, Lear’s fool arrives and through a series of doublespeak begins to tell Lear of the mistake he has made in giving so much power to his daughters. Goneril finally arrives and tells her father that she wants for him to send his servants and soldiers away as they have been too rude and ill-mannered in her home.

Shocked by his daughter’s behavior, Lear has no choice but to accept his daughter’s decision that half of his men must leave. He angrily curses his daughter for the treachery, wishing he had never given her the power. In tears, he calls for his horses and decides to leave for Regan’s castle instead, believing her to be a better daughter still.

After Lear leaves, Goneril’s husband Albany is upset about how she treated her father. She describes how she wrote a letter to Regan and her sister will not house Lear’s knights either.

Scene V

Lear sends Kent to Gloucester with a message about his situation. The Fool continues to assail Lear for his poor decisions and describes how horrible Regan will likely be to Lear as well. Lear feels himself beginning to mad and readies himself to leave for Regan’s home.

Act II
Scene I

Back in Gloucester’s castle, a courier announces to Edmund that Regan and Cornwall will arrive in the evening to visit and that Cornwall and Albany have been feuding. Because he hopes to use Cornwall against Edgar, Edmund grows excited by the visit. Because things are looking promising, Edmund convinces Edgar to slip away that night, to protect himself. He then draws him into a fake battle and wounds himself to discredit his brother and make his father sympathetic to his cause.

Because of the attack and Edmund’s machinations, Gloucester is convinced that Edgar has done something horrible and vows to make Edmund his heir instead.

Regan and Cornwall finally arrive and quickly and easily fall for Edmund’s lies and turn against Edgar. Cornwall joins forces with Edmund. Regan then attempts to flatter Gloucester by asking for his advice about the letters her father and sister sent to her.

Scene II

Kent and Oswald arrive outside of Gloucester’s castle to present letters to Regan. Oswald is confused at first as Kent condemns him for his lack of honor and when Oswald states that he does not know him, Kent attacks him with his sword.

Oswald calls for help and when Cornwall arrives, Kent describes how horrible Oswald has been, stating that he lacks any virtues. Cornwall takes up Oswald’s side and tries to have Kent placed in the stocks. Gloucester stops this from happening however, stating that putting a servant of the king into stocks would be a grave injustice. However, Regan states that the acts against Goneril’s servant are a worse injustice. Everyone leaves except Gloucester and Kent who then reads a letter from Cordelia stating she will soon send help for her father’s cause.

Scene III

Edgar is alone in the woods and speaks a soliloquy about his running from the law. He hides inside of a tree and decides he must disguise himself to remain safe from the authorities. He decides he will disguise himself as a beggar covered in dirt, and buried in a blanket. His name as a beggar will be Poor Tom.

Scene IV

When Lear arrives at Gloucester’s castle, he is greeted by Kent in the stocks. He demands to know who put his messenger in the stocks and can’t believe that his other daughter would do such a thing. Regan however, refuses to speak to him, stating that they are fatigued.

Gloucester goes about finding Regan and Cornwall to have Kent released, and the Fool arrives again to comment on the proceedings. Regan finally arrives to greet her father, pretending to be affectionate as he tells of the horrible deeds Goneril committed. Regan tells Lear he must calm himself and seek Goneril’s forgiveness, making him even angrier. Cornwall then admits to Lear that it was he who ordered Kent to be put in the stocks.

Regan angers her father further when she refuses to house his retinue of knights and along with Goneril, she conspires to refuse him harbor for any of his men. In his anger, Lear once again calls for his horse and states he would rather live outside or in France than with his daughters. Regan and Goneril tell Gloucester to let Lear leave and in the process allow him to venture forth into a wild storm at night.

Scene I

Kent speaks with a random gentleman about how Lear and his Fool disappeared into the storm, and that Albany and Cornwall are pretending to be nice. Kent discusses how the King of France has heard of what’s happening and will soon send an invasion force to assist Lear and his ailing kingdom. He sends the gentleman to Dover to announce how horribly Lear has been treated and to deliver a ring to Cordelia to disclose the identity of the letter’s author as Kent. He then leaves to find Lear.

Scene II

On the heath the storm rages on with Lear’s mood equally matching its intensity. He angrily rails against his daughters’ horrible treatment. The Fool tries to reason with Lear to go inside and enjoy the safety and warmth of a dry house in shame rather than the pain of his rejection. When Kent arrives he leads the three to a hovel where they can wait out the storm. He then returns to Gloucester’s castle to request space for Lear out of the weather.

Scene III

Back in Gloucester’s castle, Gloucester and Edmund discuss how Regan and Cornwall seized his home when he asked them to leave. He is a prisoner of sorts now and is forbidden to speak to the King. He divulges the plans to avenge Lear’s daughter’s acts, unknowingly telling someone who is secretly plotting against him. When Gloucester leaves, Edmund reveals his plans to tell Cornwall of the plans to gain more favor.

Scene IV

As Kent tries to get Lear to go inside the Hovel, Lear resists, stating he is too anguished mentally to care and that he can barely feel the wrath of the storm. He sends the Fool inside and prays in the storm. He decides that while he was King he didn’t take the necessary time to care for the homeless and poor.

The Fool flees the hovel though, running from a spirit within. The spirit in question is Edgar dressed as the beggar Tom. He pretends to be mad, stating he is chased by a devil and that a fiend possesses his body. Lear is already losing his mind and isn’t fazed by Tom’s statements. He empathizes with Edgar and decides that his daughters will destroy him.

Lear questions Edgar on his life before being a beggar to which Edgar replies that he was once wealthy and a courtier who had relations with many women and drank much wine. Lear tears the clothes from his body in sympathy of Edgar’s plight.

Gloucester finally arrives with a torch, looking for the king. He is upset that Lear is with such men and tries to bring him back to his castle, regardless of Regan and Goneril’s decree. Kent and Gloucester finally get Lear to return, but they must allow Tom to come with him.

Scene V

Cornwall vows that he will get revenge against Gloucester for helping Lear. Edmund has given Cornwall the letter from Gloucester supporting the French invasion and pretends to be distraught by his father’s acts. He is secretly overjoyed for the situation and is given the title of Earl of Gloucester by Cornwall and sent to find Gloucester. Edmund decides that he must find and catch Gloucester in the act of helping Lear to convince Cornwall of his treachery.

Scene VI

Leaving Lear and his friends in a farmhouse outside his castle, Gloucester searches for food. The Fool and Edgar along with Lear present a mock trial of his daughters after which Gloucester reenters and announces that he has uncovered a plot to kill Lear. They prepare to leave for Dover where friends await.

Scene VII

Back in Gloucester’s castle, Cornwall sends Goneril to Albany with a letter telling him of the invasion force from France. He also orders Gloucester to be brought back to him. Edmund is to leave with Goneril to not be present when Gloucester is punished. Before he leaves though, Oswald arrives and describes that Gloucester has told Lear of the plot and helped him escape to Dover.

Gloucester soon enters the scene and is bound down, where Regan begins to call him a traitor and physically harass him. Eventually their torture advances to gouging out Gloucester’s eye. A servant attempts to step in and is slain by Regan for helping and Cornwall proceeds to gouge out Gloucester’s other eye.

Gloucester calls for Edmunds help and Regan discovers that Edmund betrayed his father. Gloucester learns that Edgar was not the evilest of his sons. Regan throws him out of the castle, blinded, to find his way to Dover alone and helps Cornwall out of the room. Everyone leaves for Dover.

Act IV
Scene I

While talking to himself on the heath, commenting on how bad his situation could be, Gloucester arrives, blinded and wandering. An old man that Edgar recognizes as an 80 year long tenant of their household leads him while Gloucester tells him that he wants nothing more than to touch his son once more. Edgar doesn’t give up his disguise but speaks to the men as Tom, the beggar. Gloucester has clothes brought him and requests to be led to the highest cliff.

Scene II

Back in Goneril’s home palace, she and Edmund arrive to find that Albany is displeased by her actions and hasn’t greeted her. He is glad for the arrival of the French and not happy to see her. She turns on him immediately, declaring him a coward and taking control over his military might. She then sends Edmund back to Cornwall’s home and tells him to raise Cornwall’s troops to fight the French. She announces that she will send Oswald out with numerous messages and before Edmund leaves, gives him a kiss farewell, hinting at a potential affair between the two.

Albany finally enters the scene when Edmund departs and assails Goneril for her actions. He does not even know about Gloucester’s treatment yet, but is angered greatly by Lear’s madness and treatment by his daughters. She argues back that he is a coward and that he she prepare for the French. He condemns her for her evil and calls her a monster.

Shortly after, a messenger arrives announcing that Cornwall has died from wounds received while torturing Gloucester. At the report of Gloucester’s treatment Albany is outraged and sees Albany’s death as a divine commentary on his actions. Goneril is happy that the death has weakened her sister’s position, but upset that Regan might pursue Edmund on her own now that she is a widow. She leaves the room to respond to the messages from her sister.

Albany immediately questions why Edmund allowed such a thing to happen and when he learns that Edmund was Gloucester’s betrayer and took over the house by decree of Cornwall, he vows revenge upon Edmund and assistance for Gloucester.

Scene III

Kent, in disguise still, speaks with a nobleman in the French camp at Dover. He learns that the French recently landed but that the King returned quickly to deal with his own problems at home. As the Queen of France, Cordelia receives Kent’s letters and has taken control of the army herself. The nobleman comments on Cordelia’s sorrow over what had happened to her father.

Kent informs him that Lear has also arrived in Dover, though he is floating on the border of madness and sanity. He refuses to see Cordelia in his shame though, and sits alone, wallowing in grief. The nobleman confirms for Kent that both Albany and Cornwall’s armies are marching to Dover to fight the French.

Scene IV

With Lear hiding among the cornfields among flowers and singing madly, Cordelia enters and sends soldiers to retrieve him for her. Talking to a doctor, she wonders if it is possible for him to recover his sanity and safely resume normal living. The doctor responds that he needs sleep more than anything and gives her sleeping pills. A messenger arrives with the same news that Kent received about Cornwall and Albany’s troops approaching Dover to fight the French. She readies her troops for the ensuing battle.

Scene V

Oswald arrives to inform Regan that Albany’s army has finally set forth with Goneril having taken control. Along with a letter to her, there is a letter from Goneril to Edmund that causes Regan to become rather upset. She guesses that the two are having an affair and tells Oswald that she desires Edmund as well, while at the same time seducing Oswald to get the letter. She has already discussed the matter with Edmund and how much he should be with her instead as a widow, in a situation that makes more sense. It is not a crime nor …..ery in that case. She then gives Oswald something to deliver to Edmund and offers a reward for Oswald if he can find and kill Gloucester.
Scene VI

While in disguise, Edgar leads Gloucester forward to Dover. Despite his request, Edgar only pretends to take Gloucester off a cliff, convincing him that they are climbing and they are near the sea. When he informs Gloucester that they have reached the pinnacle of the cliff and that he has vertigo from the height, he allows the blinded Earl to stand at the spot, saying his goodbyes and prayers before walking off what he thinks is a cliff, fainting in the process.

When Edgar wakes Gloucester, he takes on the demeanor of a gentleman and throws off his disguise as the beggar. He doesn’t admit that he is Edgar but says he saw Gloucester fall and that his survival is a miracle. The Gods must not want him dead for some reason. He tells Gloucester that a devil of sorts was with Gloucester at the top of the cliff not a man, prompting Gloucester to accept the story and accept Edgar’s explanations.

Still wandering on his own, Lear stumbles across the two and with a crown of wild flowers on he babbles on madly. He is at times incredibly mad and at other strangely perceptive. He does recognize Gloucester though and mentions the …..ery that has plagued him all his life. He pardons the crime though and begins to babble onward about …..ery, womankind, and sexuality, eventually breaking down completely and abandoning the constant iambic verse of Shakespeare’s play with “Fie, fie, fie ! pah! Pah!”

Cordelia’s men find him in this state and when they try to take him in, the runs away with them in pursuit. Soon Oswald arrives as well intent on killing Gloucester and collecting the reward Regan has offered. Edgar disguises himself once again with the Western accent of a peasant and kills Oswald with his cudgel, taking the letters Oswald is carrying.

Though Gloucester is unhappy to still be alive, Edgar is intrigued by Oswald’s letters, including the letter to Edmund from Goneril urging him to dispatch of Albany so they can be together. He holds the letter so as to offer it to Albany later and buries Oswald before leading Gloucester to safety.

Scene VII

Back in Dover, Cordelia is in conversation with Kent, having discerned his true identity. She agrees to keep it secret, and soon Lear is brought before her. He barely recognizes her in his madness and babbles on about how she likely wants to kill him as her sisters do. Cordelia however is happy to see her father and offers forgiveness for his earlier banishment. The camp learns of Cornwall’s death and that Edmund is now at the head of his forces. The battle between the French and English is soon to begin.

Act V
Scene I

Between Regan and Edmund, the question of his love for Goneril arises. Edmund denies any feelings for her and that he has slept with her while Regan expresses her jealousy for Goneril and begs Edmund to not take up with her in any way.

Goneril and Albany soon arrive with their troops. Albany states his case that Lear is with the French and may have a legitimate right to be angry and fight them. He does not reject his role in fighting the French though and announces he will remain by his wife and sister-in-law in the ensuing battle. Regan and Goneril display their jealousy over Edmund once more before they leave.

Albany is greeted by Edgar slightly before he leaves and receives the letter from Oswald detailing his wife’s plans to have Edmund kill him. He tells Albany that he will provide a champion to defend the claims of the letter if he and the English win the battle that is about to begin.

Edgar then leaves with Edmund soon entering and telling Albany to go to the field where the battle is nearly underway. Edmund delivers a soliloquy in which he describes his dual claims of love for both Goneril and Regan, relating his inability to decide what to do. He decides to wait until the battle is won to make his decision and that he will leave Albany for Goneril to kill if she likes. He reiterates his plan to show no mercy for Lear or Cordelia if they should be captured.

Scene II

After the battle begins, Edgar leads Gloucester to the woods and leaves him their in safety. He goes to fight beside Lear and very soon after returns announcing that the French and Lear have lost, with Lear and Cordelia captured. Gloucester tries to stay where he is, but is convinced by Edgar to go with him, willing his father to not so readily accept death.

Scene III

With Edmund leading the way, Lear and Cordelia enter, preparing to meet Goneril and Regan. Cordelia is ready but Lear does not want to meet his daughters, instead expressing a fantasy in which he and Cordelia are birds in a cage, listening to the world but not being bothered by its frivolities. He sends both off with the captain of his guards and a note with unspoken instructions as to their fates. The note isn’t made clear to the audience, but the ominous tone it is written in is.

With Goneril and Regan beside him, Albany arrives and gives praise to Edmund for his skill in the battle. He orders him to bring Lear and Cordelia forward, to which Edmund lies and says both were sent far away to keep the British from a mutiny. Albany angrily chides him for taking too many liberties but Regan jumps to defend Edmund declaring that he will marry her. Goneril declares that this will not happen, but Regan, who is suddenly ill, claims him as her own.

Albany however, ignores the proceedings and arrests Edmund for treason and gives him the opportunity to defend himself in trial by combat. He sounds the trumpet to summon Edgar, who arrives in his full armor and bring charges against Edmund for treason. He quickly defeats Edmund, with Regan having gone to Albany’s tent with her illness. Albany request that Edgar leave Edmund alive and produces the letter for Goneril to show he has learned of her plot to have him killed.

Edgar finally reveals who he is by taking off his helmet and tells everyone how he disguised himself as Tom and led Gloucester through the wilderness. As he prepared to fight Edmund, he revealed his identity to his father as well, but the revelation of such grief and happiness in Gloucester brought about his death. A gentleman soon enters with a knife and declares that both Goneril and Regan are dead. Goneril poisoned Regan and committed suicide in one fell swoop.

After entering the scene, Kent requests the location of Lear and Albany remembers that he never learned from Edmund their whereabouts. Edmund finally reveals his crimes and decides in his final moments to repent. He had ordered Cordelia to be hanged and so they send a messenger to intervene before the deed is done.

However, as Lear enters, it is learned that the messenger was too late. He carries Cordelia’s body in his arms and in a grieving state of insanity he weeps over her body. He barely recognizes Kent and soon Edmund’s death is announced as well. Lear thinks he sees a bit of breath in Cordelia and asks for her button to be loosened. When he sees what he thinks is a mote of life, he dies.

Albany returns Edgar and Kent’s powers and titles and invites them to assist in ruling the nation. Kent is old and near death so he refuses, but Edgar apparently takes up the offer and the very few survivors exit with the funeral march playing in the background.


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Lion King – Aslan Kral [özet]

Everything in the animal kingdom had its place in the circle of life. When the Lion King, Mufasa, and his queen, Sarabi, had a cub named Simba, Mufasa knew that one day Simba would be king. Everyone bowed in respect as Rafiki the baboon introduced the young prince to all the animals.
Only one lion — Mufasa’s brother, Scar — refused to attend the ceremony. He was not happy that Simba would be next in line for Mufasa’s throne.
But Simba grew into a happy, healthy cub. One day he proudly told his uncle, “Someday I’m going to rule the whole kingdom! Everything except that shadowy place.
I’m not allowed to go there.”
“You’re absolutely right, Simba,” his uncle agreed slyly. “Only the bravest lions can go to the elephant graveyard.” Scar deliberately tempted his adventurous nephew. Simba immediately raced home and convinced his friend Nala to explore the elephant graveyard. It was creepier than they ever imagined.
Zazu, Mufasa’s advisor, caught up with the cubs and warned them it was dangerous, too. But Simba only laughed at Zazu. Then he heard someone laughing back. He turned to see three enemy hyenas ready for lunch. “He’s a king fit for a meal,” laughed one. The nasty hyenas chased the cubs right into a trap. Suddenly there was a tremendous roar. Mufasa arrived and frightened the hyenas away.
Simba was very proud of his father. “We’ll always be together, right?” he asked later that evening. “Look up at the stars, Simba,” said Mufasa. “Those are the great kings of the past looking down on us. Remember those kings will always be there to guide you. So will I.”
Although Scar was very angry with the hyenas for letting Simba escape, he made a bargain with them. If they helped him become king, they could have the run of the Pride Lands. And Scar had a plan.
Later Scar brought Simba to a gorge and promised him a wonderful surprise if he would wait on a certain rock. Then he signaled the hyenas.
The surprise was a stampeding herd of wildebeest! The earth trembled as the wildebeests headed right into the gorge and straight toward Simba. Simba held onto a tree branch but was slipping fast. In an instant Mufasa appeared and grabbed his son. He got Simba to safety, but then he slipped off the ledge and fell into the thundering stampede. When everything was quiet once more, Simba found his father lying lifeless at the foot of a cliff. Simba had not seen Scar push Mufasa to his death. Simba believed it was all his fault. “Run away, Simba,” Scar advised the young cub. “Run away and never return.” Scar watched as the young cub ran away, chased by the hyenas. Then Scar returned to Pride Rock and announced to the lions that he would be their new king. Simba ended up in the desert where he collapsed from heat and exhaustion. Luckily two curious creatures found him — a meerkat called Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa. Simba’s new friends took him home to the jungle where they introduced him to Timon’s idea of hakuna matata — “no worries.”
Simba tried to put the past behind him, but it was difficult. One day a young lioness appeared looking for help. It was Nala. She told Simba the sad story of what had happened since Scar had taken over the Pride Lands.
But Simba could not face going back — at least not until Rafiki appeared and led him to a vision of his father. “You are my son and the one true king. You must take your place in the circle of life,” Mufasa explained. So Simba returned to the Pride Lands with his friends by his side. There was a great battle. Finally, Scar cornered Simba and confessed what he had done many years ago. “You didn’t kill your father,” Scar said evilly. “I did.” At last Simba found the strength to fight back. He flipped the evil lion right over the edge of the rock into the jaws of the waiting hyenas When the fighting was over, Simba took his rightful place as king and restored the Pride Lands to a place of peace. And when Simba and Nala’s little cub was born, a brand-new circle of life began.


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