In William Beckford of Fonthill, A Study of William Beckford.
He lived a life of scandal and extravagance, both financial and sexual, and even in the 21st century his name retains the faint air of scandal. Vathek, the grandson of Haroun al-Raschidis the Caliph of Samarah.
He is dedicated to sensual pleasure and has built five palaces, one for the enjoyment of each sense. When angered his glance can kill.
He has an enormous amount of determination and is willing to sacrifice much for his goals. But he is magnificently dissolute and addicted to pleasure, sensuality, and new sensations. He is enormously self-centered and considers the lives of others small prices to pay for his own happiness and the achievement of his goals.
Vathek builds a mighty tower to better pursue his interest in astrology and to penetrate the secrets of Heaven, and Mahomet Himself sends genii to help Vathek, but the tower only shows Vathek how much he enjoys looking down on humanity from the its summit.
The stranger does not speak to Vathek, so the hot-tempered Vathek has him imprisoned, only to find him vanished the next morning and his guards slain. Vathek then discovers that the sabers have words engraved on them in a language that cannot be deciphered. When Vathek does find someone who can translate the words for him, the words themselves change by the following day.
Vathek is plunged into despair by this and is unable to enjoy anything, and he vacations in the mountains to reawaken his passion for life.
In the mountains the stranger, the Giaour, speaks to Vathek again and then feeds him a potion, which makes Vathek happy. Giaour folds himself into a great ball and bounces out of the city and into the mountains and then into a great valley.
From the depths of the valley, next to a great door of ebony, Giaour speaks to Vathek and tells him that he will only be able to open the door if he sacrifices fifty souls to Giaour. After much maneuvering Vathek manages to do this, sending fifty of the best young children of Samarah over the edge of the cliff to Giaour.
Vathek and his entourage begin the pilgrimage. The pair eventually reach Istakhar and, despite one last attempt by the genies of heaven to save their souls, Vathek and Nouronihar enter the palace of Eblis, the lord of the underworld. He gives Vathek and Nouronihar free access to everything, including the conscious bodies of the pre-Adamite kings, but the joy of Vathek and Nouronihar is destroyed when Giaour tells them that they only have a few days before their hearts will be permanently set on fire.
And after feeling the pangs of imminent, eternal torment, they begin to suffer them. Vathek is of great importance to the development of the Gothic genre and is of lesser importance to 19th century horror fiction. Vathek provided an additional element which Otranto lacked: The Arabian Nights was more important in French letters than in English letters.
French authors created original works, albeit ones heavily influenced by The Arabian Nights, while English authors generally used the The Arabian Nights setting as the backdrop for didactic and philosophical essays. But just as Maturin wrote the greatest of the Gothics only after the form had ossified, so did Beckford write the greatest of the Arabian Fantasies only after his audience viewed the genre as trite and jejune.
Vathek is the best of the English-language Arabian Fantasies. Consciously or not Beckford included autobiographical material in the novel, as his contemporaries recognized. It is a strange story, Vathek, not really a novel so much as an Arabian Nightsstyle fable, with a tone veering between horror, wonder, and an often cruel, sardonic comedy.
Vathek is certainly Faustian in its message of a descent into evil due to the dangers of unwise curiosity and a lack of resistance to temptation, but Vathek also indulges in the decadence of the Arabian Fantasies. Early Gothic writers frighten by implication; Beckford frightens by what he says and describes.
Vathek himself is a prototypical version of the aforementioned Hero-Villain. But Vathek is also a transitional character between the Doctor Faustus character type and the Hero-Villain character.
A Tragedy, had not yet appeared when Vathek was written. He is far too proud for his own good and is unwilling to take advice even from the genii who warn him that he is about to damn himself: Whoever thou art, withhold thy useless admonitions: If what I have done be so criminal as thou pretendest, there remains not for me a moment of grace.
I have traversed a sea of blood to acquire a power which will make thy equals tremble; deem not that I shall retire when in view of the port, or that I will relinquish her who is dearer to me than either my life or thy mercy.
Let the sun appear! These are the Gothic version of famous last words.Lewis in his writing of the monk, he performs linguistically the equivalent of a black mass, while subverting and inverting the traditional purposes of sex and religion, which is an ironical correspondence of the satanic ceremonies in the novel.
century English publishing industry, that is Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk (). First, it introduces Gothic fiction, considering the phenomenon of the so-called Gothic the manifestation of sexual appetites that can be found in Vathek () by Beckford and in The Monk by Lewis.
Characters Lewiss The Monk And Beckfords Vathek English Literature Essay INTRODUCTION The Monk by Matthew Lewis and Vathek by William Beckford both feature a number of characters with ambiguous gender roles. The Monk is a novel by Matthew Lewis.
The Monk study guide contains a biography of Matthew Lewis, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Monk essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and.
In The Monk by Matthew Lewis there are a number of characters whose gender roles seem to be reversed. First of all there is the main character Ambrosio, 'the monk' who takes up a female role in letting Matilda dominate him. - English literature in the Romantic period can be characterised as emphasising on free and natural utterance of authors’ feelings as the reaction toward the world.