Walpole The Two Cultures Of Term Paper

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Think not thy ever-obedient wife rebels against thy authority. I have no will but that of my Lord and the Church." (Walpole, Chapter 4) Despite Manfred's attempt to control the world, the forces of heaven cannot be thwarted in their determination to right the wrongs committed by Manfred's grandfather, Ricardo, and prevent Manfred from committing further mischief. The characters experience helplessness and terror in the face of the forces of beyond, rather than any sense of empowerment that they can control them with science. Morality, rather than reason enables them to survive. The realism that Walpole perceives in his narrative is the morality that the characters struggle with, in attempting to do the 'correct' thing. Finally, at the end of the novel, Manfred realizes his ancestor's crimes and repents: "Thou guiltless but unhappy woman! Unhappy by my crimes!" Manfred says to his first wife Hippolita, "my heart at last is open to thy devout admonitions... what can atone for usurpation and a murdered child? A child murdered in a consecrated place? The characters that submit to fate, rather than try exercise scientific control triumph, affirming Snowe's theory that there was a growing divide between science and human emotion in terms of how the culture perceived these systems of knowledge. Despite Walpole's attempts to show reason in the actions of the character, they live in a world that can be explained primarily through story, not through reason. The world does not obey a mechanized, predictable pattern of being, as in an industrial society, and the codes of society are feudal, religious, and moral that persons must obey.

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For example, even in this novel, where forces of prophesy are undeniably real, the 'real' can be taken for the supernatural and vice versa, as occurs in Chapter 4 when Manfred mistakes Theodore for a specter: "Theodore or a phantom, he has unhinged the soul of Manfred." Like scientists, the characters must struggle to analyze the world around them and the messages from the beyond so they can comprehend the will of the supernatural forces that threaten or cajole them away from error at every turn.
However, the novel's obedience to the notion of two cultures, of science vs. belief, is confirmed despite Walpole's attempts to merge realism and real human motivation with the fantastic. Ultimately Walpole focuses on the individual and the strength belief in the face of reason. What happens to the family, as the result of Manfred's ancient patriarch's transgression is all-important, and the emotions and uniqueness of the clan are what are important, not general principles.

Finally, in the novel the past has more of an impact on the present, affirming the psychological importance of personal history rather the forces of imminent change and scientific progress. In this stress of the Walpole novel, as well as its actual location in a far-off time, that Walpole shows his literary aesthetic to be Luddite, or in contrast to the scientific forces of reason and rationalism, as defined by Snowe. The novel does not merely celebrate the medieval and the irrational, but holds the individual and the inability to predict and generalize about any aspect of human life above the predictable, the general, the empirical, and the scientific.

Works Cited

The Castle of Otranto." Wikipedia. [28 Jul 2006] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle_of_Otranto

Snow, C.P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1963.

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Ontranto. Originally published 1764. e-text available [27 Jul 2006] http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/lit/romance/TheCastleofOtranto/toc.html

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

The Castle of Otranto." Wikipedia. [28 Jul 2006] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle_of_Otranto

Snow, C.P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1963.

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Ontranto. Originally published 1764. e-text available [27 Jul 2006] http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/lit/romance/TheCastleofOtranto/toc.html


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