Analysis Of Hannah Kent's 'Burial Rites'

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Set amongst the desolate Icelandic landscape, Hannah Kent explores the life of a convicted murderer, Agnes Magnúsdóttir in her novel, Burial Rites. By allowing Agnes to have a voice, Kent encourages to see that her death is not only a by-product of Agnes choices, but also due to the judgement of the society that she lived in. This society in which powerful men with status are the rule for life and death, both unfair and prejudiced. Thus, through 'Burial Rites ' Kent seeks to explore how Agnes 's death sentence cannot be blamed purely on her actions, but also on the unforgiving society that punishes those who are disadvantaged. Kent uses a range of techniques to explore that nothing can be blamed purely on fate. Her use of rich characters, letters and public notices ensure readers that your actions and motivation can somewhat change your fate. It is the passionate emotions felt for Natan by Agnes that overshadow her from any sense any logic or reason, which lead to the foolish decisions that contribute to her death. With the use of rich characters, displayed with lust, passion, and other overwhelming emotions, Kent depicts love as a cause of happiness but also misery. Initially, Agnes finds a sense of worthiness due to Natans attention towards her, later on, she describes her love as “A hunger so deep, so capable of driving me into the night, that it terrified me.” Thus, highlighting that her love for Natan has indeed completely engulfed all of her senses, making her
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