Duality In Diderot's The Nun

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Institution and Character: Duality in Diderot’s The Nun (Prompt #2) In Denis Diderot’s The Nun, the world in which protagonist Suzanne inhabits features no singularly central villain or antagonist, but instead an institution and larger system that oppresses her to the point of an eventual suicide. While several characters serve as persecutors of the inarguably pure Suzanne, they exist rather as mechanisms of a system which Diderot clearly detests. However, none of these persecutors stand out as the greatest embodiment of this institutionalized evil more so than the second Mother Superior at Longchamp, Sister Sainte-Christine. Harsh and conniving, Mother Superior made a formidable villain largely thanks to her draconian temperament and the…show more content…
It further serves as a great example of the power of hysteria in a cloistered community, where the powers of isolation and abuses of authority leave the nuns fearful and malleable. That suggestibility was key in the abuse that befell Suzanne, perpetrated by women who were driven by fear and a twisted devotion to God to torment her. In The Nun, the true villain is the cloistered system of convents, but Mother Superior represents the most perfect embodiment of what such a segregated community can do to a person, and how easily it can corrupt a person and be used to abuse authority. The isolation of these convents led to dogmatic theology that fostered intense fear and conformity as a means of survival, and led to the eventual downfall of the blameless

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