The Doppelgänger Motif In The Monk

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3.2 The Doppelgänger Motif in The Monk The Monk exemplifies the doppelgänger motif through the character of Ambrosio, as the story follows his fall from holiness to immorality. At the beginning of the novel, Ambrosio is the abbot of a monastery of Madrid and idolized by everyone. Consequently, he is obviously proud of himself and feels superior to normal people because he has never committed any sins. He has no divided self, or, at least, his honorable self prevails, while the other is hidden somewhere: “As yet his other passions lay dormant; But they only needed to be once awakened, to display themselves with violence as great and irresistible” (Lewis 1973: 239). Ambrosio was originally good, as Lewis claims in a few passages, he was “corrupted”…show more content…
The abbey, in this case, becomes “an Asylum from the evils of the world, which secludes its inhabitants from corruption” (Kilgour 1995: 143), but, at the same time, represses elements of the human nature which are common to everyone. Hence, “the private and sheltered world of innocence is associated not with safety . . . but with repression” (1995: 143). As aforementioned, the doppelgänger can be considered the result of a certain kind of repression. In this case, the most important is sexual repression. As Kilgour claims, “[r]epression . . . creates absolute division” (1995: 144). Division causes Ambrosio’s split self ‒ the holy and the depraved ‒, but it is only when Matilda seduces him that the latter comes to the surface, after thirty years of repression. These two different sides of the same person are in conflict, as Ambrosio necessarily has to maintain his appearance of integrity, but, at the same time, his sexually obsessed doppelgänger fights to come out. There is no possibility for a balance: his “masculine urges” do not appear normally, like in every man, but provide “the medium for the violent assertion of his individual will, which ultimately expresses itself in murder, rape, and incest” (Lewis 1973: viii-ix). Like the protagonists of Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Ambrosio loses control over his own double. In order to achieve his goal, namely his seduction of Antonia, he accepts the Devil’s help, kills Elvira, rapes and stabs Antonia. Although his good side has not disappeared, it becomes clear that it is too late to return to be the same person he was before knowing Matilda. His guilt cannot be erased (Hunt 2011: n.

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