Fifth Businesss Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

Two real mysteries that have made themselves present on earth inlcude magic and religion. Both in their own distinctive manner. Both include the main producer of puzzlement, whether it be the magician or god, and both contain many puzzling ideas and components, whether it be the after-life, or sawing someone in half. With this both have been a means of entertainment, and enlightenment. In Fifth Business, Robertson Davies successfully uses the characters to correlate and illustrates both the theme of magic and the theme of religion. The greatest and strongest examples are illustrated through the characters and their respective actions. They are: Dunstan Ramsay, Paul Dempster, and Mary Dempster. Dunstan is one of the first characters that Davies uses to exemplify the theme of magic and religion. Dunstan was Presbyterian. Dunstans continuos reading of the New Testament at war, clearly shows his connection to religion. He stated "Arabian Nights and the Bible were getting pretty close" (Davies, 37), referring to both magic and religion. Dunstans interest in magic as a youngster, and then his interest in religion later on, creates a good mix. The interest Dunstan has when he is young, and teaching Paul whilst looking after him, is a strong illustration of this. Another example of course would be when Dunstan had left the war. A part of his rebirth led Dunstable to Diana. Diana's discontent with his name, leads her to rename him after a saint."Why Don't you change it to Dunstan? St. Dunstan was a marvellous person and very much like you--mad about learning, terribly stiff and stern, and an absolute wizard at withstanding temptation." (Davies, 90) This another connection to religion. On top of that, Dunstan becomes very involved, and passionate about studying, and researching saints. This led him in travels around the world so he could pick up information about several living saints. While searching around the world, Dunstan finds out about Le grande Cirque forain de St. Vile and Illusions. Now this brings up the idea of Dunstan coming across magic. The scope of religion coincidentally led Dunstan right to magic, and these events help clearly testify how Dunstan is related to both magic and religion. Paul Dempster, another character in the novel illustrates the relationship between magic and religion. A link between Paul and his religion would obviously be his parents. Paul is the son of Mary Dempster. Dunstan of course beleives that she is a saint thus bringing him a connection to religion. His father, Amasa Dempster is the Baptist parson of Deptford and is very religious. The very concept of conjuring was considered the work of the devil, and thus was not accepted though they interestingly relate. Hence Paul left his house where magic was not accepted. The idea that Dunstan was the one who originally taught...

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