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Essay on Freedom and Fate in Moll Flanders

Freedom and Fate in Moll Flanders

Are people who believe in freewill simply ignorant of the reasons of their actions? In the context of Defoe’s Moll Flanders, this question may result in considerable debate. Was Flanders free or was she predetermined to live a wicked and improper life mired in years of penitence? Did the whorish behavior of Moll’s mother predetermine Moll’s actions? Certainly there is no question that Flanders was a criminal – she was a whore, a thief, and she practiced incest.

In regards to Flanders having sex with her own brother it would be difficult to argue that this was a predetermined event considering she truly did not know her husband was of her own flesh and blood. If, indeed, she was aware of the relation and then chose to proceed then one could discus it further in the context of freewill. As for being a whore there is no question that Flanders, especially later in her life, involved herself with such happenings, but for me it was the thievery that seemed to capture the essence of Flanders continual undoing and constant need for penitence. There is no better part of Defoe’s work to capture the feelings of utter despondency then when Moll is going to steal for the first time from the apothecary’s shop. Defoe prefaces the scene with a few paragraphs where Moll explains her absolute “desolate state”. The crime is then set in what James Sutherland explains, “…Moll’s first theft he sets the scene with such careful attention to detail that he fixes it in our minds, and gives to it that air of authenticity which, for Defoe, is almost justification of fiction”. This is where Defoe’s journalistic stylings shine. The reader is indeed in the apothecary and sees Moll’s gaffe unfolding before him.

We are free to judge whether or not we would take the bundle that so often becomes Moll’s pursuit in the future. It is at that instant that we can decide whether Moll was free to do so or controlled by something unavoidable, such as fate. If Moll was acting on freewill it is arguable that she would not repeat the same crime in the future, in fact she would most likely avoid any such acts that resulted in the terrible feelings she experienced during and after the first offense. For she says herself, “It is impossible to express the horror of my soul all the while I did it”.

Doctor Faustus Essays: Applying the Psychoanalytical Approach

Applying the Psychoanalytical Approach to Dr. Faustus

Within the text of Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” a reader notices the struggle between the superego and the id. Throughout the play, Faustus struggles with himself while Lucifer and Mephistopheles struggle with him. Though these huge conflicts take place in the text they aren’t the greatest of situations when one tries to apply the psychoanalytical approach. The most obvious situation arrives with the introduction of the Seven Deadly Sins. They represent the constant struggle between the id and the superego. They add to the seduction of Dr. Faustus and the constant struggle in a chaotic Hell.

The id possesses most of the sins: Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony and Lechery. All six of these sins show characteristics that are strong and powerful. Though these sound as if they were good characteristics, they are actually extremely over-bearing. When the sins explain who they are, they don’t leave any room for argument. They just say who they are, and they take what they want. For example, Pride explains what he can do with a woman: “I can creep into every corner of a wench: sometimes, like periwig I sit upon her brow; next, like a necklace I hang about her neck; then, like a fan of feathers I kiss her…” (Marlowe, II.ii.120) Obviously, Pride feels powerful enough to take any woman he wants and perform with her any way he wants. With a sly and mischievous voice Pride states what he can do and no one can change it.

Another great representation of the id is Lechery or lust. Lechery just walks out and struts her stuff in front of Faustus. The reader realizes that her power is not in her words but in her presence. Even Lucifer notices her strength because he sends her away almost as fast as she comes in. “Away, to hell, away! On, piper!” (Marlowe, II.ii.177) Lechery closes the deal on Faustus. Her presence is so powerful that Faustus returns to the hands of Lucifer.

All six of these Seven Deadly Sins show their strength and power, for they don’t back down, except to Lucifer. They do what they want and say what they please, because they are the angels of Lucifer, the most evil angel of them all. In achieving their goals they are very aggressive and Lucifer provides them all the freedom they need in order capture new souls like Faustus.

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