• ‘Am I not a Man, whose nature is frail, and prone to error?’ An evaluation of Matthew Lewis’s The Monk as a work of tragedy

      Royston-Tonks, Carol A. (University of Chester, 2019)
      This dissertation is an argument for the re-evaluation of Matthew Lewis’s Ambrosio the Monk as a figure of tragedy instead of villainy. By identifying the characteristics of tragedy within the Gothic text, Ambrosio can be shown to fulfil the tenets of the tragic hero as established by Aristotle. Because of this, the reader can experience the tragic response of catharsis because of the pity and sympathy that Ambrosio as a tragic hero can inspire in the reader. For sympathy to be extended to the Gothic, a Romantic sensibility of the primacy of the self, analogous to that of the Renaissance humanist, must be established. The development of this Romantic Sensibility is explored with acknowledgement of the influence upon it by the Renaissance tragedians, thus establishing a chain of literary connections from the ancient tragedy to the Romantic Gothic. By recognising the shared humanity of the Gothic villain and the reader, the sympathy and pity necessary for the tragic response is extended to the Gothic villain which is transformed to a figure of tragedy.