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Portrayal of guilt and retribution - Essay Example

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Thus fantastic elements are added and metaphorically situated within the two stories to stray away from the sense of what is practical or what is practically considered to be "right" and the abundance of fantastic depictions therefore creating a conflict between the self and the society - thus drawing the connection with the Kantian philosophy of the State, justice and moral nature of man.
Kant introduced the idea of "Categorical Imperative"1 and that morality is fundamentally a priori in nature and therefore it claims that one's moral choices are always good as it is grounded in Reason and it is never a matter of choice or personal taste and it is universally seeks to be good and is a truth in itself. Thus the moral a priori truth that it holds all of us under the same universal law of good and bad becomes the apparatus of perception by which we define our acts and how we view guilt and retribution without regard to the relative context from which such immoral acts emerge. Thus, Michael Kohlhaans' guilt exists even when he knows that he acted against a wrongdoing committed against him, who is the actual criminal. This case of denial of justice does not necessarily redeem Kohlhaans from his acts of wrongdoing and even he knows it. This classic idea of moral retribution can be further explained by the idea of morality and duty as proposed by Kant. Does the fantastic elements plan to create the effect of the sense of extreme (arousing the sense of impropriety within the reader itself, who otherwise would sympathize with Kohlhaans') and monstrous betrayal, absurd extent of revenge taken, heavy assortment of passion and desire, and the complicated motifs of human actions that do not necessarily always have simple and reasonable explanations to them - the complicacy of the human mind therefore becomes the subject of these novella where the fight with morality is better portrayed with the use of such fantastic metaphors and symbols or events. Or does the over-explanations used to play truth becomes fantastic to us' Does the restless energy of Kohlhaans' immoral acts and the restless energy that consume the plot of the story create a revenge that is so emphatic and complete that it almost creates a sense of improbability within us' Or does the emphasis on Marquis' innocence (supported by the bizarre reason of the Count being the father of her child) create a feeling of disbelief within us or our suspension of disbelief like that of the Colonel is only justified by the fantastic elements that invade the storytelling' A plot that emerges out of the consequences of the given situation only in Marquise Von O makes the story border on the fantastic Gothic elements that disregards the presence of the universal morality but rather portrays the subterranean forces of human immorality that are fantastically co-existent within us and how we are still capable to dealing with such truths too!

Fantasy also has a strange relation with the use of language that creates such lively details within the reader's mind. In Kleist's work, the novellas slowly become detached from their socio-historical necessity and gradually gather the momentum of a personal nature where the inner tragedies find an objective correlative to the outside reality. Thus, when Kohlhaans enter the tollgate there is a symbolic passage that is undertaken, which ...Show more


The use of improbable, high, and fanciful rather fantastic elements or dramatic scenes in the portrayal of retribution and sense of guilt heightens the sense of morality in realistic fiction. It was a typical 19th century fiction writer's ploy to add such sense of the division or battle between the good and the evil…
Author : meagan31
Portrayal of guilt and retribution
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