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The Collector Essay

1324 words - 5 pages

John Fowles, utilizes classic fairy tale as portrayed by other literary works to structure his narration in The Collector. He tells his version of a fairy tale by creating the characters of Clegg and Miranda to mirror Ferdinand and Miranda in The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, the Prince and Belle in Beauty and the Beast. The Collector and the aforementioned tales are similar not in the circumstances of the narrative, but the traditional dichotomy of captor and captive, good and evil, love and hate, that the characters of Clegg and Miranda portray. Fowles draws upon the classic Beauty and the Beast story of a delightful princess put in captivity by her malevolent admirer. He also infers a similarity to The Tempest: The protagonist is named Miranda and Clegg’s character sees himself as Ferdinand although his tendencies points more to a Caliban. According to Sherrill E. Grace, Fowles explored the Bluebeard tale and it influenced the dynamics of his writings. She states that “in reading Fowles and Atwood we court Bluebeards who continuously escape our reforming urges, in castles which are subtle verbal traps” (Grace 247). The theme of female imprisonment by a male which the Bluebeard story alludes, is adopted to narrate The Collector. Fowles retells and refines the Bluebeard story by structuring The Collector around characters with genuinely misshaped perspectives of good and bad and along these lines indicate a breakdown of the moral and social frameworks in the social order they depict.
In The Tempest, Prospero is the one who lives for the arts whereas, in Fowles’s novel, Miranda is the one dedicated to the arts. Clegg’s lust for power and control is depicted by the aristocrats in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Fowles defies the convention of the literary rules which defined traditional fairy tale given to us by the likes Shakespeare. In The Collector, Miranda does not survive as she dies of pneumonia. This death of the protagonist who is more of a representation of all things right, goes to debunk the convention that good always triumph over evil as in traditional fairy tales. Fowles did not let Miranda live because her survival would give a false hope to a chaotic world where evil outnumbers good. He chose the fairy tale style to investigate obscure profundities of literary works, with an objective of uncovering the misrepresentation encompassing the origination of reality.
Furthermore, Fowles’s reference to Shakespeare through Clegg’s statement is tantamount to reshaping western literature, an attempt to prove the conventional notion of truth or reality unfounded. Clegg says, “All I had to do is kill myself… I could go into Lewes as soon as the shops opened and get a lot of aspros… Then take the aspros and go down with the flowers and lie beside her. Post a letter first to the police. So they would find us down there together. Together in the Great Beyond. We would be buried together. Like Romeo and Juliet. It would be...

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