“And now take down the following important remark: the artist in me has been given the upper hand over the gentleman” (71). What does Lolita have to say about the morality of art?
The most prominent feature of Lolita is its use of harmonizing language throughout the entire novel. Humbert Humbert's stunning, intricate, and appealing prose is what makes Lolita so remarkable. Nabokov does not hesitate to show off his linguistic abilities, plunging into the first page with attractive vocabulary providing the reader with "aesthetic bliss." Which we can confidently say he successfully achieved. Humbert's use of enchanting language serves as a manipulation technique to facade his gruesome story of rape, pedophilia, incest and murder to something of attraction. This paradox suggests that the beauty of art can mask even the most immoral things.
A true fan of word play will undoubtedly appreciate this novel, having almost as much fun reading it as Nabakov had drafting it. There is hardly a page in the novel that does not incorporate a good pun, play on words, or coined term derived from the one and only, linguistic genius, Nabakov himself. Humbert seduces his readers through his romantic language, with his constant wordplay throughout Lolita. Word play is important in Lolita as it diverges the reader’s attention away from the horrible events to focus on the beauty of word choice. Multilingual puns seem to be Nabakov's forte as they express a humorous – yet, sophisticated side to Humbert. For example, the name of the character “Humbert” is a pun in two languages. In French it means “Shadow” and in Spanish it means “man”. Similarly, “Lolita” changing her name to “Dolores” which means pain in Latin and her nick name “Dolly” refers to a toy in English. Apart from being witty and humorous, puns add profound meanings to the texts and shape the way the texts are interpreted by the readers. Through effective word play, Nabakov is able to reveal his creative ability of language as a form of art – thus acting as a deception to the real tragedies of Lolita.
Inventing new words and coining his own terms is one of the strategies Nabakov uses to entice his audience. Words coined by Nabakov are distinct, lyrical and poetic. In Lolita, Humbert takes the power of words to a new level, expressing every unfiltered (usually biased) emotion, feeling, and thought he experiences. For example, the term 'nymphet' used by Humbert when referring to or describing Lolita, was coined by Nabakov. Humbert’s effective use of time freeze allows him to describe events happening in minute detail using seductive language to depict the Lolita in his mind, making vulgar statements seem less horrific due to profound word choice.
Humbert is often confronting his readers, addressing them as 'the jury'. In doing so, it allows him to address the current situation to the reader, providing his side of the story before allowing the reader to form his/her own...