Fifth Business and The Manticore Comparison Essay

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Fifth Business and The Manticore Comparison Essay In the novels Fifth Business and The Manticore by Robertson Davies guilt is a theme that becomes very apparent. Through these two novels, it is evident to see how easy it is for the guilty parties to dismiss their actions and fall further into their demise. In Fifth Business, the simple act of throwing a snowball leads to unthinkable proportions. Percy Boy Staunton was throwing a snowball at Dunstan Ramsay. The snowball missed and caused a ripple effect on all the people of Deptford. Similarly in the novel The Manticore, David Staunton who was the son of Percy Boy Staunton feels guilt for becoming the person least wanted to be like. In both the novels the characters feel immense guilt, try to ignore this feeling, and then realize that recognition and assessment of their actions is inevitable before inner peace can be obtained. In Fifth Business Dunstan Ramsay feels guilty because the snowball that was planned to strike him instead hit Mrs. Dempster. The snowball caused her to go into premature labour. This accident caused a wave of events that ended up ruining the life of Mr. Dempster the Baptist minister, Mrs. Dempster, and their son Paul Dempster. Dunstan believes that he is completely guilty because “I knew that the snowball had been meant for me” (Davies Fifth Business, 11). Dunstan tries to avoid his guilt by making Mrs. Dempster his saint “She is a saint figure, a Virgin Mary, a woman clothed from the sun in the book of Revelation…”(Mills, 38). Dunstan making Mrs. Dempster his persona; saint however does not remove his guilt. The magnitude of Dunstan’s guilt makes it ironic however to find that he truly was not at fault, but rather Percy Boy Staunton was. Percy threw the snowball but instead of feeling like he was to blame, he quickly threatened Dunstan to not say anything and forget it ever happened.

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