Pere Goriot Intertextuality

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The in-class presentation of Balzac’s Pere Goriot emphasized the importance of “intertextuality” to this novel. Balzac’s work has been compared to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Milton’s Paradise Lost as well as Goetha’s Faust. How does Balzac stage the struggle between good and evil in the conflict between Eugene de Rastignac and Vautrin? Your essay should demonstrate that you have some familiarity with the plot of the novel through Pere Goriot, Part Three, and should briefly discuss at least one canonical work to which Balzac’s novel has been compared. Balzac’s novel shares a lot of characteristics with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The first being, both texts are identified as frame narratives; an overarching frame story that encompasses within several smaller narratives. In Pere Goriot, the frame story that is introduced in part one, which serves as an exposition to the novel. This is because it introduces the various characters, gives the reader a sense of the relationship dynamic between them as well as sets the tone of the novel. Another commonality between Pere Goriot and The Canterbury Tales is that Balzac manipulates the description of the physical appearance and dress of the characters to hint to the reader about their personality as well as to inject his own opinion of them. For example, when Vautrin is introduced Balzac describes him as a “stern judge, his glance seemed to pierce to the bottom of every issue, every conscience, every emotion” and “his debtors would sooner have died than not repay him.” Here, the reader can immediately recognize Vautrin as being the possible villain in the novel and could also make an appropriate assumption that Balzac, the writer, didn’t really like Vautrin as a character. Furthermore, the juxtaposition between the physical description of Eugene and his actions throughout the novel, allows the reader to come to certain
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