Romulus, My Father

771 Words4 Pages
“Romulus, my father” explores the affliction and effects of betrayal and mental illness through Raimond Gaita’s tribute to his father, Romulus, a “man of practical genius”, who throughout his life endured such hardships. His childhood was plagued by poverty and domestic violence. His marriage became severely damaged due to the infidelity and disorder of his wife, Christine, and this among other aspects inevitably led to his own experience with the difficulties of mental disorders. Romulus’s early life was epitomised by adversity and suffering. He grew up without a mother or father, but under the care of his grandparents, from whom he inherited a passion for religious music and reading. With these assets however, Romulus was…show more content…
His hopes of marriage and building a loving new home were crushed after Lydia’s tragic betrayal, when Romulus’s vulnerability to his inner demons was revealed. Raimond describes his father’s condition as “personal disintegration” by which Romulus’s moral world collapsed in the face of what he saw as an incomprehensible situation. He was simply unable to believe that Lydia could present such dishonesty. During his stay in hospital and throughout his continuing illness at Frogmore, the superstitions and hallucinations of evil spirits ruled his life for a time. This life-altering episode aggravated his mental disorder and left him, “unable to whistle or sing with his former innocence and delight in life”. However, even in the depths of his distress, his morals, ethics and beliefs sustained a vital element of his emotional universe, providing Romulus with comfort in his despair. Consequently, unlike Christine, Romulus was distinguished as a victim of a severe sickness and he therefore was given unconditional support by his neighbours. It is evident that the outcomes of the many afflictions illustrated in “Romulus, my father” were not always positive. Raimond’s memoir graphically displays the devastation which the hardships wrought upon his father, such as his description of the miserably diminished Romulus in his bed in the psychiatric hospital. Although suffering may have taught

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