Her self-denial and self-restraint make her a perfect foil for Pollen as she exposes his complete lack of virtues. A clear example of this is Pollen’s attempted seduction of her. The turning point of the play comes when she refuses Pollen’s advances, denying him the lascivious pleasures he describes in his speech. Celia seems willing to do anything to avoid dishonor, making her character flat and predicTABLE, to ready to sacrifice herself to be believTABLE. However, this is Son’s intention.
He portrays her as an ethereal, saintly, ideal. Cilia’s love is compared to “heaven,” “a plot of paradise. ” She is described as a “better angel. She is someone whom the audience should aspire to be. Conversely, a contemporary audience could instead see her willingness to subject herself to Corning’s harsh dictates and abuse as being more weak than strong. But, it is her inner moral sense, even though it is dictated by seventeenth century conventions on femininity, indicated when she refuses Pollen against her husband’s express wish that wows her true strength of will.
Her perfection is starkly contrasted by the grotesque reactions she provokes from Pollen and Corning. The religious imagery Pollen used to describe his riches he uses for a new “better angel”, for Celia.
The “gold, plate and jewels,” which Vale pone addresses in tones of worship at the beginning of the play, Pollen gives to Masc. so that he can use them to woo Celia; the all- important gold has been subordinated to her conquest. The language Pollen describes his love for Celia is the language of sickness, not love. He eels a “flame”, trapped inside his body and his “liver melts”. Johnson demonstrates that Pollen’s light-hearted, lustful ways are not as innocent as they appear, since they can easily develop into an unhealthy, and unnatural, sexual obsession.
Corning too has a grotesque response to Cilia’s body. His description of the handkerchief incident is rife with intense, sensual imagery. He feverishly describes “itching ears,” “noted lechers,” “satyrs,” “hot spectators”, “the affricate”, before he verbally imagines Celia and Scoot Manta engaged in the act of intercourse. Like Pollen Cilia’s body causes a sickness in him, except that his sickness is characterized by violence and rage whereas Pollen’s is characterized by physical agony. Corning’s grotesque sexual obsession is firmly linked to his sense of property, for he considers Celia to be his property.
When he threatens to kill her entire family as relation for her supposed infidelity, he uses the language of the law; those murders would “be the subject of my justice. ” To lose Celia as a lover would send Corning into a murderous rage, and he condemns her for her perceived infidelity using oral concepts such as “justice”; but to use her in order to gain Pollen’s fortune is “nothing”. The justice of the situation is determined by whether or not Corning makes a profit, not on any moral issue, and the virtue of his wife for a vast amount of fortune is a more than equiTABLE trade.
Corning’s talk of justice is incredibly hypocritical, a means of exercising power over people, like Celia, who care about such things. Within a society with such a greed for pleasure and power Celia and Bonanza are the twin voices Of moral criticism, representing both codes Of religion and hose of honor. They serve as foils to Pollen, exposing his ruthlessness; he will hurt them if necessary in order to gratify himself. Whereas Corning’s shortcomings seem to stem from a disrespect for honor, Johnson seems to attribute Policies callousness to a lack of religious feeling.
Celia tries to appeal to whatever trace of ‘holy saints, or heaven” Pollen has within him; her complete lack of success implies he has none. When Celia cries out to God for help as Pollen prepares to rape her, Pollen says she cries “In vain,” just before Bonanza leaps out to save Celia. That moment is a direct dismissal of Pollen’s inverted value-system, where he values immediate self-gratification over God. Johnson uses Bonanza and Celia to full effect to manipulate the feelings of the audience, there is no clearer example than in Act IV.
Voltaire weaves an elaborate lie in court in which Celia is the treacherous wife; Bonanza is the deceitful son, Corning the betrayed husband and Acrobatic the deceived father. The objections of Bonanza and Celia are incorporated into Voltage’s narrative, Voltaire uses verbal irony, a device used quite frequently by Johnson, o ridicule Bonsai’s suggestion that Pollen be tested for deceit: “Best try him, then, with goads or burning irons;/ put him to the strapped: I have heard,’ The rack hath cured the gout” The anger of the four Avocation mirrors the increasing anger of the audience.
This anger that is provoked by the actions of Pollen and Masc. is intended by Johnson to draw the audience, like the judges- through images and words, arranged in a dramatic manner, virtuous innocent characters wing against evil guilty ones, evoking a strong sense of injustice, drawing our sympathy, involving us in their plight. Some have argued that the ending of the play, where justice prevails for all concerned leaves the audience with a feeling of dissatisfaction, and of the play being too artificial.
However had Johnson ended the play with Masc. and Pollen escaping punishment, it would have been contrary to the plays educational purpose; showing virtue losing out to vice would not make virtue seem the most favorTABLE option of the two. With Pollen, Johnson set out to entertain and educate. Pollen and Masc. entertain, whilst the invention of Bonanza and Celia clearly educates the audience to uphold their moral standings.
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