Fifth Business Essay

Essay by rimzzHigh School, 12th gradeC+, December 2012

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Fifth Business: A Contrast Between Appearance and Reality

Human beings are changed and motivated by many events and/or people in their lives. Some are affected by their surroundings at a young age, and others seem to be changed considerably later in their lives. Appearance and reality both have a very big impact on a character's development. If one is considered to hold too much appearance or reality in their lives, it would be to their disadvantage. Robertson Davies presented good evidence as to the problems of a person who relies too much on reality or appearances, in Fifth Business. Mary Dempster's character foil to Mrs. Ramsey as well as her connection to religion, the story of Mary Magdalene and her sister Martha, Liesl's attachment to magic, the famous Brazen Head magic trick and the myth on the Shirt of Nessus all tie in to the importance of appearance vs.

reality within this novel.

Throughout Fifth Business, many contrasts are explored with great insight. The idea of good and evil is discussed within the novel, in such a way as to portray the main character's struggles to accept evil within himself. In his 50s, Dunny still seems unable to spare himself from his childhood guilt, which is of having witnessed the cause Paul Dempster's premature birth, which in consequence, turned his mother insane. As for the contrast of history and myth, Dunny proves that historical facts aren't so different from mythology, such as when he's explaining the similarities between Arabian Nights and Christianity. Dunny states that, "religion and Arabian Nights were true in the same way...they were both psychologically rather than literally true, and..psychological truth was really as important in its own way as historical verification" (Davies 71). Dunstan expresses that the lesson taught within a myth is...