The impenetrability of life
An Interpretation of the Behavior of Heinrich von Kleist’s The Convulsion in Chile Akin to best writers of the Romantic Movement, Heinrich von Kleist eschewed the Enlightenment’s acceptance in reason, science and progress. He believed that activity was too circuitous for it to be interpreted by acumen and science. The body of life, decidedly animal nature, is the axial activity of Von Kleist’s abbreviate adventure The Convulsion in Chile (1807). Set in the deathwatch of a apocryphal convulsion in Chile, the abbreviate adventure reveals how counterfeit norms prove to be abortive in moments of disaster.
Thus, it is alone in times of crisis that the accurate attributes of individuals and or institutions is apparent (Allan, 108). The convulsion is commonly acclimated as a apologue for massive amusing upheaval. The address in which it inflicts accident – from the bottom, antibacterial the foundations of edifices – renders it a acceptable apologue of accessible cataclysm. Reactionary priests interpreted the Lisbon convulsion of 1755 as a “punishment” for the declared sins of its populace.
The French philosopher Voltaire wrote in his novella Candide (1759) that the Roman Catholic Church acclimated the said accident as an alibi to bake added declared heretics at the pale (The Internationalist, n. pag. ). The Scottish historian, columnist and carper Thomas Carlyle referred to the French Revolution as “(an) convulsion of Insurrection” (Carlyle, 409). In The Convulsion in Chile, an convulsion briefly apoplectic the cruel operation of social, civil, moral and ecclesiastical law over association (Fenves, 313).
Subsequent contest apparent the futility of analytic for affirmation in activity through assurance on loosely-argued abstract biases such as behavior (Allan, 108). In the ambience of the abbreviate story, behavior are adverse to animal association and relationships. It alone after-effects in prejudices that acquiesce the able to subjugate the weak. From the outset, it is already bright to the clairvoyant that affectionate structures of ascendancy ascendancy Santiago. Power lies primarily in the easily of the viceroy, the Archbishop and the paterfamilias.
In addition, women are perceived as admired animal backing and individuals whose adeptness and abstemiousness charge be dictated by men. But, ironically, it is women who are accepted to ascendancy the animal avidity of men (Allan, 109). Under the guise of “morality,” women are declared to display behavior that will assure her from exceptionable animal advances from men. If a woman is subjected to inappropriate animal conduct by a man, it is believed to be her accountability – she is a “loose” woman who does not deserve account from men.
When, for instance, Don Asteron apparent that Jeronimo is accepting an adulterous activity with his daughter, Josephe, he actively warned her instead of Jeronimo to end the relationship. And back Don Asteron afterwards begin out through Josephe’s brother that she and Jeronimo connected their liaison, he had her abandoned to a convent. Josephe’s new “spiritual father,” the Archbishop, accepted to be added cruel – he insisted that she be put to balloon and accursed to afterlife afterwards she gave bearing during the religious procession.
Both Don Asteron and the Abbess acerb against the afterlife sentence, to no account (Allan, 110). The accommodation to drive Josephe’s book from afire at the pale to beheading resulted in “indignation (from) the matrons and maidens of Santiago” (Von Kleist, 175). Because they committed themselves to the affectionate ethics of feminine abstemiousness and categorical chastity, they believed that no abuse could be too astringent for a woman like her. Furthermore, a bleeding beheading for Josephe would acquiesce them to insolate in the apparent faculty of their own moral superiority.
Her afire at the pale would assert their acceptance that they were “good” women and she was an “indecent” woman (Allan, 111). The earthquake, however, adapted Santiago into an absolutely altered society. The accident destroyed the bastions of affectionate ascendancy – the cathedral, the Viceroy’s palace, the court, the abode of Josephe’s ancestor and the prison. As a result, the bodies assuredly abstruse to assignment ancillary by ancillary in adjustment to survive. Differences in amusing class, gender and adoration were abandoned to attain the accepted ambition of survival:
And, indeed, in the bosom of these abominable moments, in which all the alluvial appurtenances of man were destroyed and all of attributes was threatened with burial, the animal spirit seemed to accessible out like a admirable flower. In the fields, as far as the eye could reach, bodies of all ranks could be apparent circuitous together, princes and beggars, matrons and barbarian women, bureaucrats and laborers, monks and nuns. They sympathized with one another, assisted one addition and affably aggregate whatever they had been able to save to accumulate themselves alive, as if the accepted calamity had fabricated a distinct ancestors of all who had able it.
(180) For Jeronimo, Josephe and their son Philipp, advice came in the anatomy of Don Fernando and his wife Dona Elvira. Afterwards Josephe agreed to Don Fernando’s appeal that she be the wet assistant of his son Juan (Dona Elvira was abominably afflicted in the earthquake), he accustomed her, Jeronimo and Philipp into his family. Don Fernando and Dona Elvira advised them able-bodied admitting their background: Don Fernando was actual beholden for this affection (Josephe’s accord to become Juan’s wet nurse) and asked whether they did not ambition to accompany him to that accumulation of bodies who were aloof advancing a baby breakfast by the fire.
Josephe replied that she would acquire that allurement with pleasure, and, back Jeronimo had no argument either, she followed Don Fernando to his ancestors and was accustomed best agreeably and affectionately by his two sisters-in-law, whom she knew to be actual admirable adolescent ladies. (179) Dona Elvira, to whose wounds Josephe was busily attending, had at one point – aloof back these belief were accession best quickly, anniversary arresting the alternative – taken the befalling to ask her how she had fared on that abhorrent day. And when, with
anguished heart, Josephe anecdotal some of the capital appearance of her story, she was captivated to see tears able-bodied up in that lady’s eyes; Dona Elvira bedeviled her duke and awkward it and gestured her to be silent. (180) Unfortunately, the blow of the boondocks retained its bigotry. In the afternoon of the earthquake, a account was captivated at Santiago’s actual cathedral. The address of the officiating priest likened the calamity to God’s abolishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. The earthquake, according to him, was God’s “punishment” to Santiago for Jeronimo and Josephe’s sin:
He castigated it (the city) for abominations such as Sodom and Gomorrah had not known, and ascribed it alone to God’s absolute abstinence that Santiago had not been absolutely abandoned from the face of the earth…he…digressed, with copious imprecations, to acknowledgment the two sinners themselves by name and to address their souls to all the princes in hell. (183-184) The exciting address of the sermon, forth with affecting acuteness generated by the adverse furnishings of the earthquake, resulted in violence. Back a affiliate of the aggregation accustomed Josephe in the service, an affronted mob went afterwards her and her companions.
When the army dispersed, Jeronimo, Josephe, Juan and Dona Constancia (Don Fernando’s sister-in-law) lay dead. The Convulsion in Chile was Von Kleist’s account for his atheism in the adeptness of science, acumen and advance to access activity and humanity. He believed that science, acumen and advance absolute activity and altruism through behavior that were in favor of the powerful. The powerful, in turn, acclimated these behavior to accomplishment the anemic and the helpless. Thus, back the able loses their adeptness to subjugate, they resort to awful agency to achieve this capability. In accomplishing so, their absolute attributes is exposed.
Works Cited Allan, Sean. The Belief of Heinrich von Kleist: Fictions of Security. New York: Boydell & Brewer, 2001. Carlyle, Thomas. The French Revolution: A History. New York: Modern Library, 2002. Fenves, Peter David. Arresting Language: From Leibniz to Benjamin. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2001. “Lisbon, 1755: The Earth Shook. ” January 2005. The Internationalist. 17 September 2008. <http://www. internationalist. org/lisbon1755. html>. Von Kleist, Heinrich. “The Convulsion in Chile. ” Great German Abbreviate Stories. Ed. Evan Bates. New York: Courier Dover Publications, 2003.
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