Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness
Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment. Both Dickens' and Thackeray's novels subscribed to the ideal, but dealt with the dilemma it presented in slightly different ways.
At a time when a great deal of attention has been directed toward economic production and consumption as the bases for value, Reed's well-documented study reviving moral belief as a legitimate concern for the analysis of nineteenth-century English texts is particularly illuminating.
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Elsewhere , in a different sermon , Robertson asserts : “ Christianity is a
revelation of Divine forgiveness — a requirement thereupon that we should
forgive each other . ” 37 Christ is the chief model of forgiveness and all of
humankind is ...
others their trespasses against you ; and Jesus said to us all , ' when ye pray ,
forgive , that ye may be forgiven " ( 69 - 70 ) . By now it should be apparent that
divine and human forgiveness are not simple matters . To summarize so far ...
revenge . Forgiveness is not merely a moral but also a religious duty . In the Old
Testament it was a duty for a Jew to forgive one of his faith who apologized . After
Christ , we must consider all men our brothers and thus potentially deserving of ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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