Shakespeare's Monk Essay
If there is one thing that Matthew Lewis’ novel The Monk: A Romance teaches us about writing, it is that William Shakespeare was an amazing creative author. Just about every facet of Lewis story is, at least in some part, borrowed from Shakespeare’s work.
The most obvious allusion to Shakespeare in The Monk: A Romance, is the plot line of Lewis’ novel and Shakespeare’s work Measure for Measure.
The story of Measure for Measure centers on Lord Angelo, who is given control of Vienna. Angelo is strict, moralistic, and unwavering in his decision-making. One can easily see the parallels between Angelo and the main Character of The Monk, Ambrosio. Just like Lord Angelo, Ambrosio is a powerful man who is both …show more content…
I really believe it's no coincidence that the opening epigraph of Lewis' one and only novel is from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Or perhaps I am reading too much into the stories. After all, the ends of the two stories couldn’t contrast more. At the end of Measure for Measure, Angelo confesses to his misdeeds, Claudio is pardoned, and the Duke asks Isabella to marry him. (Hurray for rainbows and unicorns!) However, Ambrosio fairs much worse at the end of The Monk: A Romance. He must fervently believe in the old idiom “In for a penny, in for a pound” because even though he starts with sex he continues his slippery slop to murder, to incest, to despair, and eventually damnation.
The second bit of William Shakespeare’s work that Matthew Lewis managed to incorporate in his novel, The Monk is the play Macbeth. And although the parallels of the two stories aren’t as strikingly similar as that between The Monk and Measure for Measure, I assure you, they are there.
In this instance, Lewis draws on Shakespeare for character development more than anything. The similarities between Ambrosio and Macbeth, and Matilda and Lady Macbeth are pretty apparent.
Ambrosio, much like Macbeth is startlingly easy to manipulate. Though he has