Guilt In Charles Brockden Browns’ Wieland

1002 words - 4 pages

Guilt in Charles Brockden Browns’ Wieland

There are many ways to decide what makes a man guilty. In an ethical sense, there is more to guilt than just committing the crime. In Charles Brockden Browns’ Wieland, the reader is presented with a moral dilemma: is Theodore Wieland guilty of murdering his wife and children, even though he claims that the command came from God, or is Carwin guilty because of his history of using persuasive voices, even though his role in the Wieland family’s murder is questionable? To answer these questions, one must consider what determines guilt, such as responsibility, motives, consequences, and the act itself. No matter which view is taken on what determines a man’s guilt, it can be concluded that Wieland bears the fault in the murder of Catharine Wieland and her children.

To any religious person, hearing a command from the voice of their god is reason enough to carry out the proposed action, but in the case of Wieland, a third party must take a deeper look at such a command from a God whose known character does not line up with the order He supposedly gives. This makes Wieland’s motivation questionable, especially to those who believe that a man’s motive determines a man’s guilt. In his testimony to the court, Wieland, a pious man, reveals his motive in the murders as he recounts God as saying, “‘Thy prayers are heard. In proof of thy faith, render me thy wife. This is the victim I chuse. Call her hither and here let her fall’” (190). Being a devout Christian, it is very likely that Wieland would be familiar with the Ten Commandments listed in Deuteronomy 5, and specifically, verse 17 which states, “You shall not murder”. Though in Isaiah 55:8 the Lord tells Christians to not assume His plans or how He works as He says “‘…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…’”, it is relevant that not one instance in the Bible can be found where the God has a man prove his faith by carrying out a murder against a people who have not greatly sinned against the Lord. Therefore, Wieland’s supposed holy motivation of pleasing the Lord is discounted by his ignorance of the nature of God. Though Wieland’s actions follow a desire to please the Lord, one must question why Wieland did not stop to consider such an illegitimate command.

Though an argument can be made that an action’s results, or consequences, not motives, determine a man’s guilt, Wieland can still be shown guilty. In describing how he murdered Catharine, Wieland says, “‘Thrice I slackened my grip, and life kept its hold, though in the midst of pangs. Her eye-balls started from their sockets. Grimness and distortion took place of all that used to bewitch me into transport…’”, thus showing that Catharine’s brutal murder one of the...

Find Another Essay On Guilt in Charles Brockden Browns’ Wieland

"Goodman Brown": Essay

758 words - 4 pages the woods with a new companion that enlightens him of the problems in his community. The problem being that he is not the only one to travel with the companion, and that means that nothing is just as he thought. Goodman Brown proves that it is through his own sin and guilt that he is able to see the sin within his community, past and present. In the short story, the realization that Goodman Browns family is not as pure as he thought comes about

Sin And Guilt Essay

1044 words - 5 pages world has change the abilities for humans to feel guilt has not. The movie, Quiz Show, captivates the portrayal of guilt in the eyes of Charles Van Doran and the agreements me makes throughout the television show. In the beginning, the producers simply ask him questions he already knew the answer to. This slowly evolved to Charles knowing the questions prior to the show’s airing. The first sin was agreeing to lie to the public eye. With money coming

Brown's Fall

2136 words - 9 pages to establish themselves firmly in the New England area during this movement. Religions started to hold revival meetings in towns to enlist more people to their cause. If there was enough support for that particular religion a church would be erected in the town. This movement had a profound influence on Hawthorne's writing. Nathaniel Hawthorne had a deep mistrust in the religious movement. That mistrust of religion and his personal sense of guilt

Oliver Twist, By Charles Dickens. Did Oliver Twist live in an uncharitable society?

1213 words - 5 pages In Charles Dickens's Oliver twist, Oliver is said to have lived in a cruel and uncharitable society. I agree with this statement. In Oliver's society people look down on the poor and do not pity others. They are greedy, self-centered and do not feel any guilt in leaving people starving or dying. Charles Dickens tries to describe a poor child's life in the times that the poor laws were being introduced. From this description one can assume that

My veiw on Creation/Evolution

2191 words - 9 pages Throughout the years, people like Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein have stirred the minds of the public and shaped their views of science. In fact, they've shaped the entire lifestyle of the world of today. People like Robert Gentry and Russell Humphreys are quickly pushed from the public's mind because they dare to challenge the popular views. The Creation vs. Evolution debate has sparked many a fight and forced the public to pick sides. In

Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

1651 words - 7 pages because the monster educates himself by reading Paradise Lost, Plutarch?s Lives, and Sorrows of Werter. Critics also point out slight influences of John Locke, Cervantes, Charles Brockden Brown, and Rousseau in Frankenstein (Shelley xxxii- xxxv). The intellectual stimulation in Mary?s life does not end when she leaves home and marries the well-respected poet, Percy Shelley. Part of her inspiration for Frankenstein comes from listening to a

Concept of Anger

1825 words - 8 pages : Part 1- from trephination to lobotomy. Surgical Neurology International, 4, 49. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.110146 Fitchett, G., Rybarczyk, B., DeMarco, G., & Nicholas, J. (1999). The role of religion in medical rehabilitation outcomes . Rehabilitation Psychology, 1999(4), 333-353. Orth, U., & Wieland, E. (2006). Anger, hostility, and posttraumatic stress disorder in truama-exposed adults: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

concience of guilt vs a guilty concience

797 words - 4 pages arresting officer stated that upon asking Simmons where his family was, a tear welled in his eye but never formed or fell. Charles Manson still proclaims his innocence while Ronald Simmons never offered any explanation of his actions. Neither of the two examples of conscious guilt showed nor has shown any sign of remorse or sorrow for the crimes committed. This leads some to wonder what their conscience was or do they have one at all. One can argue

Agression in males

3997 words - 16 pages The case study "Songs My Mother Taught Me" discusses a boy named Charles who at first glance, looks like an ordinary, nice, charming young man. However his appearance is only skin deep, one would never assume just by looking at him that he is a cold -blooded killer. In a random town, on a random day, A door to door sales girl came to Charles' home selling religious materials. Ten minutes later she was dead; bludgeoned on the head with a hammer

Psychoanalytical Criticism Of “Young Goodman Brown”

911 words - 4 pages to fulfill repressed desires and unlock the id. Brown's observance of the secret dark nature of those people from his town whom he meets in the forest is curiously devoid of revulsion. This would seem to suggest that he is rationalizing his own repressed sexuality and assuaging his feelings of guilt by projecting his own deeply repressed id onto the most respected townspeople, such as Goody Cloys, the catechism teacher, who is portrayed as a

The Lipizzan

805 words - 3 pages intelligence. Maximillian II brought the Spanish horses to Austria about 1562 and founded the court stud at Kladrub. His brother, Archduke Charles established a similar stud with Spanish stock in 1580 at Lipizza near the Adriatic Sea. From the Lipizza stud farm, came the name Lipizzan. Both studs flourished, the Kladrub stud became known for its heavy carriage horses while the Lipizza stud produced riding horses and light carriage horses. However, the two

Similar Essays

Perception And Knowledge In Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland

1484 words - 6 pages Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland is a novel that was written as a reaction to the author’s thoughts and observations of the political climate of the time, says Emory Elliot in his introduction to the work. He also notes that Brown asserted “the nation’s leaders were the ones who most needed to read fiction because the best novels most effectively portray the realities of the human condition” and that “serious novels would challenge the most

Poe And Brown Essay

1411 words - 6 pages Charles Brockden Brown wrote the first American Gothic novel, Wieland: or, The Transformation: An American Tale and laid the foundation for American Gothic literature. Despite such a notable achievement, Brown is far from being the most well-known American Gothic writer. In fact, the most well-known American Gothic writer, and arguably the most well-known Gothic writer worldwide, is Edgar Allan Poe. It may be strange that the creator of American

The Subversive History Of American Gothic

1235 words - 5 pages . Though however different these authors’ works seem to be, the major common element they all seem to share is the way in which the author uses gothic elements to subversively expose the underlying fears held by them of the dominant ideology of society or exposing the truth behind the history. Like Horace Walpole for British gothic, Charles Brockden Brown is claimed to be the first to produce the American gothic novel and “profoundly influenced the

The Occult In A Tale Of The Ragged Mountains

592 words - 2 pages simple hoax." All of the characters in the story are deceived, as is the reader of the tale if he "misses the clues and takes the psychological tale as a supernatural one." Poe has written the tale as a psychological thriller, not an eerily spooky, other-worldly story. Also supporting this idea of the story being a hoax is the fact that there are numerous similarities between this story and one by Charles Brockden Brown titled "Edgar Huntley
stella71 | Voice Changer - Funny sound effects Pro APK | Development of Personal Computers - 2518 Words