DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE MONK and DRACULA by DR. DONNA FREITAS
1. In your own opinion, which female character in The Monk most embodies a temptress? Matilda? Agnes? Antonia? Explain your choice. What is it about a person/situation, etc. that creates the conditions for temptation? Is the female character you have chosen entirely/partially/not at all responsible for the temptation she provokes? How so? What do you think Lewis is communicating about women through this female character? Please use at least three specific references from The Monk to support your answers.
2. In what way is the book, The Monk about fate? What is the relationship between fate and personal responsibility for one's actions? Please choose two characters from the text to illustrate your answers. Please use at least four specific references from The Monk to support your answers.
3. We discussed extensively in class the role of religion in the text and Lewis' view of religion. What is Lewis' opinion of the religious life (monks, nuns, their vows, etc.)? In what way does Lewis illustrate this view to his reader through the events of the story and its characters?
4. Compare the role of religion in Dracula and religion in The Monk. How are the roles different? Are there any similarities between the two? If each author was making a verdict on the virtue of religion for humanity, based on the two texts, what would you conclude about each author?
5. If there was one thing for Lewis, that would corrupt the soul (as viewed according to Plato), what would that thing be? Is it religion? Lust? Narcissism? Something entirely other? What part or parts of the soul are most corrupted by this thing? How does it draw one away from pursuit of the good and the true?