Monks, Religion, and Heaven: A Fatal Mix

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For a society to function properly, hierarchies are established to ensure organization, collaboration, and different levels of authority. While people in positions of power hold many responsibilities, man is still fallible. This inevitable conflict is illustrated when Ambrosio, an idolized member of the church, succumbs to temptation and sins. In Matthew Lewis’ The Monk, Ambrosio’s downfall as an esteemed religious figure depicts the contamination and corruption of a man of God, and by extension, religion as a whole. The dissonance created within Ambrosio in turn jeopardizes a society and its faith in God. Ambrosio was highly praised within the monastery and Madrid for his stainless character, and yet his hypocritical downfall exemplifies the consequences of mixing Heaven and Earth. This results in both a fall of the credibility of Catholic beliefs and a shift towards more secular viewpoints. Even at the start of The Monk, the congregation present for Ambrosio’s sermon in Madrid is full of people from “a city where superstition reigns with such despotic sway…to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt,” there is evidence that corruption is already present in this society (7; vol. 1, ch. 1). But when a religious figure also falls to this level, the atmosphere of a church’s role within society drastically shifts. This shift then jeopardizes the spirituality of the common people because of the church’s influence and its representation of God on Earth. The

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