Mordion/Tess

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Mar 11 13:45:16 EST 2000


Aaaaah...Hallie wants intelligent responses from me!  The pressure!  Let me
wade through the tapioca and see what I can come up with.

On Thu, 9 Mar 2000 15:07:59 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

>Some time ago, when we had the Tess of the d'Urbervilles thread, Philip
>commented that having read all the posts about Tess, he thought that most
>of what had been said applied to Mordion as well.  I found this
>fascinating, but wasn't quite sure I got it fully, and thought it was a
>dead cert that someone else would, and would respond.  Didn't happen, but
>the thought has been simmering around on the back-burner since then.  Last
>Sunday in Church we sang a hymn which has the line "Suffering Servant,
>scorned, ill-treated", which really convinced me to try to figure this out.

This is a *really* clever connection to make.  Mordion is definitely a
suffering servant, isn't he?  Setting aside the connection between the
Biblical references and Christ for the moment, there are some remarkable
similarities.  I'm thinking again of the passage in Isaiah, which is in the
end of chapter 52 and all of chapter 53; I mentioned one of the relevant
quotes in my other post, but there's also the bit about how the servant has
no real beauty that makes him desirable (remember the death's head?) as well
as "we did esteem him stricken of God, and smitten" (i.e. a nutcase) and
Mordion is certainly viewed by the Reigners as not fully human, more of a
tool than a person.  I'm sure there's more than this, but I would have to
drag out my Bible, and I know y'all don't want me to go that far.

Now, I don't think this makes Mordion an analogue for Christ.  It's sort of
an extended link:  Mordion--"suffering servant"--Christ, and of course in
Jewish biblical scholarship the suffering servant is interpreted very
differently and that second link wouldn't exist at all.  But it's opened up
an intriguing line of thought for me.  I just wish it had come up about six
months ago, when I could have had a venue for an essay on it.... :)

And I apologize if anyone is offended by my bringing religion into this
forum.  One of the things I studied in college was the Bible as literature,
so my viewpoint is a little different--in my mind there is the Bible as holy
writ and as literary text, both co-existing simultaneously.  But it sounds
strange to some people, particularly religious people.  And the last thing I
want to do is start a religious war here of all places.  So I hope this was
all innocuous and inoffensive....

Hallie, I think you've pretty much covered all the points of similarity
between Tess and Mordion.  I'm glad you put so much thought into it--this is
what discussion is for, after all.  Wonderful!

Melissa Proffitt
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