The Downfall of Greatness as Depicted in Henry Fielding's Amelia College
Amelia is certainly a change in direction from the writing style Henry Fielding employed in Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews. Gone are the frequent author-as-narrator interjections, as well as much of the comedic relief captured in the later mentioned novels. By veering away from a comedic tone in his writing, Fielding introduces us to more realistic characters through Amelia and Booth. Fielding’s more realistic take on the “domestic sphere” in mid eighteenth century London focuses on the daily struggles within these two character’s marriage, using the fears and uncertainties both Amelia and Booth experience to speak to the unrest felt on a grander, sociopolitical scale by citizens regarding the state of England. In fact, the novel’s underlying tone is that of fear; fear of an unjust social system, and fear of unjust “great” men in power, and fear of submitting the control of one’s own life to that of a Higher Power, as in the case of Booth. The novel distinguishes between great men, who are men of ambition that will manipulate their way into power, and good men, who have kind hearts. Through corrupt and powerful individuals in the novel, Fielding ultimately concludes that men who are “great” are often far from good.
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