One of the features of the composition of the novel is the so-called “framework narrative”. The general plot canvas serves as a frame for numerous false novels. However, in the novel of Maturin, the attentive reader will catch the absolute sequence of the general plot, in which the author does not for one moment lose the thread of the through story and the through design.
The action begins in the autumn of 1816 in Ireland, in the county where the student of the Dublin Trinity College, John Melmoth, comes to visit his dying uncle, or, more simply, to take possession of his estate. The uncle dies, however, in addition to purely practical points, two more properties are mystical: the first is to destroy the portrait hanging in the office with the signature “J. Melmoth,
So, the young Melmoth finds and reads the manuscript belonging, as it turns out, to some Englishman, Stanton, the first of the heroes of the novel, who met on his way a strange and formidable Demon Melmoth wanderer. And after reading in the silence of his uncle’s office the painful and passionate confession of Stanton, John tears off the portrait of his ancestor from the wall and, tearing it to shreds, throws it into the fire. But at night he comes to him with the words: “Well, you burned me, only such a fire does not have the power to destroy me.” I’m alive, I’m here, beside you. ” A terrible
Three years passed, and we meet with Immali in Spain, under the name of Isidora, the daughter of a rich merchant and merchant Don Francisco de Alyaga. But one night, in the light of the moon, Melmoth is again her. “A sad demon, a spirit of exile,” he says to his beloved: “I am instructed to trample down and blossom all the flowers that blossom on earth as well as in the human soul… everything that comes in my way.” Melmoth thus acquires the features of a doomed and wandering wanderer, tormentor and martyr at the same time. Satan and Savior in one person. Disappointed and satiated, he knew the mystery of life and death, the nothingness of the human race and the vanity of everything that exists, and, as a result of this knowledge, rose above the world. Matyurin of Melmoth: “For him there could not have been a greater miracle in the world than his own life, and that lightness,
The next chapter finds us at the inn, where Don Francisco, Isidora’s father, spent the night on his way home. He meets a stranger there who reads a certain manuscript: “A Tale of the Guzman’s Family”. The history of the tragedy of one family, its rise and fall, wealth and poverty. At the most terrible hour before the father of the Wahlberg family is the tempter, “Enemy of the human race,” and “his eyes are so brilliant that people can not bear.” But salvation comes unexpectedly from the other side, and Valberg, even at the price of starving to death of his children, overcomes. The story is over. Don Francisco sinks into a dream, and, having awakened, discovers a man in the room. “Strange guest” shows an unexpected knowledge of the fate of Valberg and his family, although he was not in the room at the time of reading the manuscript. And saying goodbye, he says: ” We’ll see you this evening. “That’s what’s happening: Don Francisco meets a mysterious stranger on his way, hiding in a secluded tavern from the bad weather, they stay together, and the” strange visitor “offers the merchant his story:” A Tale of Two Lovers. ” This time the action takes place in England, the era of the Stuart Restoration, the second half of the 17th century The ancient kind of Mortimer from Shropshire, the legends of the glorious past, the service to the royal house, the love of the surviving descendants of Sir Roger Mortimer, cousin and sister: John Sandel is a warrior, a hero, an angelic youth, and a beautiful Elinor, the story of their tragedy, their wedding, their separation, and again the meeting when John is already insane and Elinor is his nurse. They are very poor. , telling Don Francisco this story, suddenly arises in his narrative: “It was at this time… I happened to get acquainted with… I wanted to say, it was at this time a certain visitor who settled near the village where Elinor lived, several times met them both… “The skill is not expressed again in words, only the priest who appeared a little later,” immediately realized how terrible was their conversation. ” However, the priest then tells Elinor that in the person talking to him he recognized the “Irishman named Melmoth,” whom he had once known to whom he had ceased to meet, realizing that “this is a man devoting himself to diabolical deception, that he is in the power of the Enemy the human race “; some time ago he himself witnessed his death and before he died he told him: ” I am guilty of the great angelic sin: I was proud and imagined too much about the power of my mind! It was the first mortal sin – an unlimited desire for forbidden knowledge! “And now – this man is alive…
But then the stranger begins to tell Don Francisco… his own story, warning: “… do not lose a minute, hurry to save your daughter!” But the merchant did not hurry… The story of Isidore completes the narrative. Nobody knows that she became the “secret wife” of Melmoth. No one knows that she is expecting a baby. And now her father and groom arrive. During the ball Melmoth makes an attempt to escape. In vain. On their way stands the brother of Isidora. After killing him, Melmoth runs alone, cursing those who witness this scene. The fate of Isidora is terrible. She has a daughter, but “the wife of the sorcerer and their damned offspring” is transferred “into the hands of the merciful and holy court of the Inquisition.” The verdict is separation from the daughter. At night, in the cell, the girl dies. On his deathbed, Isidora tells the priest that Melmoth was with her at night.
On this the Spaniard Monsad ends his story. And here before him and John Melmoth the hero himself arises, Wanderer: “Your ancestor has returned home… his wanderings are over! .. I carry away the secret of my destiny… I sowed fear on the ground, but – not evil. people could not be forced to share my fate, it was necessary his consent – and none of them agreed not to give… No creature exchanged fate with the wanderer Melmoth. I went around the world and did not find a single person who, for the sake of in order to possess this world, would agree to ruin his soul. No Sten-son in a house for the insane, neither you, Monsad, in the prison of the Inquisition, nor Valberg, in front of whom his children were dying of hunger, no one else… “
Melmoth sees a prophetic dream of his death. The next day only a handkerchief that he wore around his neck was found on the top of a cliff to which his tracks led. “That was all that was left of him on earth!”