Maugham’s enchanting tale of secrets and fatal attraction The Magician is one of Somerset Maugham’s most complex and perceptive novels. Running through it is the theme of evil, deftly woven into a story as memorable for its action as for its astonishingly vivid characters. In fin de... read more
Margaret and Arthur are an engaged couple living in Paris, planning their wedding when one day their friend, Dr. Porhoet, introduced them to a new acquaintance of his, Oliver Haddo. Oliver claims to be a magician but there is something more to him, something dark that Margaret and Arthur find... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Margaret and Arthur are an engaged couple living in Paris, planning their wedding when one day their friend, Dr. Porhoet, introduced them to a new acquaintance of his, Oliver Haddo. Oliver claims to be a magician but there is something more to him, something dark that Margaret and Arthur find strongly repulsive to them. They continue to interact in several social situations and Arthur and Oliver continually butt heads with each other, eventually leading to a blow-out fight where Arthur strikes Oliver. At first Oliver claims he was in the wrong and deserved it but later he starts working on Margaret's mind and eventually succeeds in controlling her mind and soon her life, stealing her away from Arthur as revenge for the fight. Events spiral down from there as Margaret slowly seems to lose her soul and sense of self.
“Clayton had a vinous nose and a tedious habit of saying brillant things”
“...rudeness is not synonomous with wit”Oliver Haddo
“Her heart was uplifted from the sordidness of earth, and she had a sensation of freedom which was as delightful as it was indescribable. Arthur had never troubled himself with art til Margaret’s enthusiasm taught him that there was a side of life he did not realise. Though beauty meant little to his practical nature, he sought, in his great love for Margaret, to appreciate the works which excited her to such charming ecstasy. He walked by her side with docility and listened, not without deference, to her outbursts”
“The colour of her skin was so tender that it reminded you vaguely of all beautiful, soft things, the radiance of sunset and the darkness of the night, the heart of roses and the depth of running water”
“I have always been interested in the oddities of mankind. At one time I read a good deal of philosophy and a good deal of science, and I learned in that way that nothing was certain. Some people, by the pursuit of science, are impressed with the dignity of man, but I was only made conscious of his insignificance. The greatest questions of all have been thrashed out since he acquired the beginnings of civilisation and he is as far from a solution as ever. Man can know nothing, for his senses are his only means of knowledge, and they can give no certainity. There is only one subject upon which the individual can speak with authority, and that is his own mind, but even here he is surrounded with darkness. I believe that we shall always be ignorant of the matters which it most behoves us to know, and therefore I cannot occupy myself with them. I prefer to set them all aside, and, since knowledge is unattainable, occupy myself with folly”Dr. Porhoet
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