Why is Pascual Duarte so violent

Why is Pascual Duarte so violent?

The inquiry refers to the chief character in the seminal Spanish novelThe Family of Pascual Duarte, considered by many literature bookmans to be 2nd merely to Cervantes’Don Quixotein the history of great Spanish novels.

The Family of Pascual Duarte, written by Camilo Jose Cela, was published in 1942, which coincidently was the same twelvemonth Albert Camus’The Strangerwas released. Both novels were black speculations on the nihilistic elements of existential philosopher doctrine taken to violent extremes. Pascual Duarte, the murderous anti-protagonist of Cela’s novel, was born into low poorness and his deficiency of empathy, deficiency of conventional ethical motives, and religious emptiness are portrayed by Cela as a direct of that poorness and the attendant ignorance and hatred that frequently goes manus in manus with it. This is an of import differentiation fromThe Stranger, which told the narrative of a similar anti-protagonist but was framed as a general commentary about the inanity of modern being. Inasmuch as either novel can be considered hopeful in any sense,The Family of Pascual Duarteat least frames Pascual Duarte’s corruption as a consequence of specific fortunes and non an necessarily cosmopolitan character shortage. Duarte is a victim of destiny, a monster who does non be in a vacuity, but a monster created by a vacuity of morality and hope.

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Pascual Duarte’s reaction to his environment is utmost, nevertheless, by any step, and leads the reader to inquire why he is so barbarous in his force. The grounds are varied ; Duarte is violent in portion because his character is a strikingly existent word picture of the type of pathological personality subsequently described in scientific manner by psychologists, and inasmuch as this is true, the novel is an geographic expedition of the monstrous environment that produced him. He is besides violent because Cela was stylistically inclined to violence to direct his greater messages ; this novel in fact is frequently considered to be the get downing point oftremendismo, a startling manner of composing stressing vividly violent and monstrous imagination.

Among Duarte’s notable ferociousnesss are the violent death of his hapless favored Canis familiaris, the stabbing of one of his romantic challengers, and the barbarian slaughter of his ain female parent. He recounts all of these flooring Acts of the Apostless from a prison cell in which he awaits executing for his offenses. His confessional is both childlike in tone and jolting in its honestness: “There are minutes when the relation of my ain narrative gives me the most honest of honest pleasances, possibly because I feel so far removed from what I am stating that I seem to be reiterating a narrative from rumor about some unknown person.” ( Cela, p. 45 ) Though this is a normally cited quotation mark from the novel, this fact does non decrease the quote’s significance. Between what the indignities he suffered turning up and the ghastly crimes he commits in a reaction to them, Duarte / Cela has managed to absolutely and cannily depict what psychological scientific discipline would – decennaries subsequently — term ‘disassociation.’ Briefly, disassociation describes a physical and/or emotional province in which a individual who has undergone traumatic experiences ( whether their beginnings are self-inflicted or inflicted by external state of affairss or individuals ) becomes unable to experience or feel ownership of one’s ain organic structure, head, or emotions. This is normally found in instances of post-traumatic emphasis upset, in which combat veterans or victims of violent offense are frequently unable to experience like themselves and when remembering or trying to remember the injury, are either unable to make so, or in making so, the experience is so psychologically hard for the mind that the individual recalls the experience as if it happened to person else or the memory is fictional. Clearly, Pascual Duarte has suffered from post-traumatic emphasis perturb his full life, non merely in the gaol cell, and is and has been numb. Ironically, the numbness activates an even deeper desire to experience something, anything, which frequently leads a individual to move out psychologically in suicidal Acts of the Apostless designed to arouse esthesis or emotion at any cost – and sometimes these Acts of the Apostless are violent in nature. Duarte’s violent death of his female parent may good be interpreted as an act of ghastly retaliation for her maternal awkwardness and disregard, but it is besides an effort to do himself experience: “The twenty-four hours I decided I would hold to utilize my knife on her, I was so weary of it all, so positive in my castanetss that bloodletting was the lone remedy, that the idea of her death did n’t even accelerate my pulse.” ( Cela, p. 57 ) It is likely that Duarte was lying to himself in claiming the idea of her deceasing did non arouse any physical reaction, as his despairing fatigue and splanchnic strong belief that force was the lone redress to his feelings are what drives him to perpetrate the savageness. His deep fury, so, is so prodigious that it merely can non be contained within the confines of his ain head, organic structure, or emotions – it has to happen voice in an external action of such ferociousness that it matches the deformed, malignant magnitude that he perceives to be “in his bones.”

Pascual Duarte’s force is besides a reaction against his falling through the clefts of the web of promises made to us by the modern conventional constructions of civilisation – democracy, equal rights, economic chance through capitalist economy. The landscape of poorness described by Cela is one in which citizens are expected to adhere to the regulations of civilised society without being afforded its chances. In his ain distorted manner, Duarte gives voice to the fact that there is no peculiar ground to be a good individual if there are no wagess for being so: “I am non, sir, a bad individual, though in truth I am non missing in grounds for being one.” ( Cela, p. 17 ) He perceives himself a victim of circumstance, his force being possessed of inherently palliating context, and hence, he is possibly non rather as responsible. ( This may besides be considered another manner in which Duarte has disassociated – he is possibly unable to comprehend himself as a bad individual because the bad things he has done and the bad things that have happened to him are excessively much for his mind to accept squarely. )

In a metaphysical sense, it is widely believed that Cela’s purpose in the novel was to in some ways agree with Duarte’s remark above ; Cela’s purpose was to demo that Pascual Duarte was a victim of destiny and that no affair how hideous his offenses, their moral bankruptcy was ameliorated because he ne’er was rather in full control of his ain fate, which of class leads to the inquiry: “… can we penalize Pascual, or any adult male in a similar state of affairs, for killing so many people sing that it is fate that controls his actions and non himself? Cela explains that although life is inherently bad, people are inherently good.” ( Skorker, 2003 ) Is this true? Again, developments in psychological science in the intervening decennaries since Cela’s authorship of the novel have proven informative. Extensive psychological profiling of consecutive slayers has shown that a about cosmopolitan forecaster of future homicidal urges is early violent and/or cruel behaviour towards animate beings. Duarte kills his Canis familiaris, of class, and it is surely plausible that he non been incarcerated and sentenced to decease himself, that he may hold continued killing. Condemnable psychologists further believe that there is by and large no remedy for the abnormal psychology that defines a consecutive killer’s head, whatever the tragic fortunes that precipitated his behaviour ; in other words, he is fated to be what he is. Duarte seems to hold with this: “…since we are non given a pick, but instead destined — even from before birth — to travel some of us one manner, some the other, I did my best to accept my destiny, which was the lone manner to avoid desperation.” ( Cela, p. 26 ) Interestingly, Duarte, monstrous as he may look, is really seeking to happen some sense of self-respect and value in his ain suffering-addled being. He comes to a certain point in his internal battles where he realizes that he can either seek in vain to populate up to the criterions of moral goodness required of us by society, which will finally take to failure and wretchedness at his self-disappointment, or he can merely accept his fate as a broken and violent adult male and see the freedom of traveling with the proverbial flow. While this thought procedure implies a pick inasmuch as Duarte appears to be choosing for the way of least wretchedness, Cela makes it clear through his relentless contemplations on destiny in the novel that he feels Duarte ne’er truly had any pick but to choose for the violent and barbarous class of action that he finally picked. This is a calamity, but besides a barbarous world that Cela demands both Duarte and reader come to footings with, upseting as it may be. Sometimes, a monster can non assist but be a monster, even if he urgently wishes he were non, any more than the self-evident tiger can non alter his chevrons.

Does this shrive Duarte of his offenses? Objectively, there is no manner to state for certain as this is a philosophical, moral, and metaphysical issue, non a literature-criticism inquiry. But clearly, Cela is inclined to believe in Duarte’s overall artlessness, as he wrote Duarte’s character to be self-conscious of his errors and childlike in his self-contemplation and self-description, all presumptively intended to breed understanding for the Satan, as it were. It is stating, nevertheless, that Duarte himself has a thought about the philosophical argument his fortunes might breed: “ … I ‘m non made to philosophise, I do n’t hold the bosom for it. My bosom is more like a machine for doing blood to be spilt in a knife battle… ” ( Cela, p. 32 ) Possibly this is an reliable idea, or possibly it was simply representative of Cela’s preference for flooring composing that led the novel to be banned for what appeared to be gratuitous force – in retrospect, it seems Spain was either unable or willing to face its ain darkest societal devils, the monstrous human effects of the sordidness in its rural countries. Cela, nevertheless, was non.

Ultimately, the eerie truth with which Cela described, both in third-person and first-person narrative, the mentality and psychological science of a condemnable head driven to force and horror by force and horror itself, requires us to reply the inquiry of why Pascual Duarte was so violent by acknowledging that he was in fact a true representation of what happens to human existences when a modern society abuses them either from disregard or maltreatment. On the other manus, one can non disregard the stylistic inclinations exhibited by Cela in most all of his literary plants. What they tended to hold in common was a witting purpose to floor and upset. To the extent that this is true, Cela certainly went out of his manner to overstate and overemphasise the dismaying behaviour and ideas of his characters, and to further muddy the philosophical Waterss by induing characters such as Duarte with a maddening set of contradictory personality traits. While it is possible that a nonfiction individual resembling Duarte may good hold possessed the capacity for soft self-contemplation alongside barbarian force, it is besides wholly likely that Cela carefully interwove these traits into the fictional character of Pascual Duarte to coerce his readers to cope with the hard philosophical inquiries of the effects of the experiential quandary on those unfortunate psyches abandoned by the promises and idealism of modern civilisation. In short, Pascual Duarte is so violent because Cela felt an jussive mood to floor his readers into understanding truths that were as vividly barbarous as Duarte himself.


Cela, Camilo Jose ( interlingual rendition by Anthony Kerrigan ) .The Family of Pascual Duarte, Dalkey Press, 2004 Printing.

Cela, Camilo Jose .La Familia de Pascual Duarte,Fernandez Editores Publishers, 1990.

Skorker, Michael. “El Destino y la Vida Humana nutLa familia de Pascual Duarte, ” Salem State College Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 2, 2003.


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