The motif of duality in the novel “The Scapegoat” by Daphne du Maurier


The motif of duality in the novel “The Scapegoat” can be traced at different levels of the narrative. First of all, it lies at the heart of the plot about the substitution of heroes. It is important that the emphasis is on their belonging to different nationalities: the Englishman and the Frenchman. Thus, the writer actualizes the problem of the national character, indicating the ways of solving it through the lens of the modernist concept. In the paper, the motif of duality is considered from two perspectives: ontological and axiological. The first is connected with differences in the perception of reality, that is, with specific everyday manifestations, which is the external basis of the plot. The second motif, raising a deep layer, is associated with religious and moral values. Structurally, the text is split into several spatial segments that are important for solving the problem of the hero's self-identification. The paper analyzes three main spatial images associated with various spheres of human life. The analysis of this chronotope allows us to draw an intermediate conclusion concerning the solution of the problem of the national character. Our transformation into a cosmopolitan universal state is suggested as a way out. However, in this novel, the motif of duality defines a deeper religious and moral meaning evident in the title of the work and in the polysemy of this image. In this connection, we analyze the polemical nature of the religious theme of the text, as well as the various stages in the development of the concept “the scapegoat” and its interpretation given in the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. To conclude we note the ambiguity of human nature, not reducible to any national characteristics, and the need to look at human society in a broader way, in the context of supranational concepts.

Key words: 

Daphne du Maurier, English novel, scapegoat, motif of duality, national character.

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