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Love is a harsh word, and hate comes easy in a tale of deceit and sin. The Midnight Embrace by M.G Lewis focuses on a sequence of events caused by self interest followed by death. The story's main character is Lord Albert whose actions devastatingly interfere with the lives of others. In this story, Albert's role creates a harmful dominoe effect. Not only did he intentionally hurt others, he unrecognizably doomed his own fate. Albert's heart was prone to deceit, which is what drew him to innocent, virtuous, gullible love. Only it wasn't love to Albert.
I believe that after the death of Josephine's parents, she felt lonely and yearned for company. "The remains of the mother of Josephine being decently interred, the sorrowing girl soon felt herself obliged to grant less indulgences to heart grief, that she might toil for each day's bread". Her heart was empty and she needed someone to fill that void. Lord Albert could see she was needy and took advantage of this virgin mind by striking with his deceitful tactics. Not because he loved her, but because he did not want to "..protect her honourably from all the storms of fate, but as a rude spoiler that wantonly plucks the rose from its native branch, and then, regardless of its beauties, casts it on the ground to wither". He gave her misconceptions about his rank, fortune, and connections to keep her even more interested. Albert misconstrued the reasons why he wouldn't marry her, still keeping her seduced. Someone with a nature like Albert can easily pick a weak target, such as Josephine, and keep them attached. Usually guilt is involved or some other form of delusion. Albert married another woman, yet he still misleads Josephine, having more than what he really wants. His careless heart and lies lead to the imprisonment of Josephine. Her heart was a jailed victim charged because of passion and love. In this case, even though Albert was a "wily serpent", I think Josephine was still able to see the truth behind Albert's motives after he married. He continued to feed her with lies, but I think the truth was evident. Since Albert was the first one there to fill that void, I think she disguised the truth by thinking that he was the only one who could be by her side at that time and meet her needs, even though he really wasn't. She was just too lonely and needy to accept the inevitable truth. On page two of the story, Josephine should have been able to notice when Albert only came to visit her at night when no one else would see him. He did that scandalous act even before he was married which lead me to believe he was ashamed and embarrassed of Josephine. "He congratulated himself on being freed from a mistress, whom satiety had for some time past made him detest."
Albert's self interest escalated when it turned into greed. He married lady Guimilda, "The known wealth of the heiress, at first, induced Lord Albert to visit her father's villa; for avarice was a ruling passion with the youth. But when he beheld the haughty fair one, he instantly became a captive to her beauty, and loathed Josephine". Wealth was his main interest in Lady Guimilda before he saw her. That shows again his priorities and how love is last on his list. Josephine's character at this point started to become more irrational. She disguised herself to see what Albert was doing at the castle; before realizing it was his wedding.
Of course news like that is devastating when you think you're in love, but she seems to pity herself wondering how that was possible. All along knowing in the back of her mind he wasn't the man he let off to be. Another clue to discovering Albert's character was when he was leaving his wife to visit Josephine. From that alone Josephine could've seen that he was not an honest man. As the dominoe effect spirals, his deadly promises to Josephine lead to hate. Not only was Josephine feeling hatred from her rival, but after Guimilda found out about Alberts lies, she too felt hate and revenge. "Her revengeful temper made her feel that she should never enjoy perfect happiness while Josephine existed". There is no such thing as perfect happiness to begin with in life. Guimilda's heart was blackend, and she plotted the removal of Josephine. In the end, Albert killed a lonely heart by emotionally depriving her and physically killed her to satisfy a dark mind. I believe Josephine started out as a rational character, but as Albert deprived her of affection, when she was so reliant on it, she became irrationalâ€¦ignoring the truth in front of her. Ultimately, the self seeking man killed himself because of his own self interest.
The human mind is very powerful. We have the ability to make judgements, rash decisions, and make plans. I believe the message Lewis was trying to exclaim here was that sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and don't realize the consenquences. Albert thought everything was going to work out in the end. He used lies to cover more lies, which later on escalated into a ball of harsh emotions. He was brilliant with some of his lies, oh how honest they sounded. He was able to seduce a woman, hurt her heart tremendously, then lure her back in again. What a brilliant mind to be able to twist things around enough to make it work. Albert thought and planned his schemes out well, but he didn't take into account what would happen if he was caught. In the end, good triumphs the bad. The bad will be judged, whether it is in this lifetime or another. Albert received what he had coming to him, death! He took the life out of others, so ultimately, life was taken away from him as well. The famous saying, "you reap what you sow" was true for Albert and is true for anyone else. Lewis also may have used this story as advice for others. Giving a little insight for those who are similar to Albert.