The Theme Of Saints In Robertson Davies' Fifth Business

523 words - 2 pages

The marvelous story of saints is one of the leading themes in Fifth Business. As the author Robertson Davies develops this theme through Dunstan’s journey into hagiology, he often uses certain saints such as Saint Dunstan, as allusions. Among the Saints that the novel refers to, Saint Paul is the perfect allusion that portrays the character of Paul Dempster since the two share strong similarities in their lives. Additionally, Saint Paul foreshadows Dunstan’s encounter with Paul Dempster.
Saint Paul’s life is similar to Paul Dempster’s life in many ways. Both of them develop their hatred from an early age. Saint Paul was a Jewish student who hated Christians whom he believed to be infidels. As he grows in status, he assists in persecuting them. Similarly, Dempster has an abhorrence for his mother and her inanity which made him the laughingstock in his town. He penalizes his mother for causing him to endure such ignominy by running away.
Furthermore, their display of hatred also leads them to attain and sustain a second life. Saint Paul and Paul Dempster are both reborn in their lifetime. Before converting to Christianity, when he followed Judaism, Saint Paul’s original name was Saul. One day, he meets God incarnate and listens to His voice saying: “By persecuting Christians, you are persecuting the Messiah.” After hearing this, he becomes blind. Through this miraculous event, he is born again as a Christian with fervent faith; he receives a baptism and changes his name to Paul to reflect his new persona. In the same way, when Dempster’s father tells him that his birth...

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