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The Destructiveness of Heroism

A Prezi about the destructive nature of heroism in context of "The Turn of The Screw".

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of The Destructiveness of Heroism

The Destructive Nature of Heroism in
The Turn of the Screw

The Tragic Flaw

*The tragic flaw of the governess is her desire to be the hero. *
- Assuming the ghosts
are real
Her tendency to take responsibility for problems outside her control without seeking help from the master leads to both her own downfall and that of the children.

-Assuming the ghosts
are not real
Her need to be protector of the children and win the affection of the master blinds her to the reality of the situation: that she is suffocating the children and driving herself to madness.
What's with the Title?
The motion of 'turning the screw' is a metaphor for the control exercised on the governess by the idealistic nature of heroism. Her feelings of responsibility and her self- induced obligation to protect the children is the force that, in the end, drives her insane.... or in other words, 'turns the screw'.
The Governess- Main Points
-She takes on too much responsibility for her state of experience
-Because of her tragic flaw, the Governess fails to be a hero and protect the children
-The Governess' policing has done more harm than good to the children

Heroism- heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end. (Merriam-Webster)
The "Noble End"
The governess keeps the job in order to achieve certain "noble ends":

- She wants to win the master's love/affection
- Infatuation with the hero archetype
- She wishes to be the protector of the children

"But I was in these days literally able to find a joy in the extraordinary flight of heroism the occasion demanded of me. I now saw that I had been asked for a service admirable and difficult;and there would be a greatness in letting it be seen."(James 44)
Reasons why the governess takes on the job:
-The master's attractiveness
- Naivete, idealism; this early characterization the governess indicates her vulnerability, thus foreshadowing the turmoil to come.
The Significance of the Ghosts
If the ghosts
are not real
: ->The governess 'creates' the ghosts as a vehicle to protect the children.
Mrs. Grose is a foil here because she does not attempt to stop the governess,who is apparently insane.

If the ghosts
are real
: ->Mrs. Grose serves as a foil to the governess because she denies seeing the ghosts, and thus denies responsibility for the children's well-being.

"Their uncle must do the preventing. He must take them away."
"And who's to make him?" (James 71)
Miles' Death- The Turn of the Screw (BBC 2009)
-The Governess' instinct to protect the children backfires
-Flora becomes scared of the governess and leaves due to illness
- Miles states, "Peter Quint - you devil" (James 123)
-In the end it can be interpreted that the governess smothered/ suffocated Miles to death.
- "These were the moments I knew myself to catch them up by an irresistible impulse and press them to my heart". (James 57)
The Preface
Full transcript