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Hoffmann's Role In The Lyre Of Orpheus

848 words - 4 pages

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann plays an extremely important role in The Lyre of Orpheus. His character is vital to plot development, character exposition and theme revelation. Hoffmann has no physical role in the story: "sojourning in limbo because he died with his opera incomplete, he looks down on the scene and comments on the performances of the mortals whose activities, he hopes, will get him out of there" (Stewart). Hoffmann's supernatural presence impacts these aspects of the novel. One of the main plot strands of The Lyre of Orpheus "concerns the production of an opera subsidized by the Cornish Foundation - not so much a production, in fact, as the reconstruction and completion ...view middle of the document...

It is through his comments from Limbo that Hoffmann describes Darcourt as an "egotistical jackass": a depiction so direct and controversial, it could not be given by any other character. Later on in the novel, it is Hoffmann again that sheds a different light on the character of Darcourt, and spurs pity for the librettist: "My heart goes out to Darcourt. The life of a librettist is the life of a dog...The librettist must obey the tyrant composer, whose literary taste may be that of a peasant, and who thinks of nothing but his music" (290). Furthermore, Hoffmann's) explains that "in Dr. Gunilla [he] recognizes another Romantic, and though many aspire to that condition, it is a gift of birth, and [they] are few" (154). This description provides valuable insight into Dahl-Soot's character. Hoffmann explains that "theatre people have little reverence - except when they look in the mirror," (151) and thus provides an excellent impartial critic of character. Hoffmann's is essential revealing the theme of the romantic vs. the philistine. Hoffmann is the epitome of this theme; he is a romantic at heart but he battles philistines throughout his life. He writes a "wild autobiographical novel in which half is the work of a Philistine tom-cat, who jeers at everything he held dear...Name of Kater Murr" (36). His...

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