Fifth Business

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Fifth Business

In the novel "Fifth Business", the author Robertson Davies is successfully able to relate both the themes of magic and religion throughout. He achieves this relationship between the themes primarily through the characters and their actions. Dunstan Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Mary Dempster and Liselotte Vitzliputzli all help to illustrate the close relationship between magic and religion. One of the characters that Davies uses to relate the theme of magic and religion is Dunstable Ramsay. Dunny was brought up in a Scottish Presbyterian family in Deptford, Ontario. While in the war, he kept himself busy by reading the New Testament and states "Arabian Nights and the Bible were getting pretty close", referring to both magic and religion. After servicing in the war, Dunstable is renamed Dunstan by Diana after Saint Dunstan. Dunstan's study of saints becomes his passion and he later travels around the world in search of information about several living saints. During his search for saints, Dunstan coincidentally comes across Le grande Cirque forain de St. Vile and Illusions, a circus where Paul Dempster preformed magic. This clearly indicates how Dunstan is related to both magic and religion. Paul Dempster, another character in the novel illustrates the relationship between magic and religion. Paul is the son of Mary Dempster who Dunstan considered to be a saint. His father, Amasa Dempster is the Baptist parson of Deptford and is considered to be religious. After leaving home, Paul joins a travelling circus, becomes a magician, and is later renamed Magnus Eisengrim by Lisel. Along with the idea of magic, Eisengrim's show Soiree of Illusions incorporated themes of myth including Dream of Midas, Vision of Dr. Faust and the Brazen Head of Friar Bacon and wants himself and his illusions "to be marveled at". Eisengrim is later subject of a false autobiography written by Dunstan where Eisengrim is portrayed as a wonderful and mysterious person...
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