Medicine, Miracles and Beyond: The Dichotomy between Science and Supernatural
While some readers argue, that William Somerset Maugham’s novel “The Magician” was concerning its damsel in distress, Margaret Dauncey, I believe the writer emphasized on the conflict between Arthur Burdon and Oliver Haddo. The novel not only discusses the debate between science and supernatural, but also superficiality, innocence, and deception present in the society. The severe personality clash between Burdon and Haddo represents the battle of both worlds; science and occult. I think that Maugham’s portrayal of Crowley or perhaps an omnipotent version of him was done brilliantly by Oliver Haddo: “In early youth, I was told, he was extremely handsome, but when I knew him he had put on weight, and his hair was thinning. He had fine eyes and a way, whether natural or acquired I do not know, of so focusing them that, when he looked at you, he seemed to look behind you.” (Maugham 4) When the four characters had come across Haddo, each had gained their own perspectives about the man. Both Margaret and Arthur found him to be distasteful, and a “charlatan”. Susie was at first quite elated to be in the presence of a magician, she was in fact looking forward to seeing him again. Dr.Porhoët had known him from the beginning, but maintained a fair distance because he knew that the man was truly capable of things beyond imagination. A conceited man with an immense appetite for ambition, he was indifferent about the impact his actions had on the people around him. People not only found his field of work odd but also his appearance: “He was a man of great size; two or three inches more than six feet high; but the most noticeable thing about him was a vast obesity. His paunch was imposing dimensions. His face was large and fleshy.” (The Magician, 25) It was very obvious that he was very egoistic and highly vindictive, and if anyone failed to respect him they would suffer the consequences and...
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