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The Monk, published in 1796, is a classic Gothic novel. It has all the elements you could want in a novel. A man supposed to be Godly and his downfall, but it also has a beautiful love story to tell, as well.
There are two stories, within the story. The first part of the story is about the monk and how evil ruins his life. The second story is about Agnes. She is a lovely character. I definitely consider her the heroine of the story. When her mother was pregnant with Agnes, she fell ill. She promised to send the child to a convent, if she delivered safely. She did deliver safely and has high hopes that Agnes will become a nun. Agnes, however, falls in love with Raymond and the two plan to elope. Her parents do not want her to get married. Before she and Raymond can elope, she thinks that he has abandoned her. Raymond was in an accident and is injured and can't get to her. Fearing the worse, Agnes joins the convent. While she is there, she discovers she is pregnant with Raymond's child. She goes to confession with the monk, who sends her away for punishment. The head sister locks her in a dungeon and only gives her enough food to survive. Agnes goes into premature labor and her baby dies. She thinks she is going to die as well, but Raymond finds her and the two are finally able to be together.
Agnes is the heroine of this story, because she has a will to live. She fights to marry the man she loves, and fights to save her life. Everything horrible is thrown at her, but she overcomes them all, and finds her happy ending. Like most Gothic novels, her character is seen as almost fragile, until the odds are stacked against her. She loves only one man and if she can't be with him, then she will be with no one. Her love for Raymond saves them both.
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