Can Elliott Templeton be considered a Christ-like figure due to the resurrection from materialistic life to spiritual life in W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge? Can we say he resurrected from...

Can Elliott Templeton be considered a Christ-like figure due to the resurrection from materialistic life to spiritual life in W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge? Can we say he resurrected from materialistic life since, on his deathbed, he chose to have Maugham call a priest rather than attend the party that he was originally not invited to and since he was also very considerate?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge, though Elliott Templeton did some very generous things for his family members, one could hesitate to call him a Christ-like figure since he died still holding onto his previous materialistic values. Three pieces of evidence can show us that he died still holding onto his materialistic values: (1) Having the Bishop come to hear his confession was really Joseph's idea, Elliott's servant, not Elliott's idea; (2) he made a rude remark about the princess promptly after confession; and (3) the only reason Elliott did not attend the party was because he was ordered by his doctor to be bed ridden.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the business owned by Isabel's husband Gray Maturin went bankrupt. In contrast, Elliott, Isabel's wealthy uncle, did not suffer at all financially and showed generosity by allowing the couple to live with them in Paris. The couple also saved face by pretending they were there to take care of him. Due to his generosity, the Bishop spoke of Elliott deserving to be forgiven by God, as we see when he remarks to the narrator Maugham:

Our poor friend is very low. His defects were of the surface; he was generous of heart and kindly toward his fellow men.

Hence, we can say that Elliott certainly deserves to be forgiven; Elliott even shows he has been moved by the forgiveness when the narrator reports Elliott's eyes shining immediately after performing the sacrament. But whether or not Elliott has actually been transformed by the forgiveness, which would liken him to Christ, is another matter.

Since Elliott's final words before death are to call the princess "The old bitch," we can see that he still harbors resentment at not having been invited to the party in the first place, which shows he still values materialism. He even still feels it is acceptable to insult someone, which is definitely not a belief one transformed to be Christ-like would hold.

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