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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 188

The Devil’s Elixirs by E.T.A Hoffman is about Medardus, a member of the clergy, who is arrested for a crime he claims he did not commit. Medardus takes a sip of the Devil’s magic potion, which results in hallucinations. He constantly finds it difficult to accept his identity because he knows that his doppelganger is responsible for the crimes. However, Aurelie becomes a beacon of hope to Medardus. Nonetheless, to protect his family, he has to fight with supernatural forces. The novel is Gothic and gives an in-depth look at the human imagination. Some of the elements that make the novel Gothic are themes such as madness, beautiful women in danger, and superstition.

It was difficult for me to tell the difference between the reality and hallucinations, as the author constantly switches between these two states of mind. Also, I thought Medardus had a psychological disorder. It is noteworthy that the scenes where the monk is hallucinating are the ones that I find the most memorable in the book. Despite the story being interesting, some sentences were hard to understand because of their structure.

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