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The Vicar of Wakefield


Works of Literature are often examined thematically through characters, settings, and events. This method of analysis enables the reader to obtain intimacy with novels or plays, thus extracting their very essence. The themes of deception along with love and affection manifest themselves in The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith.

The merchant investor exhibits qualities of deception in the novel. The merchant tells Dr. Charles Primrose that he will manage his money, invest it safety, and grow his wealth. In reality, the merchant has other plans. This writer suspects that the merchant's mother died or does not wish to support him because there is no mention of her throughout the entire novel. The merchant's father could have been a single parent with little income to support the merchant. The merchant and his father could have one of the many problems that lead up to thievery such as bad economic times or poor education; this may have forced his father to crime. This same scenario is similar to what other people where dealing with at that time. Stealing Dr. Primrose's wealth could have been a new thing for the merchant because he gets captured. This is most likely true because, when the merchant was young his father did all the stealing so, when the merchant's father stopped raising him, he had no money and he did not have any skills in stealing.

The merchant seems to lack the since of subtlety that professional thieves have. It is very likely if the merchant just traveled a vast distance away from the town, the merchant would have never have been caught due to the poor "police" types of services that the eighteenth century England had. The merchant is a very deceptive man, he lies to his customers, sells his services at a higher than usually price, and he has a very thought out poker face. For example, he tells a customer that their money is well invested area with no signs of failure. A short while later, when the customer is not "looking", the merchant steals the customer's entire assets and skips town.

Squire Thorn-hill demonstrates traits of deception in the novel. This writer speculates that Thorn-hill must have been in many battles. Thorn-hill got his "Squire" title and his wealth from those battles and suspects that Thorn-hill's father is in the military which could be why Thorn-hill has his title. Thorn-hill's father was a true noble parent because he followed the strict guidelines of being a knight and since he is constantly fighting in battles, he does not have time to raise Thorn-hill properly. This writer speculates that his father tried to enroll him in the military to teach him proper etiquette but he must have gotten too busy to monitor his progress.

Thorn-hill's mother died or does not wish to support him because there is no mention of her throughout the entire novel. The reason why Thorn-hill is a very corrupt individual is because he was never taught common courtesies such as charity. Thorn-hill's main goal is to gain more and more wealth. Thorn-hill's need for wealth will never be cured. Thorn-hill developed his morals through the only influence he got which is the greed someone gets with endless wealth and power. If family intervention was done when Thorn-hill was a child, he would have came out to be a well respected and non-corrupt individual. After all of these years of being poorly raised, Thorn-hill is now known as a womanizer. He spends all his days looking at woman instead of working.

The novel takes place in a large town where merchants sell goods and wares at jacked up prices. A price war happens every day on the streets just so the merchants can make a living. To make things worse, England passed the sugar, stamp, and navigation acts raising the price of high cost goods and services even more. Merchants would have to stay open late in the poorly lit, terrible quality, dangerous streets to sell goods. The streets always reeked of old food and waste because it is thrown out of windows daily. This happened because the people have no other spot to put it. This is done daily and left there.

The city's over crowdedness and high rate of unemployment causes pick pockets to fill the streets during the day and muggers to fill the streets during the night. The buildings along the streets are tightly packed together and more than one family has to live in a house.

The novel takes place in a large town where Knights and Nobles have their own house. They live in the life of luxury with no care about the merchants at all. Their house is filled with fancy carpet, soft beds, large kitchen table, and dining room table. Also, stylish plates, private bedrooms, luxuriously designed couches, large family meals, a fire place, and popular books. These high position people usually got their home and wealth through inheritance, greed, and trickery.

The Merchant gained Dr. Charles trust through some success then when Dr. Charles Primrose was busy with other matters concerning his family the merchant took all of Dr. Charles Primrose's money and skipped town. The merchant was not found until later, but before the Merchant was found, Dr. Charles Primrose was forced to go to Debtors Prison because his money got stolen and he could not pay his bills. Meanwhile, the merchant is living the life of luxury wasting Dr. Charles's wealth on pointless commodities not caring about what state he could have left Dr. Charles in. While in the prison Dr. Charles enjoyed the peacefulness the prison brought but at the same time, missed his home. He found the place to be very tranquilly but while in there Dr. Charles was informed of his daughter, Olivia, death.

Then, fortune came on his side when the merchant who ran off with all of Dr. Charles Primrose money is discovered. The merchant's belonging were all sold off and the merchant was forced to return all of Dr. Charles Primrose's wealth. The merchant does not even so much as apologize for his hurtful act. Dr. Charles Primrose fortune returning enabled him to pay off his debts and leave the Debtors Prison. Later, he discovered that his daughter, Olivia, was still alive so he went out to find her and found her hiding from Mr. Burchell. Olivia informed him that those two got married by a black scoundrel who had done this same thing for Mr. Burchell six other times. At first everyone thought that the fact that Olivia was now married ruined the marriage plans between Farmer Williams and Olivia but then, they discovered that the black scoundrel had preformed an illegal marriage and Mr. Burchell and Olivia were not really married. In the end, Olivia heart was stolen by Squire Thorn-hill and those two where eventually married.

Squire Thorn-hill did not have much to do during his day so; he visited Dr. Charles Primrose and his family's home quiet frequently. Throughout all of his trips he really developed no quality of care for Dr. Charles Primrose; he really cared about his daughter Olivia. When Squire Thorn-hill heard the news that Dr. Charles Primrose wealth had been stolen by his merchant he was immediately concerned about getting his rent money, he told Dr. Charles Primrose he could still stay there as long as he got his rent. After a short time, Dr. Charles Primrose could not afford to pay his rent and was sent to debtors' prison. After Dr. Charles Primrose wealth returned, he was able to pay back Squire Thorn-hill. Oliver Goldsmith leaves the impression that Squire Thorn-hill did not like Dr. Primrose so; he burned down Dr. Charles Primrose's home.

In the end, Squire Thorn-hill forced Dr. Primrose to pay his entire rent even though Dr. Primrose and his family just lost all their belongings in the house fire. Squire Thorn-hill was a much embellished individual and the fact that he was so determined to get money out of Dr. Primrose after that horrific event, shows how corrupt he really is.

Olivia exhibits qualities of love and affection in the novel. Olivia is a well raised girl, she is raised to be polite and curiosity to all. Olivia keeps herself well kept and has a very strong image of beauty. This writer suspects that Olivia's mother must have been well raised because she does a fine job of teaching her daughters to be lady like. For example, Olivia's mother would tell her to not burp out loud. When Olivia was growing up, she could expect daily love from both of her parents. They cared for her deeply and wanted to make sure she had a bright future.

Olivia's mother teaches her to watch who she picks when it comes to a relationship. Olivia's mother talked to Olivia about crushes. When Olivia starts to like a guy, this writer predicts that Olivia's mother would tell her to get to know the guy before the relationship got serious. This is only to protect her from people like Squire Thorn-hill, men who just want to have sex and leave, in the world. Her mother has gone through many troubling relationships because she strongly enforces these rules.

Squire Thorn-hill exhibits qualities of love and affection in the novel. He marries Olivia because of her strong image of beauty and not for her caring personality. From the day they met, they were greatly in love. Squire Thorn-hill has had a troubling relationship life, he can never be satisfied with who he has. He wants more and more from a relationship. He has married and divorced four to five women. He is an individual who does not settle down easy because when he was a child, his mother is dead or did not care enough to raise him.

Due to this fact, he was never taught how to appreciate woman and their inner beauty so, he mistreats the women he marries and later divorces them. In the novel, he is seen as a womanizer but toward the end of the novel this title is slightly alleviated because he is going to marry Olivia. Oliver Goldsmith stops after Squire Thorn-hill gets married so it is uncertain if he learned how to appreciate woman and their personality or if he continued his old ways.

The novel takes place in a luxurious area because Dr. Charles Primrose has an enormous quantity of wealth. Their home is has two stories and many wings. Their house is filled with fancy carpet, soft beds, large kitchen table, and dining room table. They have a wooden porch and an enormous back yard. Also, stylish plates, master bedroom, luxuriously designed arm chairs, large family meals, a stone fire place, and an elaborate array of books. They also have a baby's bed room for when the children were younger.

Squire Thorn-hill lives in a city type of setting, there are many buildings around where he lives. He owns many tightly packed buildings in the city. The buildings are poor quality but, he charges a reasonable amount for rent. In the buildings the wall paper is torn down, there is water damage, wood damage, old furniture, and a lack of sanitation. This is mainly due to the fact there is no location to store his waste. He lives in his one story house. That has designer couches, many books, many private bedrooms, a master bed room, large kitchen filled with silverware, family room with a couch, arm chairs, and a stone fire place.

Squire Thorn-hill gains Olivia's trust through frequent visits to her home. He finds Olivia to be quiet attractive. The moment Olivia see Thorn-hill she is instantly taken in by his hollow charm. Thorn-hill acts polite to get on Olivia's pleasant side. At first Olivia cannot marry Thorn-hill because she is being force, by her father, Dr. Charles Primrose, to marry Farmer Williams to make family connections. Farmer William agreed only because Dr. Charles Primrose was rich and since his merchant investor swindled all of his wealth, the marriage was canceled. Later, Burchell tries to marry Olivia by force and she does not like him at all. Olivia runs away from Burchell. This event stressed Olivia out greatly so, Thorn-hill comes over and attempts to comfort her. Olivia is greatly moved by Thorn-hill's kindness and asks to marry him.

On many days, Squire Thorn-hill visits Olivia at her father's house. Every day was the same routine. He would come in the afternoon, spend hours upon hours at their home, then go home and come back and visit the next day. While there, Squire Thorn-hill would just talk to Olivia in a flirting manner for hours. They would discuses many topics from everyday chatting to marriage. Olivia loved Squire Thorn-hill because of his smooth talking voice and he loved her because of her vast conflictions. Squire Thorn-hill and Olivia can be compared to two love birds. They secretly hated to be separated but, they would not let each other know that. They both had the attitude where they wanted the other person to announce, "I love you," first. Eventually they got married.

Oliver Goldsmith uses deception along with love and affection to allow the reader to gain a care for the novel. These themes are unraveled through the use of characterization, setting, and events. This enables the reader to grasp how extravagant this famous novel truly is.

Work Cited

"The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith. Search, Read, Study, Discuss." The Literature Network: Online classic literature, poems, and quotes. Web. 09 Jan. 2010.

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