Date

5-4-2020

Description

François Villon and Emile Zola are two French authors who critiqued society and its structures in their time. Although Villon and Zola are separated by four centuries and by stylistic differences, a theme that is pervasive in each author's writing is that of religious injustice. Both authors suggest that the structure of organized religion in their era creates a false hope in the power of the Church to save humanity. In Zola's novella, L'Inondation [The Flood], his critique is subtle, and the reader is forced to view his work through an allegorical lens to discern his underlying message regarding religion as false salvation. Zola suggests that God does not exist, or that if He does, He is cruel and arbitrary. The allegory of the flood in Zola's story mirrors the biblical flood, in which the Roubieu family strives, but fails, to leap across the rooftops in a desperate attempt to reach the highest point: the church. In contrast, Villon's issues with the Church are expressed in a more personal, direct, and autobiographical form. In his poem Le Grand Testament, Villon critiques the structure of the Church itself and expounds upon how hypocritical members of the clergy have hurt him personally. Unlike in Zola's 19th century view of religion, Villon's medieval view offers no suggestion that God does not exist. Despite his issues with the Church hierarchy, Villon finds solace in God, Christ and the Virgin Mary.

Share

COinS
 
May 4th, 12:00 AM

Representations of Religious Injustice in the Works of François Villon and Emile Zola

François Villon and Emile Zola are two French authors who critiqued society and its structures in their time. Although Villon and Zola are separated by four centuries and by stylistic differences, a theme that is pervasive in each author's writing is that of religious injustice. Both authors suggest that the structure of organized religion in their era creates a false hope in the power of the Church to save humanity. In Zola's novella, L'Inondation [The Flood], his critique is subtle, and the reader is forced to view his work through an allegorical lens to discern his underlying message regarding religion as false salvation. Zola suggests that God does not exist, or that if He does, He is cruel and arbitrary. The allegory of the flood in Zola's story mirrors the biblical flood, in which the Roubieu family strives, but fails, to leap across the rooftops in a desperate attempt to reach the highest point: the church. In contrast, Villon's issues with the Church are expressed in a more personal, direct, and autobiographical form. In his poem Le Grand Testament, Villon critiques the structure of the Church itself and expounds upon how hypocritical members of the clergy have hurt him personally. Unlike in Zola's 19th century view of religion, Villon's medieval view offers no suggestion that God does not exist. Despite his issues with the Church hierarchy, Villon finds solace in God, Christ and the Virgin Mary.