by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone Theme of Religion
Religion is an important part of the daily lives of most of the characters in The Moonstone, as it was for most English people in the nineteenth century. But of course there are degrees: both Rachel and her mother, Lady Verinder, are Christian and members of the Church of England. But their relative, Miss Clack, is convinced that they're going to go to hell unless they convert to her branch of Christianity (an extremely evangelical form of Methodism). Godfrey Ablewhite is very vocal about his faith, as well. But both Ablewhite and Miss Clack are total hypocrites. In the world of The Moonstone, it seems that those who talk about their religion all the time are more likely to be hypocrites about it.
Questions About Religion
- Which characters are most openly religious, and what are their religious leanings? What does religion prompt them to do?
- Which characters have the most strongly held morals? Note that it's not the same list. What might this suggest?
- Would you argue that Betteredge's reliance on Robinson Crusoe for guidance and comfort constitutes a religion? Why or why not?
- Collins seems most critical of characters who are religious hypocrites, like Miss Clack and Godfrey Ablewhite. What other kinds of hypocrisy are discussed in the novel?
Chew on This
Characters in The Moonstone who flaunt their religious faith are the most likely to be hypocritical. Collins seems to condemn evangelism in favor of a more private morality.