Study Guide

The Mysteries of Udolpho Justice and Judgment

By Ann Radcliffe

Justice and Judgment

When Agnes says that the guilty will not go unpunished, we start to believe her. She's pretty convincing with all that over-the-top sermonizing and intense eye contact. And actually, she's right on the money. All of Montoni's misdeeds catch up to him in a big way when he sips a cup of poison (though the book leaves his end a littleā€¦ well, open-ended). And Agnes herself seems to think that she's got a fiery hell waiting for her on the other side.

If there's anything The Mysteries of Udolpho is pretty clear on, it's that the baddies will get what's coming to 'em. The Provencal Tale says it all: the ghost of the murdered knight will rain vengeance upon his killers (see our "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" section for more). Things don't bode too well for the real murderers of Udolpho.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. Is justice really served to Signora Laurentini? Do you think she should have received a harsher punishment?
  2. In the end, is Montoni really punished for his own actions or those of his friends?
  3. Why include The Provencal Tale in the book? Does it give us a sense of how justice is carried out?
  4. If all bad deeds are punished in Udolpho, are all the good ones rewarded?

Chew on This

Whoever's doling out the judgment is actually pretty merciful to the baddies of the book: Signora Laurentini and Montoni certainly have to deal with their consciences, but there's no extended punishment inflicted upon them.

Emily really doesn't concern herself much about justice. She's much more focused on securing a good future for her family.

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