Study Guide

The Mysteries of Udolpho Perseverance

By Ann Radcliffe

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There are plenty of times in The Mysteries of Udolpho when Em would rather throw in the towel than stick out another day at Montoni's creepy castle. But she does it because she's a plucky heroine—and because, let's face it, she has no choice.

Perseverance is also pretty familiar to Valancourt and Du Pont, both of whom have what it takes to stay strong for their girl. Du Pont languishes in a dungeon just to get a glimpse of Em's pretty face, while Valancourt refuses to accept that he's missed his chance with the gal of his dreams. In fact, Valancourt's perseverance in loving Em is what finally convinces us he's a decent guy. Like the narrator says at the book's end, but Em and Valancourt ended up with each other because they're so dang stubborn.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Whose perseverance doesn't pay off in the book? Why?
  2. How much longer would Em have waited for Valancourt?
  3. Does Em benefit more from persevering through bad times or acting to remove herself from the situation?
  4. How might Montoni be seen as persevering? Is it just a trait reserved for the "good" characters?

Chew on This

Before Em is strong enough to escape Udolpho, she learns to persevere through great challenges.

For Valancourt, perseverance might be another form of laziness. He perseveres in his love for Em because he can't get his life together.

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