The Anne Brontë Blog

Friday, 9 December 2011

Patrick Brontë

“Consider, moreover, the inadequacy of punishment. A man will be hanged for stealing a fat sheep, though he be hungry; - he will incur no greater punishment for murdering twenty men! In the name of common sense, what is the necessary tendency of this? Most undoubtedly, the man who robs, will find it [in] his interest to murder also, for by so doing, he will be more likely to prevent discovery, and will, at all events, incur no greater punishment.”
In his political opinions Patrick Brontë provided evidence of his liberalism – unexpectedly so for a man who has been both commended and contaminated with ardent Conservative views. Patrick Brontë is, in my opinion, the most remarkable Brontë. Caricatured and vilified in equal measure; the oppressive father and the frail old man who lived to have his worst fears realised. According to Juliet Barker’s exceptional biography The Brontës ‘he campaigned vigorously to get the criminal law reformed and its savagery moderated.’ The man who had such a significant impact on the lives and literature of his children; who wrote so eloquently and emotively on themes he himself would have found so interesting. It is difficult to divide fact from fiction with the Brontës. However, in my opinion, Patrick Brontë is an extraordinary quantity in Brontë mythology; a witness to the beginning, middle and end of a literary dynasty. The interest and admiration I have for Patrick Brontë stems from two branches, the most important reason being the fact that he came from an improvised background, to enter Cambridge at age twenty-five-years old and the fact that every accomplishment and achievement he gained originated from absolute strength of mind and intelligence.

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