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Double Vision

             It seems that a series of conjunctions govern the structure and themes of A. Byatt's novella "Morpho Eugenia ": insects and angels, natural society and human society, the material world. The novella considers all these. The characters in "Morpho Eugenia " are linked under the rubric of Angels and Insects: insects are a central preoccupation of Morpho Eugenia, and we are constantly asked to make comparisons between insect society and human. Uncomfortably, often the differences between the two end up not being too many. A.S. Byatt's novella "Morpho Eugenia " explores some of these contrasts through the eyes of its main character, William Adamson. But his vision is impaired: he is plagued by the double vision of the supernatural and the scientific, of insects and humans. In A.S. Byatt's "Morpho Eugenia ", William Adamson functions to illustrate the parallels and discontinuities of insect society and our own, personifies the scientific explanation for the natural order of things, and embodies qualities usually found in fable-like or mythological characters. .
             Double Vision 2.
             The character William Adamson sees Victorian society through the filter of his recent experiences in the Amazon among primitive tribes and insect colonies. He muses: "Nothing he did now seemed to happen without this double vision, of things seen and done otherwise, in another world (7). As the story commences, we find ourselves at a ball given by the Alabasters. Here, we begin to picture the contrasts between human and insect societies Adamson encountered in South America and the society before him as it swirls around the dance floor. The following passage from the book illustrates his inability to take off this filter and his difficulty with entering into English society again as he tries to describe Bredley Hall: "I was thinking of the beauty of everything here---the architecture, and the young ladies in their gauzes and laces.

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