What Is The Evolution Of The Elephant Man Fredrick Treves

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“The Elephant Man” by Frederick Treves, depicts the difficult life of John Merrick during the late nineteenth century. John Merrick suffers from a debilitating disease resulting in severe disfigurement characterized by strange malodorous growths. Merrick is exploited and marginalized by society due to his grotesque features. Victorian surgeon Frederick Treves took over the management of Merrick’s destiny when society had abandoned him. Through his essay published in 1923, Frederick Treves reveals prevailing hypocritical Victorian attitudes towards physical abnormalities, while portraying his evolution in viewing Merrick as a scientific phenomenon to a man deserving freedom and dignity. In his account of John Merrick’s life, Frederick Treves highlights the contrasting attitudes towards physical deformities during…show more content…
Treves undergoes a evolution of views towards Merrick. Treves initial fascination with Merrick is purely scientific, he describes him as, “…the most disgusting piece of humanity I have ever seen” (Treves 246). Treves then describes Merrick’s physical deformities in detail and refers to Merrick as an “exhibit”, purely interested in his physical abnormalities (Treves 250). Treves’ compassion emerges with his second encounter with Merrick when retrieving him from the authorities in Liverpool. Treves petitioned to have Merrick stay as a ward of the hospital as he refused to have him, “…turned out into the world” (Treves 254). Treves’s compassion grows as he discovers Merrick’s intelligence and positive disposition. In order to encourage his humanization after years of torment, Treves wished for Merrick to be surrounded by the kindness of intelligent friends who would be more interested in his mind than his hideous body. After Merrick’s death, Treves recounts the juxtaposition between Merrick’s physicality and

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