When Mompesson arrives in the village of Eyam he thinks of himself as somebody special, and feels that he shouldn’t be working in such a small place. He doesn’t care about others, and is only concerned about himself. I also got the feeling that he was very competitive and always had to right, this is shown when he feels like he is above everybody and that he is better than them. He feels he is very important and all the villagers are minors and aren’t worth much, this is maybe because he has never dealt with people like these, they are mostly all illiterate.
He thinks everything is going to be easy and just a walk in the park, but he doesn’t realise the problems ahead. At the beginning he obviously doesn’t know what lies ahead when the village gets infested with the plague, but if he did I’m sure he wouldn’t stick around to help them overcome it. At first he doesn’t want to stay in Eyam and wants to go and work in London. The reason for his prejudice is that he had been studying and living in Cambridge, which is a far more richer environment and he isn’t used to such lowly living conditions.
The first person he meets with is Saville, who brought him to the village in the first place. I noticed that the conversation between the two of them is more of Saville speaking, and Mompesson replying with one or two word answers. “Well, Mompesson? What does it feel like? ” “What? ” “Responsibility. ” “Gratifying. ” “I suppose I should have guessed you’d say that. ” Mompessons’ replies shows he is not very impressed with his new job, and later expresses his want to work in London. Saville tells Mompesson that he shouldn’t judge the villagers before he knows them.
He tells him that Mompesson is looking down on the villagers as if he is better than them. “You won’t see anything from a pedestal looking down,” said Saville. He is saying that Mompesson shouldn’t treat the villagers like they are lower than him because he will never connect with them, and earn their trust. After Mompesson and Saville have chatted for a bit, Mompesson’s wife, Catherine, enters and the first thing she says is how beautiful the village is. She is obviously more aware of the surroundings than Mompesson as he never mentions them.
She is very attentive of things around her, whereas Mompesson is more aware of where he has to live and what kind of people he will be working with, and seeing the bad side of things. Catherine comes across as a positive person, which is why it is good for Mompesson to be married to her as she can bring out something good in him. From the start you can see that Catherine loves the villagers right at the beginning, no matter how they treat her. Mompesson is weary of loving the people, and doesn’t love them right until the end of the play, but he still thinks he doesn’t.
Mompesson loves Catherine dearly, but they are s different at the beginning. Catherine shows love towards everybody she meets, and even takes pity on Bedlam, but Mompesson just won’t open up and love them straightaway. The villagers will expect the priest to be a doctor as well, this is why it was hard for Mompesson to help the people when the plague broke out. He had to win over the villagers, which was going to be hard as the previous priest, Stanley, was still living in Eyam and most of the town folk believed that Stanley was a better man and did not want Mompesson to become the new priest.
It must have been hard for Mompesson to get along with the villagers as they still wanted Stanley to be their priest, but it didn’t help that he thought of them as lower beings to himself. Stanley and Mompesson’s first meeting is very short, but also very cold. Mompesson asks Stanley to come for dinner at the rectory but Stanley doesn’t accept and walks away. “I left that house five years ago on the arms of the King’s soldiers. If I ever return to it, it won’t be as a guest. ” This is what Stanley replied to Mompesson’s request for him to dine at the rectory, this shows me that Stanley is still bitter about not being the priest anymore.
He mentioned he doesn’t have a home anymore, and all he has is the ‘oak tree at the end of the street’. “You build your palace, and I will build mine, and let God decide which of us has constructed a tomb. ” Stanley is basically saying that he is going to fight for his right to become the priest again, and the judge will be God. I think he also meant that the villagers will decide who they like better, and who they want to be their priest. I noticed that Stanley has not got so much to lose when it comes to the plague, he hasn’t got a family or a home, whereas Mompesson has a family and his job which is also important to him.
When the plague arrives in the village, Mompesson’s first reaction is what to do with the bodies. He doesn’t seem bothered about the fact that the plague has arrived, only bothered about what to do with the dead people. He knows almost immediately that it is the plague after he has seen the marks on George Vicars face. He recognises them from when he had seen them before, but tries not to panic. Instead he is calm, and tells Catherine that he thinks the plague has come. “Marks on his skin. I think I’ve seen them before. I think I know what they are.
” This is how he tells Catherine about his suspicions, and later he says “(unemotionally) I think it’s plague,” he doesn’t seem upset or worried about it. The fact that he said it ‘unemotionally’ makes me think he has dealt with it before maybe. He later tries to get help from Stanley, he is growing in maturity, he has confronted the fact that there is a problem, and is swallowing his pride to ask for help from Stanley. “I choose to ask your help… I’m a stranger here, a young man, and I find it hard – to make myself loved.
” Here he opens up a bit to Stanley, he explains his insecurities. But yet Stanley still ignores Mompessons’ next request. “You are older – perhaps wiser than I am… Don’t look at me like that, Stanley, people are dying who might have lived, and all I ask is your counsel… ” It must have hard for Mompesson to ask for Stanley to help him come up with a plan, but he overcomes his worries. Stanley still declines Mompessons’ plea for help, and leaves him with the knowledge that all he has is prayer, and that is all can save him now.