George MacDonald and the Journey to the Ideal




Boman, Hannah

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Victorian author George MacDonald’s fantasy novels reveal an ideal he hoped the world could someday achieve. He explores this idea through men, women, and society in general. The ideal man is a noble knight: he is chivalrous, gentle, and aggressive only when necessary. The ideal woman varies depending on her marital status and age, but in general she is brave and wise. She protects in whatever way she can while serving as a mentor for the hero. Society’s ideal is impossible to achieve if it is not lead by an ideal individual, but evidence of the change is shown in the attitudes of the citizens. The ideal leaders are frequently those society sees as weaker, such as women and children; under such a leader the people love each other well and embrace both strangers and minorities. This thesis traces the journeys MacDonald’s characters and kingdoms make towards the ideal in order to determine whether or not MacDonald believed our world could ever reach that state.