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The Black Prince

Iris Murdoch

Postscripts

Part Three of Bradley Pearson's Story, 2

Postscripts, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

Postscript by Bradley Pearson

Bradley is found guilty at his trial. The prosecution argues that he murdered Arnold Baffin out of jealousy of his success. They even show the ripped up pieces of Arnold's books. Bradley's fingerprints were found all over the murder weapon, the fireplace poker. Furthermore, Bradley never truly defends himself by suggesting that Rachel committed the crime. The court pities Rachel, considers Christian glamorous, and laughs at Francis Marloe. In the end, everyone believes Bradley to be a cold, calculating figure and he is sent to jail.

Although Bradley did not kill Arnold, he does admit that he did bad things in the events leading up to Arnold's death. He neglected Priscilla, treated Rachel unfairly, and envied Arnold. Still, he is no longer the man who treated others so contemptuously. He says that his love for Julian has transformed him because, as Plato says, "love is one of the gateways to knowledge." By loving her, the "black Eros" entered him and gave him the mystical energy to write. Although in prison, Bradley feels content. In fact, he compares being in prison to being in a monastery and considers his ability to write to be an almost religious experience. His only sadness comes when he considers his poor dead sister, Priscilla, and when he considers that blue-eyed Julian is still out wandering in the world.

Postscript by Christian

Christian's postscript suggests that Bradley grossly misrepresented her in his novel, particularly by saying that she was romantically interested in him. She further asserts that Bradley long has lusted for her and has hated her ever since she left their dull marriage (a fact that he fails to mention). Since the events in the novel, she has married Bradley's friend, Hartbourne, and opened a successful salon in London. She has pity for Bradley, but considers him a cold figure who grossly exaggerated her faults.

Postscript by Francis

Francis calls himself a psychoanalyst in his postscript and offers an absurdly Freudian interpretation of Bradley Pearson's tale. He sees Bradley as a repressed homosexual with a fierce Oedipal complex, who hated women and only could be sexually stimulated when Julian appeared to be a man. Francis sees sexual imagery throughout Bradley's story, such as the Post Office Tower resembling a phallus and his mother's shop being a symbolic womb. Francis concludes his postscript by advertising his book on Pearson's psychology, soon to be published.

Postscript by Rachel

Rachel has no sympathy for the "murderer of her husband." She considers his novel to be full of lies. She states that she and her husband never maintained the closeness with Bradley that he describes. Instead, they always took pity on him as an older, but not very talented writer. Furthermore, her daughter did not have an affair with him and considered him a "funny uncle" who hung around their house almost like a "family pussycat."

Postscript by Julian

Julian has married her old boyfriend; her name is now "Julian Belling." She lives in continental Europe and is a published poet. She has not communicated with her mother for many years. She says that she felt so overcome with grief following her father's death that she scarcely remembers all that happened. She recalls that as a girl she fell in love with the man that she thought Bradley was. She concludes by offering some contrary opinions on the creation of art, saying that it cannot come from passion, as Bradley believes.

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