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The Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan

Part II: The Fourth Stage, the Fifth Stage

Part II: The Second Stage, the Third Stage

Part II: The Fourth Stage, the Fifth Stage, page 2

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Summary

Christiana, her children, and Mercy stop to eat and drink. When they continue their travels, Christiana forgets her bottle of liquor and returns to get it. Mercy remarks that this is the very spot where Christian lost his certificate. Great-heart explains that the danger of the area is sleepy forgetfulness, which all pilgrims must be on guard against.

They arrive at the place where Christian saw the lions. The lions roar fiercely, and the pilgrims fear them. Great-heart steps in front to ward them off. He gently mocks James, the youngest son, for being afraid. The lions’ master, Grim, appears. The master tells the pilgrims that they may not pass through the area. Great-heart argues that the path is a king’s road and open to all. Drawing his sword, Great-heart kills Grim. The lions are chained up so they cannot harm the pilgrims, so Christiana and her group pass them by.

Christiana’s group arrives at the porter’s lodge of the Palace Beautiful. The porter admits them and expresses his admiration for Christiana’s husband. The mistresses of the house, Prudence, Charity, and Piety, are delighted to see them arrive. The pilgrims are fed and put to bed. The next morning, Christiana tells Mercy that Mercy laughed in her sleep and says she must have had a good dream. Mercy describes her dream of being alone and bemoaning her hard heart, surrounded by people who scoffed at her. Then in the dream a winged figure came toward her, clothed her in gorgeous garments, and adorned her with earrings and a crown. Christiana says Mercy was right to laugh, receiving such bounty. She adds that dreams are often signs from God.

Prudence talks with Christiana’s sons, James, Joseph, Samuel, and Matthew. She quizzes them in Christian doctrine and asks them questions about the Holy Ghost, the nature of hell, and the value of the Bible. The sons all appear well versed in their faith. Prudence approves and urges them to always listen to their mother, because Christiana will teach them everything she knows.

After a week, a suitor named Mr. Brisk begins paying court to Mercy. He appears interested in marrying her. However, one day Mr. Brisk arrives to find Mercy making clothes for the poor. Disappointed, he never returns to see her. Mercy reveals that many suitors in the past have stopped courting her because of her religious enthusiasm and acknowledges she is prepared to never marry if necessary. She recalls that her sister married a man who drove her out of the house for her religious activities.

Matthew becomes ill from the fruit he stole earlier from the devil’s garden and suffers from terrible cramps in his bowels. A doctor, Skill, arrives and prepares medicine that Matthew initially rejects. His mother puts some on her tongue and persuades Matthew it is delicious. Matthew takes it and recovers. Christiana asks what the amazing universal pill is, and Skill tells her it is a special medicine just for them and gives her more for later use.

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The man in the iron cage

by Ewan_Wattameye, July 14, 2013

I would take a certain issue with the observation that Bunyan invokes his own imprisonment when he writes about the man in the iron cage. Certainly Bunyan would have been sensitive to the idea of imprisonment, and this sensitivity could very well have emboldened his passion to warn others of the unwanted consequences of certain behaviors, but I believe there the similarity ends. Bunyan had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel without an official sanction from the religious establishment of the day; the unjust result of extreme obedienc

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5 out of 7 people found this helpful

Missed key symbol

by rara_greenaway, March 10, 2015

The characters are very important in establishing the journey. It also dramatic irony in some cases, for instance when Christian talks to the worldly wise man- you know that he will lead him away from his current journey because you understand his name (or label) in context.

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