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Tom Jones

Further Study

Study Questions

Further Study Study Questions

Classical epics typically rely on the use of Divine Intervention, or the supernatural, in order to shape the outcome of events. Does Tom Jones follow or deviate from this aspect of classical epics in its plot?

Although Fielding's comic plot demands a certain degree of serendipity, Fielding's narrator strongly distinguishes his genre—the "Marvellous"—from the "Incredible." in Chapter I of Book VIII, he commits himself to the "probable" over even just the "possible." Yet the narrator's strenuous insistence seems to mask some disingenuousness. The plot events are so highly contrived that they indeed seem to fall in the "possible" rather than the "probable."

To a certain extent, however, Fielding keeps from using Divine Intervention and turns the outcome of events through his own inventiveness. Fielding's rejection of even a crutch is evident through his conception of a hero whose virtue stems from acts of goodness, rather than from religion and prudence. But if the Gods never come to Tom's and Sophia's rescue, these two characters achieve their own kind of divinity by the end of the novel through other characters' perceptions of them.