The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a tale of remarkable happenings as evidenced in the circus where young magicians engage in activities such as blooming gardens made all of ice, acrobats soaring without nets and patrons getting lost in vertical maze of clouds and float gently to the floor. The circus arrives without warning in the fields around the world and leave without any notice. It is simply there, where it was not yesterday ( Rhule, Patty pg 1). Nevertheless, during night fall, the circus is opened and the black and white striped tents, with different shapes and sizes, are encased by an iron fence also painted black and white. People get curious to know what kind of circus is opened at night. As the circus start, there are small lights that start to flickers and it is clear that they were aligning some scripted letters forming the word Le Cirque des Reves meaning The Circus of Dreams. Once the doors to the circus are opened, people get in and get a chance to experience a unique performance that was full of breathtaking amazements, until it was dawn. The audience get a chance to watch a tattooed gymnast fold herself into a tiny box or watch her feast on chocolate mice and sweet popcorns. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is surely a tale of the precariousness of romantic love, the unreality of physical death, and the complexities of time.
There is stage rivalry between two wizards, Prospero, the Enchanter and the sinister Mr. A H, a man of formidable mystery, which enhances the performances of the circus. Prospero believes magic to be a matter of innate talent while Mr. A H thinks it can be taught to anyone of reasonable intelligence (Franklin 3). Periodically, Prospero and Mr. A H like to hold contests for their respective students known as the game, knowing very well that anyone holding a score sheet will be disappointed. Prospero teaches his daughter, Celia, to use her innate talent by holding larger and more complex magical workings in her minds. Without disappointing her father, Celia takes her position on the game board and makes true transformation by adding tents and maintaining wondrous aspects from the outside. Mr. A H trains his orphan ward, Marco, with books in ways of sympathetic magic and deceptive words that exists only in the mind of the beholder. Mr. A H is not disappointed on seeing how Marco takes the position as an assistant to the producer of the circus. It is impressive how Marco connects with the circus via a magic link to the central bonfire. However, Marco, the orphan and Prosperos daughter, Celia, fall in love despite being magically bound by the deadly competition with rules between their trainers (Rhule 4)
Love is one element that is strongly emphasized by the night circus. It is evident from above that the rivalry between Prospero and Mr. A H shows no sign of love between them and others. They are determined to push their trainees to the limit in order for them to defeat each other not caring about how the other performers will be affected by their rivalry.
There is also an element of love between Celia and Marco. The dialogue that follows is evidence to Marco and Celia romantic affair. Do you remember your audiences, Marco asks. Not all of them. But I remember the people who look at me the way you do, Celia replies. This triggers Marcos curiosity to know what Celia was talking about and asked her, What way might that be? Celia then answers, As they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or want to kiss me. Marco assures Celia that he is not afraid of her by any chance and that he had fallen in love with her (Franklin 4). This conversion shows the undeniable love illusion between the two despite the dangerous consequences leaving the lives of everyone, including the performers and the patrons, hanging in the balances.
As the competition continues, putting pressure to both competitors with no way to determine a winner, people connected with the circus had started to notice strange events connected to the rivalry. A case of disappeared blueprints from the designers office was encountered threatening the lives of other performers connected to the circus. The producer of the circus had his memories erased and a case of one of the original investors being killed by Mr. A H occurred when the underlying truth began to resurface. Mr. A H does not show the element of love because he found it easier to kill the investor in order to cover his mistakes.
The aggressive tension between Mr. A.H and Prospero and the uncontrollable jealousy of Marcos ex-girlfriend, Isobel, triggered an innocent performer to get accidentally stabbed in the circus tent. Celia found this overwhelming and takes it upon herself to find a way to end the game as quick as possible without causing any effect on the circus and those involved with it. Celia portrays the element of love since she becomes concerned with the welfare of other performers. Isobel, out of jealousy for Celia, destroys the tempering spell, which created a sense of balance and harmony in the battle between Marco and her. Due to her act of revenge and lack of love for Celia, a dangerous schism is created allowing danger to enter into the circus for the first time. This did not trigger fear in Celia and therefore, she found it in herself to still care about the other performances and put an end to the accidents occurring in the circus (Rhule 5)
Prospero informed Celia that the game must continue until one of the participants is unable to go on with the competition. This statement is evident that Prospero was willing to win at any cost even if it meant killing one of the participants. This shows the lack of love in Prospero, since he is not aware that the need to win the competition, between him and Mr. A H, could end up putting and claiming her daughters life. As a father, Prospero should have been the one warning his daughter against the consequences of being in the circus especially having Mr. A H as his rival and not encouraging her to engage in extreme physical exercise so that he could win the competition.
Moreover, Tsukiko, a mentor to Celia and Marco, who was also a magician and a winner of a previous contest she had attended, found out her opponent had committed suicide. Celia and Marco tried to negotiate with her but she declared that she cannot continue with the contest. Tsukiko started planning on how to magically kill Marco because she believed that killing Marco as she was performing would end the contest. She believed that Marco is less important than Celia because he was not part of the circus (Franklin 5). Tsukiko portrays the lack of love for Celia and Marco, when she started plotting on ways to magically kill Marco. She had no regards to Celias feelings knowing very well that she was in love with Marco.
After Celia witnesses what Tsukiko was doing to Marcos, She rushed to save him only for them to be ripped from reality and become spirits bound by the circus. Celia also portrays the element of love the moment she rushes to save Marcos life but in return, Tsukiko magically vanish them trapping their souls in a dream world. The bonfire goes out when the magical keystones are removed causing the circus environment to break down. However, Celia and Marco as existing ghosts, preserved the circus by magically rebinding Poppet and Widget, who were born to a performer and were the last members of the circus to be born, and their new friend Bailey, a keen circus attendant, back to the circus, relighting the fire in order to bring back the spirits to the circus. Although unable to interact with the physical world, there were together enjoying the circus as long as their souls wander the earth for their own magic living happily ever after (Rhule 6).
It is clear that love can withstand all sorts of cruelty and that it has no limits to whatever people can do for each other. It is also clear that without love, people can be driven to hurt other person for their own self gains without caring about who gets hurt or not. This triggers a sense of selfishness and jealousy towards others, in order to prove that they can be better than other.
Rhule, Patty. Erin Morgenstern creates the Night Circus. New York: Prentice Hall, 2013. Print.
Franklin, Dan. The Night Circus- an opening out to the story-world. Chicago: London Oxford University Press, 2011. Print
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