The Philosophy of Existentialism in the Magus - the Motifs of Freedom and Suicide


  • Ljiljana Pticina Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad



Philosophy of Existentialism, Magus, Motifs of Freedom, Suicide.


John Fowles’ literary opus is largely based on the philosophy of existentialism, with the motifs of freedom and suicide serving as its focal points, both closely related to freedom of choice and seen as crucial to the existentialist movement, as well as the author himself. This paper analyses Fowles’ novel The Magus through the prism of existentialism, which means that the basic existentialist concepts are identified and located within its text, as well as the influences of the key figures of this movement. The motifs of freedom and freedom of choice in context are interpreted and linked to the theories of Freud and Jung while special emphasis is placed on the role of the anima, that is, the female principle inside the male subconsciousness. This is precisely why a separate section of this paper is dedicated to female protagonists and their role in the novel. In his works, Fowles puts an emphasis on the freedom of the individual, which is portrayed through the freedom of the mind, ideas, choice and spirit. It is cruel, always demanding action as well as acceptance and adaptation. By remodelling our own character, we also remodel the future generations and our visions of the world. The protagonist in this novel is chosen to remodel his own character, to turn from a collector into a creator, to stop depriving people of the content and to bring about a positive creative act instead. Human border acts such as suicide also belong to this field of interest. There are three cases of suicide in The Magus and this paper analyses their role as a symbol of the protagonist’s metamorphosis upon threading onto the mythical ground.




How to Cite

Pticina, L. (2019). The Philosophy of Existentialism in the Magus - the Motifs of Freedom and Suicide. European Journal of Language and Literature, 5(1), 23–30.