Hornblower During the Crisis Themes

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Crisis of Conscience

The novel's title is derived from a conflation of Hornblower's personal crisis with that of England's national crisis. Villeneuve has twice led the combined French and Spanish fleet across the ocean and into combat with an English fleet and finally escaped to Ferrol. He is a dominating threat to England, and if he managed the landing of the French army on England, the English would be conquered. Thus, the national crisis precipitated by Villeneuve's activities is the backdrop to the novel. Hornblower's capture of secret documents allows a careful set of forged orders to be created, which Hornblower intends to introduce into the command signals stream leading into Ferrol. Such actions would doubtlessly have formed the basis of much of the novel had it been completed.

Hornblower's personal crisis is the second, and dominant, element of the novel's theme. Hornblower is a military officer, inured to...

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This section contains 908 words
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Buy the Hornblower During the Crisis Study Guide
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