MIER FOO explores the obsession with beauty and the use of Ancient Greek concepts in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The Secret History subverts the usual murder mystery plot line. In the very first sentence of the prologue, Tartt’s narrator Richard confesses his role in the murder of a boy named Bunny, alongside his close-knit group of friends. Bunny is described as a handsome, Kennedy-esque young man with aristocratic tastes but without the money to show for it. The first half of the novel focuses on how and why the murder takes place, while the second half is dedicated to the aftermath of Bunny’s death. Most striking is the novel’s obsession with beauty, blended with tributes to classical mythology. The characters view the world of the Ancient Greeks as the epitome of measured beauty and aspire towards their aesthetic ideals. Richard’s hamartia (‘fatal flaw’) is revealed to be ‘a morbid…Continue Reading

Beauty is Terror