In his gruesome descriptions of physical sufferings the author offends against good taste even more than the writer of 2 Macc., while both contrast very unfavourably in this respect with the sober reserve of the gospel narratives.
Similarly, though the influence of rhetoric upon his language, as well as upon his general treatment, is clearly perceptible, he has not the perverted love of antithesis, paradox and laboured word-painting which offends us in Tacitus; and, in spite of the Venetian richness of his colouring, and the copious flow of his words, he is on the whole wonderfully natural and simple.
It is most difficult to appreciate aright this man of fervid imagination, of powerful and persistent convictions, of unbated honesty and love of truth, of keen insight into the errors (as he thought them) of his time, of a merciless will to lay bare these errors and to reform the abuses to which they gave rise, who in an instant offends us by his boasting, his grossness, his want of selfrespect.
Finally, art is not morality, because its end is always a work of art, not virtuous action: on the other hand, art is subordinate to morality, because all the ends of art are but means to the end of life, and therefore a work of art which offends against morality is opposed to the happiness and the good of man.
The very sincerity of her piety and strength of her religious convictions led her more than once, however, into great errors of state policy, and into more than one act which offends the moral sense of a more refined age; her efforts for the introduction of the Inquisition into Castile, and for the proscription of the Jews, are outstanding evidences of what can only be called her bigotry.