Martine's former suitor, Lorens, now a famous general married to a member of the Queen's courtcomes as the guest of his aunt, the local lady of the manor and a member of the old pastor's congregation.
Babette tells no one that she is spending her entire winnings on the meal. The film, however, is about a great deal more than the pleasures of eating. Yet, the face of Maritine continued to appear before him throughout his life, much to his consternation.
Page references to this work are given in the text in parentheses. However, the participants had already made themselves psychologically ready to receive such epiphanies by performing various rituals: Babette had made sacrifices, the general had consciously reflected on the meaning of his life, and the disciples had come to terms with their shadows by confessing and repenting of their sins.
At the beginning, only the general appreciates the transcendence of the seven course meal, while the others try to pretend the food is tasteless.
But, she notes, an artist is never poor. Now in their sixties, they fear that their lives have been lived in vain. This, Axel seems to say, will be a story about the day the sky touched the earth.
Righteousness and bliss have kissed one another! They see her father's flock dwindling and see how quarrelsome they are becoming, and they worry that "their ever-faithful father will look down to his daughters and call them by name as unjust stewards.