What does 'entered upon his idiocy' mean? And what is the difference between 'upon' and 'on' given after 'enter'?

To the west somber gray cliffs, known locally as Ware Cleeves, rose steeply from the shingled beach where Monmouth entered upon his idiocy.


  • I started reading a book. Sentences are very long. Shoud i give half a page? I thought this is a common phrase.
    – Vitaly
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:30
  • Maybe you should try asking on Literature Stack Exchange, and giving a larger chunk of text. (literature.stackexchange.com) Jan 30, 2019 at 14:43
  • The Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion started in Lyme Regis,where the novel takes place. It is not an expression.
    – Lambie
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:45
  • So the author of the book considered that Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion was idiocy?
    – Vitaly
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:48
  • 1
    The narrator does, not necessarily the author.
    – Lambie
    Jan 30, 2019 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


The 1st Duke of Monmouth landed with his ship at Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis, during his attempt to take the crown from King James II. He started a rebellion which failed. Many people were hanged right there on the beach and he himself was beheaded for treason. Some say the execution was pretty gruesome as it took a few blows to sever the head from his body. This is a story the guides at the Tower of London love telling.

The Duke's plan to take the throne from his uncle, was an idiotic idea. There at the beach the Duke met his doom which was the result of his own idiocy.

to enter upon something means …

...to begin or set out on something

We have entered upon a challenging period in our lives.

...to enter a place when something is happening

We entered upon a heated dispute when we arrived at our friend's house.

upon is a more formal term for on

  • It is very interesting story about the Duke. Thanks.
    – Vitaly
    Jan 30, 2019 at 15:58

I'm no historian, but since no one else sees fit to answer your question:

This apparently is a reference to the so called "Monmouth Rebellion" named after the Duke of Monmouth, who is somewhat hard to "Google", since his name is not Monmouth, but (I think) James Scott (Duke of Monmouth). The narrator in your novel seems to consider the Rebellion to be "idiotic". Judging from the comments to your question, I gather this is still a controversial subject.

Anyway, good luck with Mr. Fowles' prose!

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