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Courtship And Women In The Courtier By Baldassare Castiglione

Decent Essays
The Courtier, originally written as a “courtesy book”, can now be considered to provide significant insight into the norms and practices associated with courtship and gender during the Renaissance era. The book’s third volume is a particularly insightful window into 16th century romantic ideals. Throughout Book Three, Baldassare Castiglione builds an elaborate perspective on what makes the perfect court lady, what sexual and social behavior is acceptable, and how an ideal couple (both courtier and court lady) should function. The characteristics of a “perfect” woman have clearly changed over time, and The Courtier proves this throughout conversations in the third volume. Some desired qualities are common to both the courtier and the court…show more content…
Women were also expected to maintain their social positivity and kindness by never speaking or listening to evil about other women. Men hearing these women speak evil would appear to “listen gladly” but ultimately “hold such women in small respect” and “esteem them so lightly as to despise their company” (177.) From the accounts held in The Courtier of women in the Renaissance, it can be said that women were almost considered to be “status symbols” during this time period. Some men aimed to treat women with courtesy and respect but never viewed them as true equals. Women were expected not to make a fuss, not to speak up too loudly, and to act positive and apolitical at every turn, resulting in a stifling lack of agency. As a whole, women were expected to be seen and not heard, ultimately having a scarce role in the era. Even still, misogyny and hatred was ubiquitous in this time period. The Magnifico’s opinions on women and their role differed in many ways from those of his friends, and this was maintained throughout the book. In particular, his thoughts starkly contrast with those of Lord Gaspar. Gaspar, an avowed misogynist, continuously argues for the inferiority of women. He believes himself to be doing women a favor by telling them how inferior they are, rather than giving them “false” praise like The Magnifico. “Do not give us that name, my lady,” replied Gaspar, “for it better befits my lord Magnifico, who by
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