Roxana: The Unfortunate Mistress and the Discourse of Marriage
“...I thought a woman was a free agent, as well as a man, and was born free, and cou’d she manage herself suitably, might enjoy that liberty to as much otherwise as the men do; that the laws of matrimony were indeed, otherwise, and mankind at this time, acted quite upon other principles; and those such, that a woman gave herslef entirely away from herself, in marriage, and capitulated only to be, at best, but an upper-servant, and from the time she took the man, she was no better or worse than the servant among the Israelities who had his ears bor’d, that is, nail’d to the door-post...” (p. 187).
In a patriarchal age when it was a husband's role as governor of his …show more content…
Thus she is in no threat of returning to an impoverished lifestyle. She states that “My greatest difficulty is securing my wealth, and to keep what I had got”. She also reminds herself that she cannot remain his mistress forever therefore it was her responsibility to make sure she was taken care of. The affair ends when the Princes' wife dies urging her husband to be faithful to his next wife even though he has not been to her, inducing him to repent his degeneracy and give up his mistress. With the ending of this relationship Roxana then decides to return to London and she seeks the assistance of a Dutch merchant in moving her considerable financial assets. The Dutch merchant introduces her to a Jewish appraiser, who recognizes them as stolen an tries to have Roxana arrested. The honest Dutch merchant assists in helping Roxana to escape the grasp of the Jew and transfers her fortune to Amsterdam. When she goes there to collect it, he proposes marriage. Roxana persistently refuses marriage because she will not give up her freedom. She offers to sleep with him to repay him for his kindness, but states that marriage is the one thing she cannot give him. Roxana argues, “I thought a Woman was a free Agent, as well as a Man”, that “the very Nature of the Marriage-Contract was, in short, nothing but giving up Liberty, Estate, Authority, and every-thing, to the Man”, rendering
The status of women in Palestine during the time of Jesus was very decidedly that of inferiors. The women is, ‘in all things inferior to the man,’ as stated by first century
“She wishes she had asked him to explain more of what he meant. But she was impatient…to be done with sewing. With doing everything for three children, alone…” (1125, 3), and “Respect, a chance to build. Her children at last from underneath the detrimental wheel. A chance to be on top” (1124, 2) both reveal the motives behind getting married to this man, despite the religious conflict. She is torn between the pros and cons of this new life. It’s although she is trying to convince herself, but the negative thoughts just keep surfacing.
that he never went to hell (272). She clearly valued sex as the most important attribute of a husband for, “…in our bed he was so fresh and gay….Heaven knows whenever he wanted it- my belle chose-, thought he had beaten me in every bone…”(272) Even though her final husband had beaten her, because he was good in bed with her she felt she loved him the best of them all (272). Clearly, The Wife of Bath valued three things in her marriages, sex, power, and money. In her tale we find that power is an important role to women in marriage. A knight, after raping a women is spared by a queen (282) but in order to save his life, he has one year (283) to find, “What is the thing that women most desire”(282)? After searching, he finds no answer but on his way home finds an old women who promises she will save him, he must promise to do what she asks of him after however, and he agrees (285). When he and the old lady meet with the queen, he exclaimed, “A women want’s the self-sovereignty over her husband as over her lover, and master him; he must not be above her” (286). This answer is perfectly inline with The Wife of Baths views, she always wants to be more powerful than her husband. When the old lady says he must marry her, he protests but soon she offers him two choices, he can have her be old and ugly till she dies, but loyal, or she can be young and pretty and take chance that she might not remain faithful (291). He gives his answer to be that she may choose, thus giving her the
Mrs. Bennet’s desperation is especially noticeable when Elizabeth, the protagonist, is given the opportunity to marry Mr. Collins, a distant cousin and a wealthy land owner. After learning of Elizabeth’s refusal to marry Collins, she implores Mr. Bennet to force Elizabeth to change her mind. In her final efforts to convince Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet addresses,
Many female characters are imprisoned by their marriages. By marrying someone, society expects them to become obedient and put their husbands first. They essentially give up all of their power and all the control they had over their own life. For example, Minerva, one of Esperanza’s neighbors, is married and has two children, even though she is not much older than Esperanza. Minerva “has many troubles, but the big one is her husband who left and keeps leaving” (85). Minerva’s main problem is her husband and processes her circumstances by writing poems that she shares with Esperanza. “Leaving” implies that her husband is not around very often and that their relationship is so unhealthy that it frequently ends with one half leaving only to return at a later date. Minerva once “comes over black and blue and asks what can she do”(85) after she
Wealth and property feature heavily in the wife’s portrayal of marriage and along with the issue of her independence is responsible for many of her marital conflicts. The first three husbands "riche and olde" were married each for "hir land and hir tresoor" then discarded as the Wife looks for other prospects. When one of these husbands tries to restrict the Wife’s spending she refuses to let him be both "maister of my body and of my good" so refuses sexual favours in return for her freedom as she will not become a mere possession. She generalizes that women "love no man that taketh or keepth charge" suggesting an element of independence and individualism in 14th century marriage. The wife resents being controlled; she
Also, while she claims Biblical support for her views on marriage, the support that she cites is conveniently edited to suit her purposes (for example, Solomon did have 700 wives and 300 concubines -- but his appetites led to his turning away from God; and the marital relationship specified in the Bible is a reciprocal one rather than the one-sided one she speaks of, tilted in favour of the wife -- she conveniently ignores that while the "Apostel [...] / [...] bad oure housbondes for to love us weel", he also exhorts women to love their husbands), and she elsewhere ignores the Bible when it proves difficult to "glose" in her favour (as in her dismissal of its injunction to dress "in habit maad with chastitee and shame"). Moreover, her behaviour is a demonstration of all the anti-feminist accusations
“I come back to the question of women’s honor. Truthfulness has not been considered important for women, as long as we have remained physically faithful to a man, or chaste.” 415.
From a feminist critical perspective, it is clear to perceive that her husband’s death was a release of freedom from her marriage. The text describes that at times, she did and did not love her husband. However, love had not mattered anymore because she was now free. Whether they loved each other or not, she would have still been his property. This restriction of freedom was no longer her cross to bear. The death of her husband would pave her a path for a new life.
The very nature of bridewealth especially in ancient times has always gave men an authority to treat women as subordinate to them. According to the “early twentieth-century writers bridewealth was interpreted as the sale of a women, implying the gender
Despite enjoying the material benefits of her situation, Carrie finds herself doubting the morality of the arrangement. Through her sense of guilt, Dreiser explores society’s concept of a kept woman, who is “supported financially in exchange for [a] sexual relationship” (1/29 Lecture). Carrie would feel more comfortable being married to Drouet; she suggests marriage when Drouet plans to lie about their relationship to Hurstwood, but
Also, while she claims Biblical support for her views on marriage, the support that she cites is conveniently edited to suit her purposes (for example, Solomon did have 700 wives and 300 concubines -- but his appetites led to his turning away from God; and the marital relationship specified in the Bible is a reciprocal one rather than the one-sided one she speaks of, tilted in favour of the wife -- she conveniently ignores that while the he also exhorts women to love their husbands), and she elsewhere ignores the Bible when it proves difficult to "glose"