Female Humanists in Renaissance Italy Essay

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Female Humanists in Renaissance Italy Arcangela Tarabotti like many young girls in Renaissance Italy had parents who could not afford a sufficient dowry to purchase their daughter a good marriage. In order to protect their honor and her virginity they sent Tarabotti away to a convent against her will. Here she lived out the rest of her unhappy life as a nun. What sets her apart from other girls of similar circumstance is that she became one of the few female humanist writers#. The story of Tarabotti and the other female humanists I will discuss in this chapter demonstrates not only the oppression of women in Renaissance society but also how women found ways to work around their circumstances. To fully understand this aspect of…show more content…
Meanwhile, her other work “Innocenee Undone” reflects the resentment felt against a patriarchal society. In it she attacks men for being cruel and inhuman and, argues that women are the stronger creatures. She supports her argument by referencing the bible#. It is clear from these works the overwhelming power that family loyalty and the protection of family honor played in the lives of young women of Renaissance society. Furthermore it proves that this sense of loyalty through manipulation of marriage served as a tool of oppression for women. As I discussed above preserving the virginity of one’s daughter was a reflection on the family, which brings me to my next point on women and sexuality. The stress on women’s virginity can be seen in the title of Lauro Quirini’s letter to Isotta Nogarola “Greetings to the most noble and most eloquent virgin Isotta Nogarola.” The fact that he addresses her as virgin shows the importance Renaissance society placed on maintaining one’s purity. Women were viewed as having a promiscuous nature and, therefore were married at an early age. For example, Laura Cereta, a humanist writer and daughter of a prominent family, reflects this as she was married by age fifteen to a much older man and widowed by seventeen#. To overcome this strict control over their sexuality as well as the oppression of society some women used their bodies as a tool, most notably the Renaissance author
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