Dowries are extremely important to consider when it comes to arranged marriages. A dowry is a gift that could be goods, money, or land that a bride’s family will give to the groom to marry the bride. Dowries could be used to bring two powerful families together by having their children marry, for example, royal arranged marriages. In the Biblical sense, a girl who is still a virgin is more of prize than one who is not. In a way dowries make the daughter or son feel as property as told by Sara Smolinsky, “to [my father] I was nothing but his last unmarried daughter to be bought and sold” (205). Mr. Smolinsky stated, “It’s not enough to take my Bessie without a dowry. You must pay me yet” (47). Mr. Smolinsky, being the stubborn man he is, decided when Berel Bernstein asked for Bessie’s hand in marriage without the need of a dowry, that Mr. Smolinsky should get a bride price as well. A bride price
A young woman would marry a man who was usually significantly older than she was. After marriage, women were stuck in a home where the male was the head of the household and made all of the decisions.11 Marital choice did not exist; at least not for women. Woman were forced to marry men that they barely knew, thus even the most intimate details of their lives were decided not by them, but by others. Love was usually not a factor in the marriage equation. Wife-beating was also allowed and men sometimes imprisoned, starved, and humiliated their wives.12
Women had great social pressure on them to marry. Young girls were often married by the age of 13 or 14 . It was socially unacceptable if women were not married by the age of 25 . Marriage was mostly for economic benefits, not romantic situations. A wedding, rather than a religious ceremony, was a civil contract that set the responsibilities and duties of husband and wife . Once married, they legally became one with their husbands. Married women had no control of their earnings, inheritance, property, and also could not appear in court as a witness nor vote . Their husbands, therefore, were responsible for all aspects of their wife including discipline .
A woman in medieval times was not considered a person, but property. A woman would be forced to wear layers of drab clothing, the style determining their social class ranking. A woman of wealth would wear decadent gowns and women in poverty would wear plain spun dresses. Their goal in life was to find a husband, to give in to his whims and be the epitome of submission. Sometimes, peasant girls would be forced to take up a trade prior to marriage. After the marriage, she was forced to give up this trade, the skill she possessed, and either maintain the lifestyle as a housewife, or help her husband with his trade. In regards to whom a woman married, there was little to no choice in the matter. Often, girls were married to strange men, men they
"Upon marriage, woman became the legal wards of their husbands, as they previously had been of their fathers while still unmarried" (Martin, 68). It was common for a father to sell his young daughter into marriage and the young women had no say in her preference of her suitors (Mahaffy, 48). This was done while the girl was in her young teens while the groom was ten to fifteen years older (Martin, WEB2). As the father, or guardian, gave the young girl away he would repeat the phrase that expressed the primary aim of marriage: "I give you this women for the plowing [procreation] of legitimate children" (Martin, WEB2). The woman’s role was primarily in the home. "Households thus depended on women, whose wok permitted the family to economically self-reliant and the male citizens to participate in the public life of the polis" (Martin, WEB2).
During the eighteenth century, marriage was a representation of not only the unity between man and women but it was also a representation of a woman taking a servile, less meaningful role in the household. Once married, women were expected to be completely submissive to their husbands. This was the norm across Europe and even in enlightened society. These relationships were hierarchical. It was not customary for women to attend schools that educated men the math and sciences. Women holding privileged positons in society traditionally allotted to men were seen as the exception. Yet these exceptions did not generally bother society because they did not lead to certain conclusion that women could do anything. In Gotthold Lessing’s novel “Nathan the Wise” and Francoise de Graffigny’s “Letters from a Peruvian Woman”, both authors upset traditional expectations about what constitutes a novel’s happy ending by refusing to end either of their novels with weddings. In Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise”, the rejection of marriage plot reflects a larger symbolic representation of religious tolerance. While in Graffigny’s novel “Letters from a Peruvian Woman”, the rejection of marriage plots illustrates a woman whose circumstances would make her the exception. Zilia, Graffigny’s main character, was an enlightened woman who chose sovereignty over servitude. Therefore, I would argue that the intentions behind both Lessing and Graffigny’s rejection of the marriage plot was not to serve the same
Women had important roles in seventeenth century Eastern Europe; they were mothers, wives, and businesswomen. They cooked meals, cleaned houses, and educated children. In addition to the domestic roles women played in society, they also played roles in the trade and commerce. Gluckel of Hameln authored one of the earliest-known Jewish memoirs detailing the rise and fall of her own fortunes (Schachter.) She had great judgment for business transactions, and when she was widowed at age 54 she took over her husband’s business to ensure her children’s future. In her memoir, Gluckel describes her marriage as a business partnership, boasting that her husband would turn only to her for business advice. Jewish women of Eastern Europe were far more
Marriage has often been described as one of the most beautiful and powerful unions one human can form with another. It is the sacred commitment and devotion that two people share in a relationship that makes marriage so appealing since ancient times, up until today. To have and to hold, until death do us part, are the guarantees that two individuals make to one another as they pledge to become one in marriage. It is easy to assume that the guarantee of marriage directly places individuals in an everlasting state of love, affection, and support. However, over the years, marriage has lost its fairy
In the time frame that this story is set, many major life decisions things are made taking into account one’s duty to family - including the selection of a husband or wife. It is possible that each of these couples may not have been in love, when their vows were stated. They have a duty to society; they must not marry outside of their social class. They have a duty to their family;
Because of this, many women were married at a very young age, as early as their teenage years. Also, when a woman was married to a man, her “...property [would be] taken into men’s hands. ”(Marquis), which
The reason this quote is used is because this quote describes a dream that she was thinking that would be accomplished in the years ahead. If one sees of this situation with a creative aspect, one can think that there would be many possibilities for having very large ideal unions in the 19th century. For example, if the girl, before getting married, was not making and her parents would have enough money to support their daughters, she would have the time to choose the guy of her choice. "If they failed to find a husband, and their parents could not support them, daughters were still obliged to support themselves." -Shanny Meideï, Women's work, p.149 All these quotes prove that women did actually get married for financial support.
The economics of marriage was not the only pressure on children to marry where their parents directed. Sixteenth-century children, and girls in particular, were very much brought up to obey, and to believe that it was their duty to their parents… to marry the person chosen for them. It would have taken a very strong-minded girl indeed to have refused to follow her parents’ wishes. Girls who did refuse the partner offered could find themselves bullied by their parents. (3)
Dressing appropriately to one’s station was, of course, an idea more than familiar to the premodern world and the subject of numerous sumptuary laws; indeed, throughout history, clothing has carried implicit messages about the wearer, from their gender and personality to their wealth or poverty. Sumptuary laws produced in medieval and early modern Britain, more specifically, ‘typically assigned women social rank on the basis of a male relative’. In light of this, it is unsurprising that when the marquis, Walter, selects the peasant Griselda for his bride when his people implore him to marry (ll. 92-140) that one of his first concerns is making her apparel appropriate to her new, superior position in the social hierarchy. Though his insistence that ‘Bountee comth al of God, nat of the streen / Of which they been engendred and ybore’ (ll. 157-8) – that a person’s goodness or ‘gentillesse’ is not inherited but divinely bestowed – suggests an ability to critique social expectations and divisions, Walter nonetheless succumbs to social convention in reclothing Griselda. Regardless of the strength of her inner qualities and character, the wife of the marquis could not be poorly arrayed: her new rank must be sartorially declared, and must reflect her husband’s rich status than her father’s poor status. Further, it is politically expedient to make Griselda’s
During the romanticism era, many were married due to their similar social statuses. Wealth was an enormous marriage factor. It was a preposterous idea that any man or woman should marry down the social ladder. Parents would often make the final decisions of future marriages. “Parents could control their children’s ability to marry before the age of twenty-one. Those who disliked their children’s choices might withhold permission or, if the children were of age, leave them out of a will,” (History). Throughout The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, Emily Aubert is denied permission to marry her love, Valancourt. Although both of her parents had passed, Emily was under the care of her aunt, Madame Cheron, who controlled every aspect of Emily’s
After her father died, Mary Astell was left without a dowry, resulting in her being considered incompatible for marriage. In her book, Some Reflections Upon Marriage, Astell pointed out that there were only few lively marriages in England because of the way the English institution worked. Marriages in England were determined by income, and no thought went into the emotional harmony and compatibility of husband and wife. This was so rendering to Astell’s life because she didn’t have the money to marry someone with the same viewpoints as her or even respectable enough to take her hand in marriage. Mary Astell proclaimed that “[marriage] for Love, an Heroick Action, which makes a mighty noise in the World, partly because of its rarity, and partly in regard of its extravagancy” (Astell 41). In this quote, Mary Astell is saying that men and women rarely marry for love because it was more common for them to be bounded together for financial benefits and an increase of social status. But, when a couple married for love, they made a larger mark on the world this is because it showed that there was a step closer in the direction of women marrying a man that will love her and had no need to support her financially. Astell believed that women should not be viewed as a slave or property, and that they should have the ability to chose their own destiny. She showed that men rarely married for love because if a man admired a woman for her wit, than an unsuccessful marriage would