Morality in Henry Fielding's Novels Joseph Andrews & Amelia

2920 Words Oct 22nd, 2010 12 Pages
Introduction
Although Henry Fielding (1707-1754) wrote many literary works I am going to deal mainly with his major novels, Joseph Andrews, \and Amelia. All of these works contain a strong moral message, but the moral message is not entirely consistent, and is presented in various ways. One of Fielding's main concerns was the question of marriage. His ideas on marriage are concisely summed up by All worthy in his sermon on matrimony: I have always thought love the only foundation of happiness in a married state and in my opinion all these marriages which are contracted from other motives are greatly criminal .
To deny that beauty is an agreeable object to the eye would be false and foolish But to make this the sole consideration of
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Their eldest son was Henry, who was born on April 22, 1707, and had an uncertain number of brothers and sisters of the whole blood. After his first wife’s death, General Fielding (for he attained that rank) married again. The most remarkable offspring of the first marriage, next to Henry, was his sister Sarah, also a novelist, who wrote David Simple; of the second, John, afterwards Sir John Fielding, who, though blind, succeeded his half-brother as a Bow Street magistrate, and in that office combined an equally honourable record with a longer tenure.

Joseph Andrews
Of the works mentioned, Joseph Andrews contains the most virtuous and idealised couple; Joseph and Fanny, even if they are somewhat unrealistic. Joseph is tempted by both Lady Booby and Mrs Slipslop and refuses the advances of each of them, remaining constant in his chaste devotion to Fanny. The chastity of their love is constantly emphasised and admired by Fielding, and they are rewarded for their virtuousness with eternal happiness (it is heavily implied). Fielding writes of their union thus: Joseph remains blessed with his Fanny, whom he doates on with the utmost Tenderness, which is all returned on her side. As well as maintaining their spiritual happiness, their financial problems are solved by Mr Booby's 'unprecedented generosity' in giving Fanny a gift of two thousand pounds. Their blissful life is contrasted with the life
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