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'Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress': patriarchal society of 17th Century in England

'Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress' 

Dominance of patriarchal society of 17th Century England

'Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress': patriarchal society of 17th Century in England

Q. How does the narrative of Defoe's novel, 'Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress' explore themes of gender, power, and the limitations placed on women in a patriarchal society of 17th Century England?

Answer: Daniel Defoe's novel "Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress" delves into the themes of gender, power, and the limitations imposed on women in the patriarchal society of 17th-century England. The narrative explores the challenges and constraints faced by women and sheds light on the societal expectations and pressures that shape their lives. Here's how the novel addresses these themes:

Gender Roles and Expectations: The novel portrays the rigid gender roles and societal expectations of the time. Women were often defined by their beauty, chastity, and ability to secure advantageous marriages. Roxana's journey highlights the struggles she faces in reconciling her own ambitions and desires with the prescribed roles assigned to women. She breaks societal norms by becoming a mistress and navigating relationships on her own terms, challenging the traditional expectations placed upon women.

Agency and Power: Roxana's pursuit of power and financial security demonstrates her desire for agency and control over her own life. She uses her beauty and charm to manipulate men, positioning herself in positions of power and leveraging her attractiveness to gain advantages. However, the novel also explores the limitations of this power, as Roxana's choices come with consequences and moral dilemmas. It highlights the complex dynamics of power and the trade-offs women may face in their quest for independence and security.

Social and Economic Constraints: The novel reflects the economic and social constraints faced by women in 17th-century England. Roxana's journey is driven by her need to secure her own financial stability after her husband's ruin. She becomes a mistress and engages in relationships primarily as a means to gain wealth and status. The limited opportunities available to women at the time push Roxana to navigate a world where survival often depends on utilizing her sexuality and charm.

Vulnerability and Exploitation: Roxana's experiences demonstrate the vulnerability and exploitation that women could face in a patriarchal society. While she exercises agency to some extent, she is also subjected to manipulation, abandonment, and the whims of men. Her relationships with Monsieur D'Albert and the prince highlight the power imbalances inherent in such liaisons, as she becomes dependent on their support and experiences the consequences when that support is withdrawn.

Through Roxana's character and her interactions with others, the novel examines the complex interplay of gender, power, and societal expectations. It challenges traditional notions of femininity, exposes the limitations placed on women, and invites readers to question the dynamics of gender and power in 17th-century England and beyond.

Read also: 🔎

👉 Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress by Daniel Defoe - Summary

👉 Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress by Daniel Defoe - Characters

👉 Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress - patriarchal society of 17th Century in England

👉 Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress - Roxana’s struggle to secure financial stability

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