Matrimony in "Moll Flanders" Book Review

Matrimony in "Moll Flanders"
An analysis of the theme of matrimony as portrayed in Daniel Defoe's novel "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders".
# 152066 | 1,513 words | 1 source | MLA | 2003 | CZ
Published on Nov 28, 2012 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines the theme of matrimony in Daniel Defoe's novel "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders". By highlighting and analysing multiple telling examples throughout the book, the paper documents Moll Flanders' unceasing desperate struggle for marriage as her only legitimate means of securing herself livelihood and a "respectable" social position, reflecting thus, in more general terms, a woman's unenviable financial and social status in eighteenth-century Britain.

From the Paper:

"Nevertheless, already in her second partnership, one with the gentlewoman's younger son Robin, the business-like aspect of consideration prevails: when Moll is put in front of the problem of choosing between the two brothers, she, although with a heavy heart and after much persuasion, casts away her first and sincerely loved partner, who represents only a vague prospect of distant marriage and maintenance, and gives precedence to younger Robin, i.e. to a prosperous life with much better prospect. In this case her matrimony serves to give her life a hallmark of honesty, and as an institution to conceal her premarital intercourse, since if this fact came to light, her life would come to ruins - stain of shame and public contempt would never allow her to lead a regular life; she would perhaps never get rid of the status of inferior servant maid or even greater wretch. This marriage has nothing to do with love or at least fancy, because despite describing him as "a tender, kind, good-humored man as any woman can desire" (63), she acknowledges that his early death represented no tragedy to her, especially because it was not a pleasant match due to her former intimate relationship with her husband's brother."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Defoe, D., The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, London, Penguin Books Ltd. 1994.

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