Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Some of this early biography, however unconfirmed it may be, could account for the quest of her heroines for stable marital status and economic liberty. At a time in which women were still considered chattel by both the legal and religious systems, Centlivre's comedies employ conventional marriage plots (young lovers blocked by unreasonable guardians), while portraying women who use unusual and uncharacteristic means to gain the legal rights to the possession of their fortunes after marriage. It is not just economic quality that her heroines seek: in an age when marriages were financial transactions and men were expected (and often encouraged) to seek dalliances outside the home as a matter or course, characters such as Miranda attempt to create an environment where romantic love can flourish within a contractual agreement --- very much "a novelty," as she perceptively claims.

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