Adeline Mowbray's Analysis

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“I became the mistress of Mr. Glenmurray from the dictates of my reason, not my weakness or his persuasion.”(Opie, 88) As mentioned previously according to moral books and feminine ideology women’s virtuosity was associated with the preservation of their sexual chastity. If that would fail and they would forfeit their most prized quality then a breach of duty towards society would occur. This appears to have been Adeline’s case who, “out of regard to [her] own principles”(Opie, 1999: 41), desired to contract no marriage but to live a free and chaste love with the man of her heart. Clearly the innovative ideology that she tried to propagate was unwelcomed and incompatible with society’s standards, and because of that Adeline…show more content…
Yet I have to disagree with these statements because we see how Adeline’s reputation as a “fallen” woman is not the result of a shameful behavior but of her negation to conform to the norms and moral codes of the period. She is taking a stand for femininity and independence, as well as contesting the notion of the docile woman that conduct books so vehemently affirmed. Because of that Adeline has to endure the pain caused by society’s rejection, and to use Gary Kelly’s words “she is taken to be anything from naughty to vicious by other good characters”(1980: 200). Thus, we are lead to see Adeline’s virtuous character as irrelevant as long as she endorses in radical philosophies which guide women towards vice and immorality. But is her behavior in any way degenerate and leading others on “the path of sin?”(Opie, 1999: 240), or the real problem has to do more with the fact that, in a patriarchal society, Adeline professes her desires and dares to live with her lover outside the confines of…show more content…
But while Adeline “appears as spotless as ever” (Opie, 1999: 75), the same cannot be said of other supposedly virtuous women: Maynard’s sisters. Opie reveals to the reader Her position in society as a woman placed her at the mercy of men’s insensible disposition. It is my opinion that with the help of these contradictions between the “qualities” which society attribute to Adeline and what she actually stands for Amelia Opie plays so as to show the Can it then be a matter of surprise that “she seems to be more ill-judging than vicious” (Opie, 1999: 79) in the eyes of the
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