Love In A Maze: Haywood's Fantomina

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“Fantomina: or, Love in a Maze” is a novel written by Eliza Haywood in 1725. Haywood is considered one of the more controversial writers to publish at that time. “Fantomina” is one work which has been both criticized and appreciated because of its promotion of the imprudent choices of a woman and the empowerment of female sexuality. In fact, the main plot of the novel revolves around a female character, whose identity is always changing, who fells in love with a man called Beauplaisir, translated as “Goodpleasure”. They meet in a playhouse, and, after she pretends to be a prostitute, they start talking. However, he believes her and rapes her. After that, she becomes worried about her reputation because she is a part of the upperclass, so she decides to reveal her name: Fantomina. From now on, the story goes on telling different episodes of her every time with different clothes and hiding her real identity: first as Fantomina, second as Celia, a servant, third as Mrs. Bloomer, a mature widow, and then as Incognita, the one who is…show more content…
It is represented both in a sentimental and in a sexual way. There is this complex relationship between a provocative named man and an unnamed Lady; this choice for labeling the characters and this relation makes the readers understand from the very beginning that the theme of love is represented in the story from two different points of view. The love felt by Fantomina is constant, sincere, and real; while Beauplaisir is just a man who is moved by his sexual feelings and who cannot even notice the difference between one woman from another. Being modern compared to that time, Haywood links the sexual relations to that idea of love which was strictly reserved for married couples because of tradition. Therefore, the author attempts to reverse the stereotypes of that period: although Fantomina lost her virginity, she can love Beauplaisir in the same way as a virtuous lady
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