Marriage In Moll Flanders

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Furthermore, Defoe explores possible negative aspects of the current laws of marriage in his text. It is noted that there are two big issues in the law practice of marriage and divorce:
In Moll Flanders, Defoe implicitly suggests that English canon law needs revision in two respects. First, Defoe criticizes the canon law practice of recognizing the exchange of unsolemnized and unwitnessed vows […] Second, Defoe criticizes the canon law rule that absolutely prohibits a deserted wife from remarrying. (Ganz 159)

In Defoe’s text Moll and the Elder Brother engage in a sort of unwitnessed vow, which Defoe critiques. Defoe is also very obvious in his critique on the prohibition of women remarking after being deserted by their husbands. Moll remarries a couple of times after being deserted by her husbands. The Draper and Jemy both desert Moll, claiming their marriage has now been void. Moll continued to find a new husband after both incidents because of her financial need. Defoe demonstrates how the law is problematic to women who need to money to survive. Moll turns to a life of crime when she can no longer find a new husband, in order to support herself. The difficulty in divorce is important to understand otherwise one would be trapped in an unhappy marriage if one unwisely chose to marry for money instead of love. Therefore, Defoe demonstrates how the law that women are not allowed to marry after being deserted increases unhappiness due to the women being unable to support

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