Social Class In Eliza Haywood's Fantomina

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Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina; or, Love in a Maze is about unnamed young woman who changes her identity multiple times in order to maintain a relationship with the man she loves. Her high standing social class does not allow her to freely communicate with men. This issue prompts her to disguise herself as prostitute for the chance to be with Beauplaisir. The restrictions set by society heighten her curiosity and desire for love—it becomes her biggest yearning. The extreme measures this woman takes throughout the story demonstrates how society made finding a sensual relationship extremely difficult, if not impossible, for high classed women during the eighteenth century.
Throughout the eighteenth century, social class was an ever ruling concept. A person’s social class determined everything about them—their fate was uncompromising. In order to maintain a high social class, families refused to marry their daughters to anyone of lower standing. They put a lot of effort into finding a suitor who
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Many limitations were placed on her by society because of her status. She finally decided that she was done conforming to these restrictions and sought out to find a lover, disguising herself as a prostitute. In doing so, she manifested the start of a new fling with Beauplaisir and discovered her new found liking for seductive power. Christine Blouch states that each of Haywood’s sluts “is the embodiment of her anger and the incarnation of her sense of control and power over the male” (535). Haywood incorporates this idea of making the heroine disguise herself as a prostitute to ensure that she is able to experience the control high classed women of the eighteenth century have always been deprived of. She is ridiculing society and its limitations of women in higher
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