Symbolism In Augustus Egg's The Travelling Companion

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Augustus Egg’s “The Travelling Companion” portrays two young women sitting in opposite direction inside a moving train carriage. The painting is almost symmetrical as there are many similarities between the two ladies. However, there are also subtle differences between them which enforces the main themes of this painting through symbolism adding layers of meaning in its reading. This painting was created in 1862 during the Victorian era, a time when industrialization took place, and hence having trains as a background in the painting. Although industrialization brought better income to the society, the people were dissatisfied with the government as it was moribund. The leader, Napoleon III, took a liberal stance, amnestying political exiles and reducing restrains on the press. The imperial dictatorship has been transformed into a constitutional monarchy. While some sectors of the society were in concert with Napoleon III’s reformist ideal; some were of equal concern. Another important idea in the Victorian era is the slow recognition of sexual repression and the start of liberation that opened up better opportunity for women to express themselves. Back then, women were seen as the weaker, more innocent sex who had little or no sexual desires. It was difficult for women to gain social status as equal to men. This character is portrayed by the woman on the right of the painting. However this situation changed as the liberation by Napoleon III occurred. Women could have

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