The Coquette Character Analysis

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Hannah Webster Foster was an American writer who, in 1797, wrote an epistolary novel titled, The coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton. A Novel. Founded on Fact. By a Lady of Massachusetts. Within this novel, Foster pens a tale about a young woman named Eliza Wharton, who is regarded highly by her friends/neighbors for her natural beauty and gay disposition. However, she is known as a coquette and is constantly forewarned to curb her charms when in the company of her hopeful suitors who might misunderstand her intentions. Nevertheless, due to certain circumstances, she falls prey to a libertine and subsequently falls to social/moral ruin that eventually leads to her death. It can be inferred that there are many characters throughout the story that played a role in her downfall, but there is but one true culprit solely responsible for Eliza’s fate. One possible candidate is the notorious Mr. Sanford (the libertine of the novel) who plays a major role in Eliza’s…show more content…
Boyer. While Boyer was indeed considered a virtuous clergyman who only tried to persuade Eliza into an honorable bond of matrimony he is actually the very cause for Eliza’s fate. For it was Boyer’s lack of attention to her desire to not settle down (and pressure he put on her to know her answer) that made Sanford a more pleasing candidate in her eyes, as was seen in Eliza’s response to her mother reminding her of her engagement to Boyer “If I am to become a recluse [referring to how she feels about being married], let me, at least, enjoy those amusements, which are suited to my taste, a short time first. Why should I refuse the polite attentions of this gentleman? They smooth the rugged path of life …” (866). Therefore, proving that she was not ready to sacrifice her freedom to be confined to the responsibilities of marriage and was thus drawn to Sanford as a way for her to avoid these unwanted responsibilities that made her life
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