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Essay on Sexual and Class Exploitation In “The Wife’s Resentment”

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An Analytical Essay on Sexual and Class Exploitation
In “The Wife’s Resentment”

This essay will analyze the themes of sexual and class exploitations in the story “The Wife’s Resentment” by Delariviere Manley. By exploring these themes we are able to get an idea of why Manley wrote this story. That is, she hoped to make young women, whether rich or poor, aware of the value of their virtue as well as their rights as married or single women to protect that virtue or honor. By revealing the themes that are presented in the story, we can see what Manley stood for and why she wrote this story in the period she lived in.
“The Wife’s Resentment” is a story with a plot that amazes the reader. It’s a plot that brings you directly into the 18th century society and introduces you to a young women’s suffering due to being betrayed by the only man she loved; which leads to the lost of her virtue and good reputation. It is apparent that this story is written in Amatory Fiction which was very famous during the 17th and 18th centuries. Amatory Fiction usually depicts an innocent trusting woman who is deceived by a lustful man as I mentioned above. This is the case for the main character in the story which is Violenta. Violenta is a poor orphan which is described by the author as a beautiful young lady with the capabilities of reading and writing and was known all throughout Valencia for her virtue and honest report until she met Roderigo. Seignior Roderigo, Knight of Valencia is described as a rich handsome person who pleased everyone. To him all women were indifferent and as stated by the author, “his business was mere gallantry, he knew not what it was to love; provided he could but triumph, he valued not the conquest” (144). Nonetheless,...


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...he author, to let the reader know that during those times a woman with no virtue or good reputation was seen as nothing more than a whore. Violenta soon gets her revenge and kills the man who took away her twenty years of virtue and who betrayed her. Soon after this, she gets beheaded but not before she tells her storied and gets her reputation cleared up.
In conclusion, this story ends very tragically, but it is important to keep in mind that Manley wrote this story so vividly for a purpose. That purpose being, to let women know to be responsive to damages caused to them no matter how and in what way they did it. What mattered to Manley and what she wanted to get across was for women to be heard and to prevent this from happening to innocent young ladies. Also to make the reader aware of sexual and class exploitations that took place during the 18th centuries.


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