A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women Essay

A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women Essay

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The Romantic principle of individualism was shaped by the notion of man’s natural goodness which is prevented through artificial structures such as hierarchy. A Vindication of the Rights of Women was a text written to challenge the existing social and gender stratifications which constrained an individual’s freedom. Endorsing Jacques Turgot’s presentation of his Six Edicts in 1776 which proposed the elimination of privilege amongst the nobles, Wollstonecraft expresses her disdain for entitlements such as money metaphorically in her denunciation “Birth, riches, and every extrinsic advantage that exalt a man above his fellows, without any mental exertion, sink him in reality below them” exploring the dangers of the suppression of individuality. Similarly, Wollstonecraft highlights the inequality faced by woman, especially in regards to the quality of education. Wollstonecraft adopts a logical argument as she introduces her innate desire for the universal reform of through the metaphor “if men eat of the tree of knowledge, women will come in for a taste” utilising the Romantic values of equality to suggest that the need for equality enables individuals to reason and gain virtue. A Vindication of the Rights of Women was primarily written in response to several early Romantic philosophers including Jean-Jacques Rousseau who proposed “women ought to make herself pleasing to him rather than to provoke him; her particular strength lies in her charms” (The Social Contract, 1762) reflective of artificial structures created by mankind which stigmatise and suppress individualism. Wollstonecraft opposes Rousseau’s ideologies through her sarcastic metaphor “she was created to be the toy of man, his rattle which he chooses to be amused with” ext...


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...and the relationship between nature and man. This notion is reinforced through the French philosopher Denis Diderot who notes “all that stuns the soul, all that imprints a feeling of terror, leads to the sublime.” (Encyclopédie, 1830). Finally, the light-coloured palette choice symbolises the figure’s tranquillity of mind highlighting the impact of solitude in promoting spiritual accomplishment. This is reflected in Coleridge’s This Lime Tree Bower My Prison where the recurrence of the rook in “My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook / Beat its straight path along the dusty air” connects the persona with his colleague despite their separation symbolising the capacity for nature and imagination to unite individuals through spiritual connection. Hence, the power of nature enables the individual to attain inner fulfilment through the human capacity of imagination.

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