Alfred and Louisa Dorsets’ relationship is not literally incestuous; that is, they are not lovers. Rather, their seemingly incestuous relationship is symbolic of a much larger societal characteristic – a type of incest defined in much more expansive terms. Mr. and Miss Dorset engage in a different brand of incest known as “social incest.” Simply put, social incest is the inclination to only marry within one’s own class. In an interview with Barbara Davis, Peter Taylor acknowled...
... middle of paper ...
...om Mero and marries and outsider, effectively illustrating that the ideals of social incest no longer have a hold over the residents of Mero.
Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time is an intelligent and indirect social analysis by Peter Taylor. Taylor illustrates an apparently incestuous relationship between brother and sister pair Alfred and Louisa Dorset. Upon further examination, however, it becomes clear that the story is actually Peter Taylor commenting on the society in which he was raised; a society characterized by shallowness and incest, though a brand of incest on a larger scale known as “social incest.” Taylor uses the Dorsets’ incestuous relationship as a symbol for social incest. The story goes on to show the Dorsets’ fall from the top of the social ladder, which effectively ends the advancement of social incest in Mero.
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