Essay on Chastity and Remarriage: Widows in Medieval England

Essay on Chastity and Remarriage: Widows in Medieval England

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During the medieval time period women had specific roles that usually categorized as the daughter, the mother, the sister, the wife—the one who bares all the struggles but still does not receive the same recognition as a man. They are solely recognized by their male counterparts identity—the wife of the man, the daughter of the man, and the mother of the man, etc. So what happens when they no longer have the male counterpart to rely on? What happens when they are no longer their father’s daughter but another man’s wife? And what happens when that man dies and the women has to face society under the title of a widow? What does her role in society become then and what is her title? What is expected of the widow? In certain medieval societies when a woman’s husband died she had zero rights in property and homely matters and she in order to survive in society she had to begin anew and join a relationship with another male. In some societies women were not allowed to remarry, while in others for the woman’s family and betterment she was allowed to remarry. In Medieval England women played many roles in different areas, in many occurrences women had much say in their own lives while in other they lived in the shadow of man. Widows had many expectations and ideals that they had to live up to, they were expected to live virtuous lives as deemed by the bible, take care of the land their deceased male counterpart left behind with the help of administration consisting of married men and women, however if stricken by poverty they were still expected to partake in society through self-reliance and struggling.
The expectations of a woman in Medieval England was to get remain chaste, hold on to their virtue until they were married, give birth ...

... middle of paper ...

...t have any other relation with another man unless she remarried.

Cavallo, Sandra, and Lyndan Warner. Widowhood in medieval and early modern Europe. Harlow, Essex, UK: Longman, 1999.

Clark, Katherine. "Purgatory, Punishment, and the Discourse of Holy Widowhood in the High and Later Middle Ages." Journal of the History of Sexuality 16, no. 2 (2007): 169-203.

French, Katherine L. "Loving Friends: Surviving Widowhood in Late Medieval Westminster." Blackwell Publishing 22 (2010): 21-37.
Rice, Nicole R. "“Temples to Christ's Indwelling”: Forms of Chastity in a Barking Abbey
Manuscript." Journal Of The History Of Sexuality 19, no. 1 (January 2010): 115-132

Walker, Sue Sheridan. "Feudal Constraint and Free Consent in the Making of Marriages in
Medieval England: Widows in the King’s Gift." Historical Papers 14, no. 1 (1979): 97-109.

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