Aphra Behn, a remarkable author who “‘…earned… [women]…the right to speak their minds’”, who was not afraid to speak her mind herself as evident in her works, and was a writer that aided in paving the way for women’s rights through the literature world (The Norton Anthology 2308). A majority of Behn’s works serve to further the voice of women in the oppressed society in which they were living in and this work being examined is no exception to this. The Disappointment serves as a perfect satiric companion to John Wilmot’s satire The Imperfect Enjoyment, in which instead of the sympathy being placed on the “unfortunate” man who cannot perform, the consideration is retained on the woman’s feelings during this situation instead. This may not seem awe-inspiring, but for a time period when a gender whose side in not often portrayed, this is very significant. In the text, Behn is acting as a voice for the women of that era. She is giving women a platform to stand on to push against this male dominated society; thus providing power for the unheard. By using specific diction, meter, and so forth Behn’s work, The Disappointment, is a vessel in which she demonstrates and satires the patriarchal dominance over women in society.
The creative use of diction that Behn puts forth in her work is extremely capturing to the reader. Furthermore, it brings forth another layer to observe in this work. When examining the last stanza, words such as bewitching, fury, and damned leap off the page. Examine first the word bewitching. This word in itself provides a negative connotation within the reader. Behn realized this and the word was not utilized unintentionally. Here Behn emphasized how during this time period the perspective of women consisted of...
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...er emphasize this. The situation being described is oftentimes just one that the man’s side of the story is portrayed, by offering a perspective that displays that women are actually people and have feelings also, Behn is creating a perspective that is frequently ignored. By creating a companion text to John Wilmot’s The Imperfect Enjoyment, Behn is placing a spotlight one the fact that man is not the only one with feelings to be taken into consideration, there are always two sides to a story and both must be heeded instead of one being tossed aside.
Behn, Aphra. “The Disappointment.” The Norton Anthology: English Literature. Ninth Edition. Stephen Greenblatt, eds. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 2313. Print.
The Norton Anthology: English Literature. Ninth Edition. Stephen Greenblatt, eds. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 2308. Print.