"Marriage is law, and the worst of all laws."(Godwin in Paul 113) is what William Godwin, an 18th century English writer who is also known as "the founder of philosophical anarchism" (Philip), wrote in his Political Justice book. His future-to-become wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, was another English writer whose fame shone after the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft was one of the first women to come open and sharp against the inferiority shown towards women at her time and no different from Godwin; she also attacked the marriage institute by calling it "legal prostitution" (Tomalin 106). But despite their theories, both of these writers acted different in practice. They both married, and what is astounding is that they married each other. The announcement of the marriage left everybody astonished and not able to understand how the paradox had happened. How could these two intellectual writers, who through their work told the world "Do not marry. Marriage is slavery." marry each other? To be able to understand the causes that led them to oppose their own moral laws, one first needs to know how and why each of them supported their anti-marriage philosophies.
Godwin was a man of reason. "Reason, far more than the affections, guided his actions, and while he sought after One who would satisfy his intellect, he seems to have never felt the need, and therefore never the power of adoration and self-abasement." (Paul 27). Having such a standing, love and passion would never be enough reasons for him to lead a person to marriage. As mentioned at the beginning, he saw marriage as a law, a law that would restrict a person's actions and furthermore impose on him what actions to take. Thus he said: "Whatever our understandings may tell us of the person from whose connection we should derive the greatest improvement, of the worth of one woman, and the demerits of another, we are obliged to consider what is law, and not what is justice.
Add to this that marriage is an affair of property, and the worst of all properties. So long as two human beings are forbidden by positive institution to follow the dictates of their own mind, prejudice is alive and vigorous." (Godwin in Paul 113)
On the other side, Wollstonecraft was probably one of the most passionate women ever. She couldn't stay without loving. The element of love is what gave her and her work life.
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Sherif Girgis wrote his article, “Marriage: Whose Justice? Which Diversity?” in response to John Corvino’s, “What Marriage Can Be” article. Corvino’s article introduced the inclusivist view of marriage and then attacked Girgis’ conjugal view of marriage, which was introduced in Girgis’ book, “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.” Corvino’s inclusivist view was meant to expand the definition of marriage, not re-define it (Corvino, p.6) and although Corvino’s defense of the inclusivist view was, “sophisticated, civil and well-informed” according to Girgis, it was also, “Contradicting virtually every philosophical and legal tradition until yesterday, it nonetheless offers no positive case for its thesis” (Girgis, p.1). Girgis obviously does not agree with Corvino’s inclusivist/revisionist view, but he does so on the basis that it has too many weaknesses. The conjugal view is superior as it most properly defines what true marriage is and should be. In the ensuing sections, I shall describe what the conjugal view of marriage is and why Girgis believes it to be superior to both the
The angry tone of Wollstonecraft’s “Vindication of the Rights of Women” significantly contrasts with the cautionary tone of Austen’s “On Making an Agreeable Marriage,” seeking to reform society rather than guide people to live in that society. When Austen describes the drawbacks of loveless marriage, she writes that “Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection” (Austen 72-73). Austen uses “preferred” and “endured” to warn her niece against marrying too quickly, creating a cautionary tone. Moreover, “anything” emphasizes the miserableness of a marriage without affection, beseeching Austen’s niece to verify her love before diving headfirst into a marriage. In contrast, when demonizing the education system, Wollstonecraft
Bill Cosby once said that, “For two people in a marriage to live together day after day is unquestionably the one miracle the Vatican has overlooked.” J.J. Lewis (1995-2009) This famous comedian could not have been more correct when recognizing that every marriage will face a multiple number of challenges and is often difficult. Couples, once married, must find a way to end any struggles in order for the marriage to be successful. Marital traditions have changed greatly over the centuries and due to this, the opinion of what an ‘ideal marriage” consists of has changed as well. When reviewing the document “On Love and Marriage” the author (a Merchant of Paris) believes that marriage should not be an equal partnership, but one that pleases the husband to avoid conflict. This can be clearly seen through an examination of: the social, and political environment of the late fourteenth century, and the merchant’s opinions on the area of obedience to a husband, and how to avoid infidelity.
With that case of using marriage as a tool, it is seen in “Henry V” clearly. The personality of King Henry evolves with the idea of marriage, was rather remarkable. Even though in the beginning of Act ...
Regularly characterized as monsters, women were ridiculed for being sexually unappeasable, lustful, and shrewish, and they were regarded with condescension by the church authorities. Similarly, people in the medieval era regarded multiple marriages as highly questionable, and it is for this reason that the Wife of Bath carefully examines the words of God as revealed in scripture (revealing her to be more than a simple-minded woman: a knowledge of religious texts proves she is definitely educated and well-read). She confesses that nowhere can she find a stricture against her having more than one marriage, and her five husbands are therefore her choice and hers only. “He seith to be wedded is no synne:/ Bet is to be wedded than to brynne”, she remarks humorously, drawing on the fact that by God’s permission, finding a partner through marriage is a pastime with little consequences, for it is better than engaging in sin and burning for it (50-53. 301). This begins her analysis of the bible and the often “sinful” breakdown of a sexual relationship between man and woman, and introduces her repetitive idea of the
Wollstonecraft spends a lot of time speaking to the importance of education for women. She perceives education to be of monumental importance for a number of reasons. First, without an education for women equal to that available to men, women are useless members of society. Instead both men and women should be educated as moral beings and guided by reason. (Damrosch ) Second, she argued that the socialization of women and current state of education provided to women was a “false system of education,” which were really conduct manuals “written on this subject by men who, considering females rather as women than human creature, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than affectionate wives and rational mothers; and the understanding of the sex has been so bubbled by this specious homage, that the civilized woman of the present century, with a few exceptions,...
Although she accepted gender differences as natural, she rejected the social indoctrination that women were inferior to man. Furthermore, she believed that women were deliberately portrayed by society as inferior. For example, she asserted that women “have acquired all the follies and vice of civilization.” Wollstonecraft argues about excessive sensibility for women. She asserted that due to women’s inflamed senses and neglected understanding, they become “the prey of their senses”, or in other words their judgment is not formed by the society. Therefore she rejected the society’s perception of “a mixture of madness and
A woman was expected to be educated in things that could bring joy to her husband or family, such as drawing, piano, cross-stitch and other domestic crafts. This schooling allowed her to use shallow skills without becoming “overly stimulated by knowledge” (Wollstonecraft, p. 46). Women were to avoid complex subjects such as math and politics (Nightingale, p. 31) to preserve their innocence as moral centers for their homes. According to Wollstonecraft, education was central to a woman’s growth as it "will slowly sharpen the senses, form the temper, regulate the passions as they begin to ferment, and set the understanding to work before the body arrives at maturity” (Wollstonecraft, p. 44). Without this intellectual development, women were unable (or believed themselves unable) to think or act autonomously and left them increasingly dependent on the males in their lives. Wollstonecraft emphasizes the perversion of this dependence by arguing that since women have a soul and were created by God, they were given the same gift of reason as man; therefore they have the ability to educate themselves and produce their own income (Wollstonecraft, p. 47). Any perceived lack of intellect was generated by man and forced upon them so that did not believe themselves capable, furthering a childlike
During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period marriage and love were idealized, divine and celebrated. Weddings were large events that included the entire families of both the groom and the bride. Reality was different; women were viewed as being fickle, inferior to men and a possession of men. Women had very little, if any, choice in who they would marry. Marriages were arranged so that both families would benefit in gaining wealth or power. Even though the ruler of England for over 4 decades was female, women were still not respected. Women were kept at home and not allowed to take place in public events. In Shakespeare’s Richard III, male and female relationships are displayed as deeply cynical and are based on lies, lust and political gain.
Puchner, Martin. Mary Wollstonecraft. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd Ed. Volume D. Ed. Martin Puchner. New York: Norton, 2013. 133. Print.
Since the beginning of time, marriage exists as a large part of life. The values of marriage change on a year to year basis and as trends continue to change so will marriage. There have been numerous reasons for marriage throughout time such as arranged, wealth, love or many others. In the 18th century, many marriages were based on one’s class and wealth and not true love. Today, many marriages do not take wealth or class into account they focus on that person’s inner self and love. Marriage exists as an overlying theme throughout Pride and Prejudice and every marriage appears for a different reason.
Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, demonstrate many different attitudes and perceptions towards marriage. Some of these ideas are very traditional, such as that illustrated in the Franklin’s Tale. On the other hand, other tales present a liberal view, such as the marriages portrayed in the Miller’s and The Wife of Bath’s tales. While several of these tales are rather comical, they do indeed depict the attitudes towards marriage at that time in history. D.W. Robertson, Jr. calls marriage "the solution to the problem of love, the force which directs the will which is in turn the source of moral action" (Robertson, 88). "Marriage in Chaucer’s time meant a union between spirit and flesh and was thus part of the marriage between Christ and the Church" (Bennett, 113). The Canterbury Tales show many abuses of this sacred bond, as will be discussed below.
Mary Wollstonecraft was a self-educated, radical philosopher who wrote about liberation, and empowering women. She had a powerful voice on her views of the rights of women to get good education and career opportunities. She pioneered the debate for women’s rights inspiring many of the 19th and the 20th century’s writers and philosophers to fight for women’s rights, as well. She did not only criticize men for not giving women their rights, she also put a blame on women for being voiceless and subservient. Her life and, the surrounding events of her time, accompanied by the strong will of her, had surely affected the way she chose to live her life, and to form her own philosophies.
Fairfax, “Marriage is one of the core values of society. Almost 20 years ago, the well renowned black scholar and psychologist Dr. Na’im Akbar (1991) penned the following: ‘‘marriage is such an important lesson in manhood (womanhood) development. It is no wonder that every society requires some form of it’’ (p. 13).” This coincides with the values that I stated above that were considered important in my culture. Marriage is important to more that my culture obviously but in my culture there is always this well-known quote from the bible: “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing (NKJV Proverbs 18:22). That is basically religion and love in the same