Themes In Samuel Richardson's Pamela Or Virtue Rewarded
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In Samuel Richardson’s, Pamela or Virtue Rewarded, one of the most overarching themes was the change and development of social classes and how they affected the main character, Pamela, as well as the other characters in her life. In the eighteenth century, the concept of social status and wealth in European culture gave superiority to specific genders and treated the opposing as lesser than. Due to this social normality, a domino effect was created and resulted in the constant battle between what is right for their status and what is right for themselves.
Throughout the book, Samuel Richardson makes implications that men should choose their wives not for their money or social standing, but for their virtue. He then makes another shocking suggestion…show more content… Pamela believes that the sole reason for these criticisms can be credited to her lower class status. If her and her parents had been upper class they would face no stipulations. Pamela believes her parents’ honesty, hard work, and integrity shines brighter than their social standing. Yet, Lady Davers refuses to acknowledge Pamela by continuing to use words like “thou” and “thee” in when referring to her. The words “thee” and “thou” originate from Shakespeare and are only used in the context of a master talking to a servant. This demonstrates that Lady Davers had zero intention of ever believing Pamela will be of equal status. In her eyes, Pamela’s upbringing set her status in stone and although Mr. B thinks that Pamela is special and an equal to him, due to their marriage, when referring to their social classes, Lady Davers will never treat her as such. The use of this language can be also be seen in letters Pamela wrote to her parents. “This very Gentleman (yes, I must call him Gentleman, tho’ he has fallen from the Merit of that Title) has degraded himself to offer Freedoms to his poor Servant!” As seen by this quote, Pamela continues to refer to Mr. B as a gentleman because of his social status, while disregarding his behavior almost entirely. The degradation is in the fact that he would show any interest in someone viewed as his…show more content… She endured various forms of mental and physical abuse before being rewarded with a rich husband. What made the difference in the end was that even initially Pamela knew her beliefs, she knew who she was and stayed true to herself. Others say that because she is of lower class her life has no value, however; it is her virtue that gave her value because it was something that no one could take away. Even during the temptations made my Mr. B while he was considered to be her master, Pamela refused to allow him to mold her into something other than her true self. In Mr. B’s mind, he thought her resistance was similar to an older version of playing hard to get and because of this he ultimately fell in love with her. Due to her dedication to her virtue, Pamela reversed the system and changed what people valued. By standing firmly by her own choices Pamela created a happy life for herself whether she knew what she was doing or