ENG 102 Victorian Cultural Study
ENG 102 Victorian Cultural Study
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Date Created: 11/06/15
Victorian Cultural Study The play A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen was written in the middle of the nineteenth century during a politically progressive era known as the Victorian era This is the beginning of the modern world Industrialization had transformed Europe from an Agrarian society to a truly modern one While men enjoyed many rights and privileges as they had for thousands of years women were quite limited in what they could do with their lives With the introduction of modern conveniences women had time to re ect on their political conditions and began to demand at least some basic rights that men had A Doll House is concerned with the plight of women in the modern social and economic world that still viewed women as inferior to men Women of the Victorian era were restricted in their rights concerning marriage education employment property and their own sexuality The accepted and preferred qualities of a true Victorian lady were for her to be innocent virtuous biddable dutiful and be ignorant of intellectual opinion Thomas Beginning when they were little Victorian females of the upper class were trained in the arts of housewifery to sing play an instrument and speak a little French or Italian Thomas Upon marriage the wife became her husband s chattel a movable article of personal property The Victorian woman a mascot of the age exuded poise and social awareness Mack The Victorian woman married for several reasons The daughters of the upper class generally had no choice in the matter of marriage They were educated to become wives and mothers but nothing else Due to the lack of education available to Victorian women they were expected to marry someone to support them since they were not qualified to do most jobs The upper class Victorian women were page 2 married off by their parents to a wealthy man with a title and could advance the family s social status Marriage of daughters were used to secure business deals increase wealth raise status etc Moore Upper class Victorian women were educated in housewifery how to manage the household and servants She organized entertainments that would bring prestige to her husband also making it possible for them to meet new people and establish economically important relationships Women in the Victorian Era They studied the arts such as singing painting sculpting dancing and playing musical instruments Mack Due to their lack of intellectual and occupational education upper class women were unable to seek employment However lower class Victorian women worked as domestic servants seamstresses and in laborintensive mills These women worked due to economical and survival necessity Thomas Female Occuations C19th Victorian Social History Unlike today Victorian women could not own property Any property owned prior to her marriage which was generally inherited from family reverted to her husband s ownership upon marriage Early in the nineteenth century a married woman could not own property in her own right However with the passage of the Married Woman s Property Act of 1887 women gained the rights to own their own property Thomas A Woman39s Place in 19th Century Victorian History Female sexuality during the Victorian era was plagued by ignorance repression and double standards Frances Cohen Praver Church and state laws regulated sexual activities Sexual relations were solely for procreation The church opposed sex for pure pleasure Females that committed adultery were dealt with more harshly and male adulterers The courts argued that a page 3 child fathered by another man on his wife should not inherit a husband s property Silvia Licciardi A woman s worth before marriage rested in her sexual innocence ignorance and her maidenhead In the nineteenth century William Acton wrote in Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs that women experienced no need for sex He believed that women were apathetic to the notion of sex in marriage Watson Many of the time believed that if a woman sought sexual satisfaction she was not a Godfearing Christian and lacked morals However during the latter part of the nineteenth century some physicians began to challenge the belief that women had no need for sexual gratification The writers of the Alkaloidal Clinic 1891 said that the lack of women s education had taught them to believe that sexual feeling was indecent and immoral The result was a race of sexless creatures married nuns who experienced no pleasurable feeling during sex Watson Victorian woman despite dealing with all of the inequalities of their time in regards to marriage education employment property and their own sexuality eventually found their voices and the strength to fight for their rights Henrik Ibsen used his play The Doll House to convey the inequalities and indignities suffered by the Victorian Ladies He demonstrated that by denying women the opportunity to be educated they were not only in icting an injustice upon the women but on society as a whole page 4 Works Cited Frances Cohen Praver PhD quotMoral Values and the Double Standardquot 13 July 2009 Psycholoav Today 18 October 2010 lthttpWWWpsychologytodaycombloglove doc200907moralvaluesandthedoublestandardgt Mack Amanda quotWomen39s Roles amp Rights in Victorian Englandquot 30 September 2009 eHowcom 16 October 2010 lthttpWWWehowcomfacts5476622womensroles rightsVictorianenglandhtmlgt Moore Melissa quotWhy Victorian Women Marriedquot 3 May 2002 Women39s HistorV Then and m 14 October 2010 lthttpWWWcwrlutexaseduulrichfemhistmarriageshtmlgt SilVia Licciardi Eleonora Lenci quotThe Role of Women in the Victorian Agequot 25 January 2009 English4UScom 15 October 2010 lthttp5benglish4usblogspotcom200901roleof womeninVictorianagehtmlgt Thomas Pauline Weston quotA Woman39s Place in 19th Century Victorian Historyquot nd Fashion Eracom 15 October 2010 lthttpWWWfashioneracomawoman39splacehtmgt quotFemale Occuations C19th Victorian Social Historyquot 13 May 2005 FashionEracom 16 October 2010 lthttpWWWfashioneracomVictorianoccupationswojtczakhtmgt Watson Joanna quotWomen39s Sexuality Then and Nowquot 18 May 2002 Women39s Issues Then amp m 16 October 2010 lthttpWWWcwrlutexaseduulrichfemhistsexualityshtmlgt quotWomen in the Victorian Eraquot 14 October 2010 Wikipediacom 18 October 2010 lthttp enWikipediaorgWikiWomenintheVictorianeragt
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