Sunday, February 21, 2010

Clarification on the Role of Marriage in Alonzo

I feel like Sam and I made this point clear in our presentation earlier this week, but to sort of clarify our position I wanted to comment here. I think that a strong argument can be made that "Alonzo the Brave, and Fair Imogene" does actually go beyond criticizing the particular faults of Alonzo and Imogene's relationship to actually take a stab at the institution of marriage itself. While "the breaking of promises," as Peter puts it, is an obvious representation of the truth vs. lies aspect of the Gothic that we discussed in class, I think that Lewis is making a larger statement than "Be true to your husband" in his poem. The idea that Imogene was the object of another suitor's advances - "His treasure, his presents, his spacious domain / Soon made her untrue to her vows" - instead of the active initiator of the new relationship suggests that woman sort of lose their independence when they accept a husband. Indeed, Sam and I saw Lewis' description of Imogene being dragged to the grave as meant to underscore the notion of all marriage as "death" for women. Once they have promised themselves over to a man, they give up the independence they had as single women. Outside of the poem itself, I agree with Nathaniel that Lewis' life itself serves as a strong testament to this interpretation.

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