com2_FINAL - Elaine Chow Christina Schiesari COM 002 18...

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Elaine Chow Christina Schiesari COM 002 18 March 2011 Final – Prompt 2 The Convent of Pleasure acknowledges that women of all standing are oppressed by men in a male-dominated society through various means . Its representation of gender illustrates the idea that men, selfish and lustful predators, are the downfall of women . In Cavendish’ time, the 17 th century, it was also the custom that a good Christian woman was subservient to the patriarch, who was considered closest to God . If a woman disobeyed her husband, she was directly disobeying her Lord . The gentlemen in the play believe Lady Happy is violating natural laws of subservience with her convent, and therefore believe “she ought to be examined by a Masculine Synod, and punish’d with a severe Husband” (Cavendish, 104) . Another observation within the text is that women of a lower class are more likely to suffer from unhappy marriages, “for having not means to please themselves, they must serve only to please others” (Cavendish, 101) . Unlike women of a higher standing, they do not have the resources to take pleasure in things that act as a form of escape . The disparity between genders in Cavendish’s text also alludes to the undeniable existence of a patriarchal society . The patriarch is represented in The Convent of Pleasure as mostly chauvinistic and self- serving with examples that include the gentleman set on infiltrating and destroying the convent and the characters within the ladies’ closet plays . The debauched characteristics of the gentleman are apparent in their names as Monsieur “Take-Pleasure” and his friend “Dick” . The men and
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com2_FINAL - Elaine Chow Christina Schiesari COM 002 18...

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