Lysistrata's Sixth Satire The Martyrdom Of Perpetu Literary Analysis

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For women, representation has been a consistent struggle. Women are often categorized into one of several predetermined literary “characters,” none of whom are reflective of the reality of female experience: for example, a saintly mother figure which echoes the Virgin Mary, a lustful and disloyal wife, or a conniving, manipulative woman who extorts men in order to achieve her will. Additionally, if a work has been produced by a female author, whether it be a poem, a letter, a speech, or a story, the work will often be faced with undue challenges concerning its credibility and validity solely due to the gender of its writer. Due to this biased criticism, female authors often must work harder to ensure the value of their works.While discussions …show more content…
It is all too easy to look back to the literary past and scoff, or to ignore it entirely; however, readers must recall the common idiom that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Through careful study of depictions of women in antiquity, one gains a greater understanding of how to effectively combat contemporary gender-based challenges. This scholarly approach is particularly important in studying the “great civilizations” of the western historical past: Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and Medieval Europe. Through close interpretation of Lysistrata, Juvenal’s Sixth Satire, The Martyrdom of Perpetua, The Wife of Orleans, and Letter to Abelard, one may gain a greater comprehension of the temporally contextual representations of women throughout …show more content…
However, the path to authorial credibility as a medieval woman was highly selective; for many female writers, the sole path to authority was through a religious vocation. Letter to Abelard, a correspondence between the abbess Heloise and her lover, illustrates the significant influence granted to religious medieval women. The abbess directly questions Abelard in his decision to deposit her in a nunnery: “Were you haunted by the image of Lot’s wife turning back when you delivered me up to these vows and holy vestments even before you delivered yourself to God?” Veiled in the nuances of this statement, there is an undercurrent of mockery. Abelard placed Heloise in a nunnery in order to remove her from his daily experience, thereby reducing the risk of further injury; however, by installing Heloise in a religious vocation, Abelard granted her societal influence far beyond that of women in differing professions. Due to her position as an abbess, Heloise had the ability to invoke heavenly authority in her arguments-and she frequently did. The abbess implores her lover, “By that God who claims your dedication, I beg of you, grant me your presence.” Through the claim of a direct connection to God, Heloise, and medieval women in similar religious positions, maintained great authority and credibility to their compositions. The female ability to assume literary

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