Persuasion: The Inconstancy Of Women In Literature

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The necessity of marriage and finding a partner at a certain point in life is so deeply embedded in society. The tale of meeting “Prince Charming” and having him sweep you off your feet is something most young girls believe in and unconsciously pursue. For men, the idea of marriage is not so charming. It is seen in literature throughout time that men believe that to be married is to be “tied down”, that women are only trying to manipulate and “trap them” and in this way are never constant in their character. It is this falsified inconstancy of women that is portrayed in pieces like Walter Map’s Letter from Valerius to Ruffinus and in Persuasion by Jane Austen. However, unlike in the Map text, Persuasion depicts a truthfulness and equality in love that portrays inconstancy as a lesser evil than normally conceived. Walter Map’s letter “against marriage” portrays the image of man’s ruin after engaging in marriage. It shows its audience that women are deceitful even when they are not trying …show more content…
After reading this, one might think that the lesson is to avoid being inconstant, to never change in your character and to never be persuaded. However, Louisa’s character shows that sometimes the most constant women need a little persuasion. Austen allows the reader to judge whether persuasion is a positive or negative force depending on how you use it. The constant and age-old trope of the inconstancy of women is one to be taken with a grain of salt. Yes there are instances where women are easily persuaded, but that does not make them manipulative and set to ruin lives like Walter Map and many others have thought before him. The gendered views on marriage are tackled well in Austen’s Persuasion as she puts men and women on an equal field and portrays the values as well as pitfalls of constancy and inconstancy of

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