Gerald of Wales was a medieval clergyman who in 1184 became a diplomatic negotiator of King Henry II(pg 12). The following year Henry II had Gerald of Wales accompany his son John on an expedition to Ireland. After Gerald’s expedition to Ireland he produced Topographia Hibernica (Topography of Ireland) as a gift for Henry II (pg30). Due to his religious point of view and generally critical attitude to the manners and morals of the Irish he uses his book to shed light on Ireland and their need for the restructuring of the English church.
Gerald of Whales views the role of gender in The History and Topography of Ireland with a religious perspective due to being a clergyman. As a result, Gerald perceives the behavior of the Irish people as being barbaric and in need of religious help, that the English could provide. Gerald and the Church believe that men are to labor, and that their labor will result in wealth of various forms. However, Gerald describes the Irish as lazy men who do not wish to work, that their laziness is the cause of their barbaric ways. Gerald calls the Irish “wild and inhospitable people” who “have not progressed at all from the primitive habits of pastoral living.”(101). Gerald believes that with the help of the English the Irish will progress into pastoral living, baring labor, allowing them to settle in communities where they will become privileged law-abiding people. So that after settling into communities they can cultivate and become money making towns and a more unified civilization under religion (102). Secondly Gerald and the church believe that women are the cause of evil due to Genesis 3. Therefore, the church believes that women are to obey men, and view women as deceiving creatures. So, while reading The History and Topography of Ireland Gerald tends to refer to women as wretched and beasts. Gerald finds that in Ireland women disobey men and are the cause of devastating events. One example of this can be seen in “A big lake...
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