Brit. Lit/ 7
TOBG Discussion Questions
Roles of Women in Early Europe
In early, medieval Europe, everyday life and the duties of people were greatly different than they are today. Obviously, there was no technology and life was a lot simpler. However, some of the former ways of life are not always praised as something good. For example, women during the time were treated very inadequately. Yes, this has happened in just about every society in history, but it seems like most women during this period were used and disrespected more notably than in others. In Philippa Gregory’s novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, this theme is seen greatly. In the story, the narrator, Mary, is defending her sister, Anne, after she is sentenced to death for producing an incest baby instead of a son for the king, King Henry. Mary, pleading for her sister, yells out “We did nothing more than that was ordered. We only ever did as we were commanded. Is she to die for being an obedient daughter?”(Pg. 650). During this time period, many women in the royal courts were used to produce male heirs, mainly to keep the name of the king and the family continuing. I strongly agree with the quote by Mary because killing a human being for a reason such as that is immoral and women are not just objects for men. In the story, Henry did have a choice to kill Anne or not, but I understood why he did end up taking her life.
When Mary claims that the two Boleyn girls “did as they were commanded”, something drew to my attention. Mary was completely valid in saying that. Anne and Mary were mainly just used to birth a son. Several members of their family, including their uncle, demanded for one of them to bed the king. At first it was Mary who had an affair with the already married king. Even though Mary produces two children, one being a boy, it is not legitimate due to the fact that Mary is merely a mistress and not the queen. When he was done with Mary, King Henry moved...
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