Sexuality and Morality in Samuel Richardson's Novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

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Sexuality and Morality in Samuel Richardson's novel
Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

Samuel Richardson is a 18th century writer, famous for his three novels: Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady and The History of Sir Charles Grandison. For the most of his life Richardson was an established printer and publisher. He wrote his first novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded thanks to a fortuitous turn of events, at the age of 51. Soon after that he became famous and admired writer. Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is an “epistolary” novel – it takes the form of a collection of letters written by the characters, not in calm remembrance after the events, but to the moment, while the narrative is unfolding. In that way the reader is allowed to get into the most intimate thoughts and desires of the character. The protagonist is a fifteen-years-old Pamela Andrews, a maidservant, who came from the working class and tries to make her way through the world. She is a beautiful young lady with high moral standards, honest and dutiful daughter, that can serve as an example for the young generation of 18th century. She sacrifices her freedom in order to help her poor family.

Her soul is pure and selfless, but she is strong enough to stand her ground. Her seducer, Mr. B. , is also her master, employer and justice, but his attempt to dishonour her is frustrated by Pamela's devotion. Mr. B. is a man with an extreme power - he can abuse her only because she comes from a lower class. One of the main things that grabs the reader's attention is Pamela's sexuality. That is because it is hard for the modern audience to understand the sacred value of virginity. She rejects Mr. B.'s offers of enormous amount of money, luxury dresses and jewellery in order to preserve her virtue. Her innocence and intelligence fascinate him, but his high rank prevents him from proposing marriage. It makes sense that the word “virtue” is used by Richardson in a very narrow and...
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