Since time immemorial, women have been always been illustrated as the weaker gender and a subject of admiration with the sole responsibility of pleasing the male gender. For this reason, women in movies and literature are illustrated as weak and when disobedient to the male gender they are usually viewed as vixens. This paper illustrates the concept of oppression in two texts and a movie coined from the fact that women were always forced to be loyal to their husbands in case of Christina and Blue Beard’s wife whereby any counter opinion and curiosity was not allowed. In the case of Laura, she was oppressed following the fact that she was not financially independent hence vulnerable to sexual abuse from the male gender.
The “Goblet Market” by Christina Rossetti demonstrates how gender inequalities were inherent in the period’s social order. Women suffered the fate of being betrayed or abandoned by their husbands. At the market, Laura’s fall is determined by her gender whereby since she has no money, she has to sell herself so as to obtain what she desired. She engaged in the “the great social evil.” Men on the other hand are portrayed as having uncontrolled sexual urges responsibly for their acts of infidelity. The “Goblin men” are a representation of male dominance (Rossetti, stanza 1 and 13). On the other hand, the same poem creates a world where women can have control over their fates and levels of independence through sisterhood. Lizzie, for example was able to avoid the degradation and rape present at the market because she has money in her purse. She therefore had a bargaining power.
The second reading “Blue Beard” by Charles Perrault illustrates women as individuals suffering miserably in marriages and desperately looking for a way to escape. Blue Beard’s wife disobeyed his orders and had gone into the forbidden closet during which she stained the key with blood. “Your place will also be in the closet” said Blue Beard upon the realization of his wife’s action. We learn that Blue Beard had had several wives but murdered them and kept them in the closet implying that his wives had been unhappy and the only thing that put them out of their misery was death. Blue Beard’s heart is described to be “as hard as a rock” in that he could not forgive his wife’s disobedience (Perrault, par. 21). However, despite the difficult situation this woman was in she is saved by her brothers therefore making her the mistress of Blue Beard’s estate and having the power to marry her sister to a young gentleman whom she loved. This can be interpreted to imply she did not want her sister to go through what she went through being married to an old man whom she did not love. Blue Beard’s widow used another part of her estate to purchase captain’s commission for her heroic brothers and the rest to be married to a worthy gentleman who transformed her life for the best.
Diabolique (1955) quotes also demonstrate the subject of oppressed women when the life of two women takes a new direction after they conspired to kill their lover after which the corpse disappears. It is evident that the headmaster (Michel) was and abusive and harsh husband citing the scene when he embarrassed his wife (Christina) at the dinning table. “Everyone is looking at you. Swallow.” He said yet it was well established that the fish she was eating was disgusting. For this and many more reasons, his wife did not wish him well. “Don’t you believe in Hell?” she asked Nicole since that is what she wished her husband. From the quotes, we get to learn that women suffered silently under the hands of their male counterparts (Anonymous, par. 2). Despite the sad conditions, they dared not question their husbands but instead plot to do evil behind their husbands back.
As supported by the three readings, it is evident that women were not allowed to be strong and independent. This is however not the case in the contemporary society. The development of feminism has enabled women question societal roles, give their opinions and pursue whatever career they desire. Today’s man recognizes the female gender and would not demand the impossible from her.
Anonymous. Diaboliques (1955) Quotes. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046911/quotes on 14/10/2013.
Rossetti, Christina. Poetry Foundation: Goblin Market. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262 on 14/10/2013.
Perrault, Charles. Blue Beard. October 7, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault03.html on 14/10/2013.