Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 11 July 2007
The itinerary of Daniel Defoe's heroine is absolutely not a common example of life in Paris and London in the 18th century. At that time, only 10 % of the population was older than 30 years and only one in one thousand was rich.
For Roxana, `Poverty was my Snare', `the dreadful Argument of wanting Bread'. And, `Poverty is the strongest Incentive; a Temptation against which no Virtue is powerful enough to stand out.'
What saves Roxana from a certain early death is her beauty, her sex-appeal: `In une Deshabile you charm me a thousand times more.'
With her beauty she amasses a fortune. After being a slave (`comply and live, deny and starve'), she is free (`the sweetest of Miss is Liberty'): `that while a Woman was single, that she had then the full Command of what she had, and the full Direction of what she did.'
She abhors the institution of matrimony and prefers to be a Mistress: `A Wife is treated with Indifference, a Mistress with a strong Passion; a Wife is looked upon as but an Upper-Servant, a Mistress is a Sovereign.'
But what ultimately brings Roxana down is religion and its correlative, remorse: `the Sence of Religion, and Duty to God, all Regard to Virtue and Honour given up ... (I was) no more than a Whore.'
Remorse makes her look after her abandoned children, but this quest turns into a tragedy.
Like `Moll Flanders', this more moralist text constitutes a formidable portrait of the `horrid Complication' to be a woman.
Not to be missed.