The Lack of Intelligence Portrayed by Women

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nduff6
Words 593
Pages 3
Nicole Duffy

The Lack of Intelligence Portrayed by Women The idea of intelligence didn’t arise until the mid 17th century, developing into a more dominant concept during the 18th century. With intelligence being an unfamiliar concept, writers were able to take the topic in whatever direction they perceived it as. Contrasts between men and women’s intelligence became evident in many different works of literature. Defoe, Hatwood, Pope, and Swift all wrote stories that suggest women acquire a lessoned value of intelligence than men. Each author depicts the lack of intelligence that women possess in various ways, giving multiple examples of why women were considered the more fragile sex during this time period. Each author depicts the lack of intelligence that women possess in various ways. Alexander Pope’s, The Rape of Lock illustrates the absence of intelligence in women by making the main character, Belinda, obsessed with her physical appearance. Belinda is completely aware of her beauty and rather than paying no attention to it, she constantly exerts her vanity. At one point in the story, a lock of her hair is cut off. “And screams of horror rend the affrighted skies./ not louder shrieks to putting heaven are cast (156-157). Belinda’s reaction is so preposterous that the loss of her hair is compared to death. Belinda is too consumed in the idea of being perceived as someone beautiful, to care about the judgement of others based on other aspects, such as her personality. C.F. Goody writes, “It is by appearances that we judge others, they judge us and mutual recognition or misrecognition occurs. Intelligence is one such form of mutual (mis)recognition” (63). Rather than allowing people to see who she really is, she makes the mistake of being identified as the only thing she cares about, a beautiful woman. Jonathan Swift’s, “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” is…...

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