Use this link to cite this item : http://doi.org/10.15027/25179
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The Rib of Adam and Marvell's 'The Garden' (Part I)
English and American literature
Marvell's misoginistic attitude characteristically manifested in 'The Garden' has been linked sometimes with Hermeticism, but more frequently with a Christian tradition fashioned and supported by patriarchal ideology, and most recently with the poet's homoeroticism. This paper, focusing on the poet's surroundings in the middle of political turmoil of the mid-seventeenth century, proposes two other possible causes for his attempt to exclude women.
The first part of this essay explains the ideological significance of widespread torture of shrews such as using bridles or cucking stools, and of social control operated by, for example, the custom of skimmington. It also illustrates the way in which the discourse of patriarchy defines women as, both biologically and theologically, men not properly born and created without soul. One important point for the rest of our argument is that before Marvell expresses his dislike for womankind in his poetry the seventeenth-century feminist reaction has already begun by giving different (and, for some, radical) re-interpretations to Eve's position as Adam's mere helpmate created from his rib.
The Hiroshima University studies, Faculty of Letters
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
Departmental Bulletin Papers
Graduate School of Letters