Marquise of O "&#8230A Lady Essay

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Even without this knowledge, there is a suggestion of rape because she is said to have 'found' herself in a particular situation rather than have chosen to have sexual relations with her child's father. But if that is the case, then why is she seeking to marry him? And if it was a rape, how can she have no clue as to who it was, given the violent nature of the act?

The passivity of the feminine role in the story's society is suggested by her acquiescence to her family, who is the reason she says she is submitting the advertisement to the newspaper. She is not marrying because she wants to or feels a particular sense of affection for the unknown father, but is doing so out of consideration for her family's feelings. Her family has estranged her because they no longer believe her to be a virtuous woman, yet her advertisement supports both her claims of innocence and incomprehension as to why she is pregnant. Her dutiful action -- even her willingness to marry a rapist -- suggests that there is little place for female pleasure in marriage at all, although the Marquise apparently loved her late husband very much. But if pleasure occurs for women in marriage, it is fleeting and accidental. Ultimately the purpose of marriage is a societal construct, not one which is driven by true affection. Thus the 'respectable' woman to preserve her 'respectable' reputation will marry whatever suitor presents himself to her, regardless of what he may have done to her to achieve that coveted status of husband of a honorable lady -- even rape.

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The greatest irony of the tale lays in its conclusion -- the Count whom the Marquise thought saved her from rape, whom she thought was so chivalric, actually was not and raped her in her sleep. The Marquise agrees to marry the Count whom she originally rejected earlier in the story when he proposed to her. Ironically, she rejected him out of respect for her late husband, despite desiring him. Now, after discovering he is not the good man she thought he was, she finds herself forced to marry her rapist, thanks to the 'agreement' she published in the newspaper.

Essay on Marquise of O "…A Lady Assignment

The motives of the first lines of the story suggest a certain desire of social appeasement, which ultimately concludes the novel, albeit in a different way. The Count 'has his way' with the Marquise both on a sexual level and also in the manner in which he is able to compel her to marry him through both pregnancy and the pressures of her family. Although the Marquise may have proven herself to be pure and virtuous, this purity becomes a trap as she finds herself effectively making a written, published promise to marry her rapist -- a promise she eventually fulfills.


Kleist, Heinrich Von. The Marquise of O. New York:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Marquise of O "&#8230A Lady.  (2013, September 23).  Retrieved January 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Marquise of O "&#8230A Lady."  23 September 2013.  Web.  20 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Marquise of O "&#8230A Lady."  September 23, 2013.  Accessed January 20, 2021.