TL Question #11 ~ Men!

by Stephen Jeffreys

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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:03 pm

Charlene wrote:Well, did anyone ever figure out who he might have gotten his STD from? Did his wife get infected? Did Lizzie? Did he stop having sex when his nose fell off and it was evident he had something wrong with him....

How did people avoid STD's and pregnancy back then?


There were ways of avoiding pregnancy if you knew how I believe but STD's, no they did not understand the reason why they got those. Remember it was still a time when if a woman failed to get pregnant it was all her fault nothing to do with the man and the sex of the baby was her fault too. They still did not understand completly the mechanics of the body.And as you know most men still don't :lol:

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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:39 pm

This is one of my a favorite passages from the play. I can completely understand EB's desire to be independent, especially considering the lot of the 17th century woman. I also think she should be commended for wanting to continue to work at a profession she obviously loves. My only fault with her, is that she tosses Wilmot away like trash, if it were not for his tutelage and help she would not have become the success she became. I'm not saying that she should marry Wilmot, that I believe would have been a disaster, but her cavalier treatment of him is not laudable, and in many ways makes her no better than the MEN, for whom she has so much disdain. The fact that she is carrying Wilmot's child, is an issue of course, but I believe that like many woman past and present she could care and for her child without benefit of a husband.


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gilly
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Unread postby gilly » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:11 pm

In a way,I admire her for her independence, her straight talking and her singleminded obsession.....When someone is speaking the truth,it's painful to hear..challenging, to our sensibilities....But she is not likeable because she shows no love,empathy with people :cool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:33 pm

Charlene, someone posted in a previous thread, (apologies here because I don't remember exactly who it was... :banghead: ) that one of the biographies mentioned that JW got syphillis while on a trip to France shortly after he and EM were married.

I have a question for those that have read the bios. Did EB willingly give her child to JW to raise or did she have a say in it at all because she was "only" a woman?
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Unread postby Charlene » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:38 pm

DITHOT, isn't syphillus highly contagious? (oh, LOL, :banghead: I'm asking you, like you'd know!!! Sorry). Wouldn't his wife have contracted it. Can't it cause blindness in the children born to a mother with the disease?

Sometimes I think it would be romantic to live in those days, but then you think of the problems they had...even in the "From Hell" time. Brother, that movie will gross you out if you think about those back alley scenes very long.

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Unread postby Larkwoodgirl » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:52 pm

In defense of Barrie, I do think that she truly appreciated his help. I also think that in the beginning she might have actually cared for him.

However, after five years of Wilmot's alcoholic abuse, Barrie had clearly had enough. He was out of control and had almost completely self-destructed. I cannot imagine that living with such a person is an easy task at all. How she endured it for five years before ending the relationship is beyond me.

I think that they were equally callous and manipulative. He tried to win her back by asking her to marry him. It was after a time when he had been so long in convalesence in the country that he was believed by many to be dead. When he did recover (he had a forced sobriety due to his extended illness), I think he realized his days were numbered and went after the only thing that he knew he could not really have. It is strange to me that, nearing the end of his life, he would not choose to embrace the family he had, but chose to pursue the one that he could not have.

Barrie was having none of it. Wilmot showed his hand when he asked her to leave the stage. Barrie was astute enough to fold and run.
""We shall never cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T.S. Eliot

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:35 pm

Charlene, from my understanding (not personal :cool: ) syphillis is contracted sexually so I guess that would be infectious not contagious? Nurses? I know someone posted that EM died a year or so after JW and that both she and the son (?) had been treated for syphillis. I do believe children can be born blind but I don't know if that is the case 100% of the time, it would appear not. This a question I have had too, because if he contracted the disease shortly after his marriage to EM it makes you wonder about her and their children.

larkwood wrote: I think that they were equally callous and manipulative. He tried to win her back by asking her to marry him. It was after a time when he had been so long in convalesence in the country that he was believed by many to be dead. When he did recover (he had a forced sobriety due to his extended illness), I think he realized his days were numbered and went after the only thing that he knew he could not really have. It is strange to me that, nearing the end of his life, he would not choose to embrace the family he had, but chose to pursue the one that he could not have.


I think they were peas in a pod in that regard, larkwood. They used each other for their own personal reasons. It would seem that JW loved a challenge so it would stand to reason that he would go after EB as an unfinished one. He did choose to die at home but only after being scorned by EB?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:02 pm

Larkwoodgirl wrote: It was after a time when he had been so long in convalesence in the country that he was believed by many to be dead.


I do remember reading that in the Greene book last year.
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Unread postby Raven » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:24 pm

Well I think the EB, was as tough as any man with half a brain in her day. Maybe tougher. Amazing really. If a man had said and did the things she did, it may not even make the history book? But a women that strong and single-minded was a force to be reckoned with. JW did not like weak or simpering fools, he liked men and women that could stand their ground. Her attraction was her brain and wit, not her sex, her command of herself was what attracted JW, she was probably alot like his mother. His mother had to be in charge and head of house, she had to buck up or die trying.
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:41 pm

Raven wrote: If a man had said and did the things she did, it may not even make the history book?


Good point, Raven! She was a woman to be reckoned with which was uncommon in her day!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby FANtasticJD » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:35 am

This a question I have had too, because if he contracted the disease shortly after his marriage to EM it makes you wonder about her and their children.

Wilmot went through many of the mercury "cures" for syphilis. I'm not sure how effective they were but that may be why Barry and others apparently weren't infected. While we don't know about his wife and son, his other children lived longer and apparently were not infected.

I have a question for those that have read the bios. Did EB willingly give her child to JW to raise or did she have a say in it at all because she was "only" a woman?

Women had absolutely no say in anything. Wilmot took Barry's daughter with no regard for whether or not Barry was willing and set her up with a country family to raise. That she is buried next to her mother implies that all contact between them was not lost.
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Unread postby karla » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:52 am

Women were only permitted on the stage after Charles was restored so it was the first opportunity for women to show independence in that way.

I don't think there was 20th century influence on this speech. All the bio's suggest that Barry was that headstrong and that the big mistake that Rochestor made was in trying to get her to leave the theatre. Barry also had an unpredictable temperament.

Rochestor took the child to inflict the same pain on Barry that she was causing him (Barry was having an affair with someone else) but also because he felt she was unfit to be a mother because she would not leave the stage and put her career ahead of everything else.

Info on Barry From Wikipedia

Elizabeth Barry (1658–November 7, 1713)

"Barry worked for the Duke's Company from 1675 to 1682. After the Duke's and the King's companies were amalgamated in 1682, she continued as one of the star performers of the new United Company, which remained for twelve years the only theatrical company in London.....Barry achieved remarkable public approval and business success for a single woman in London in the late 17th century, especially considering that she was generally known to have a daughter by Rochester and another by the playwright George Etherege. Many actresses at this time achieved the prize of respectability by being married, usually to actors, but Barry never married. In 1709 she retired from the stage."

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:39 am

No one was innocent, naïve or full of romantic illusions—not EB, JW nor Etherege. EB lived life on her own terms and I applaud her for that.

I do believe that JW was transported by EB’s great gifts as an actress. An emotional naked performance can be transcendent…AS WE ALL KNOW. She was JW’s creation in the sense he was able to unlock gifts in her that he could not unlock in himself... So, like many of you, I do judge her harshly for being callous and opportunistic, but I do not hold her responsible for being unwilling or unable to fix John Wilmot.
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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:36 am

Barry was not just harsh on Rochester it seems from The Weaker Vessel by Antonia Frazer.I shall here copy the whole passage because it shows her character I think.

Mrs Barry herself, angel painted fair on stage as she might be, was the focus of so many 'ill stories' off it, which if only half of them were true, more than justified the opposing cynical view of the female sex. Mrs Barry was dissolute('She had been a Rioter in her time), wrote Gildon): that in itself was not unusual. She was bad tempered and at times even violent.Although her good breeding - more or less - was said to make her on stage'Mistress of that Behaviour which sets off the well bred Gentlewoman', Mrs Barry was capable of exhibiting quite another side to her character, stage or no stage. In a famous incident, Mrs Barry and 'Chestnut maned (Betty) Boutel', acting in Lee's The Rival Queens. quarrelled over a scarf as the play was about to begin. On the all too appropriate line
"Die,sorceress, die and all my wrongs die with thee"
Mrs Barry as Roxana struck Mrs Boutel playing the rival queeen Statira with such force the blunted stage dagger managed to penetrate Mrs Boutel's stays ,and peirce the flesh beneath.
Furthermore Mrs Barry was mercenary. Where her professional life was concerned, that was understandable, in view of the low saleries paid to actresses at the time:for example, she insisted on recieving the proceeds of a benefit at the theatre, hithero generally reserved for writers. But she was also mercenary where her affections were concerned, to an extent that amazed even this worldly age. It was not so much the settlement she was supposed to have secured from playwright Sire George Etherage(Mrs Barry could see for herself what ahppened to the unendowed actress), but Tom Brown wrote:'Should you lie with her all night, she would not know you next morning, unless you had another five pounds at your service.' The lampoons which blasted athe private lives of all the famous actresses and coutesans of the time showed in later years a particular bitterness towards the 'slattern betty Barry'.

At thirty eight a very hopeful whore
The only one o'th trade thats' not profuse,
(A policy was taught her by the Jews),
though' still the highest bidder she will choose

At the same time it had to be admitted that Mrs Barry was one whom 'every fop upon the stage admires.' It was as though her defiant combination of talent and calculation was especially exacerbating.

the book goes on to talk about Thomas Otway the playwright and his besotted unrequited love for her and that she would not even give him a kiss and was fobbed off 'with gross thick, homespun friendship, the common Coin that passes betwixt Worldly intersts'. He also adressed a series of agonized letters to his beloved to no avail and was bitter in the knowledge that Rochester had succeeded where he had failed.

Frazer goes on after talking of Rochester but nothing we don't know already.
Doubtless Mrs barry did show lack of discretion in her way of life. Yest her legendary rapacity and even her coldness and severity towards her admirers are at least explicable when one bears in mind the alternative: the wretched downfall experienced by an actress like Elizabeth Farley. Famous as Mrs Barry was, she had no alternative but to give birth to a child in poverty, without support from husband or lover, and only the help of a 'protectoress'; (rumoured to heve been Nell Gwynn ,GG)that was the predictable fate of an actress who became pregnant. A little rapacity may be pardoned under the circumstances.

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Unread postby lumineuse » Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:53 am

Exactly, GG. Whatever we may think of her relationship with Rochester and its ending, by all accounts she was just not a very nice person, even if her situation may have forced her hand.
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