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 Post subject: TL Question #11 ~ Men!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:36 am 
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pg. 77 Barry: “You have no understanding do you? You have comprehended – just – that I am tired of being your mistress and your solution is to conscript me into becoming your wife. It is not being a mistress I am tired of, John. I am tired of you. I do not wish to be your wife. I do not wish to be anyone’s wife. I wish to continue being the creature I am. I am no Nell Gwyn, I will not give up the stage as soon as a King or a Lord has seen me on it and, wishing me to be his and his alone, will then pay a fortune to keep me off it. I am not the sparrow you picked up in the roadside, my love. London walks into this theatre to see me – not George’s play nor Mr. Betterton. They want me and they want me over and over again. And when people desire you in such a manner, then you can envisage a steady river of gold lapping at your doorstep, not five pound here or there for pity or bed favours, not a noble’s ransom for holding you hostage from the thing you love, but a lifetime of money amassed through your own endeavours. That is riches. “Leave this gaudy, gilded stage’. You’re right, this stage is gilded. It is gilded with my future earnings. And I will not trade those for a dependency on you. I will not swap my certain glory for your undependable love.”

When you read this speech by E. Barry she talks about her desire for fame and wealth and her desire for independence even though she is pregnant with Rochester’s child. How do you interpret her words?



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:01 am 

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OK, I'll try again, it ate my post last time....

I think she must have been one of the first women to step forward and say she didn't need marriage and family to make herself complete...she could do it on her own....(but, she was thinking of herself here, not her child).

I think, however, she was drunk on her immediate success...didn't seem to take long range career plans in mind (how did she end up in later life - now that would be interesting to know).

Brings to mind Kate Moss - she wanted her success (she was riding high) at the time he wanted family. Jennifer Anison, as well?

I do remember being irked at reading this passage...like how dare you Wilmot...you are going to leave your wife and children after all you've put them through (wasn't most of his wealth tied to his wife, as well?). I was mad at him...because, if he hadn't died, whose to say he wouldn't have thrown her and the child away for another "project." Men!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:04 am 
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I think she's realized that she can support herself and not have to depend on any man. Not only that, but she is independent and has an ego. Her career is taking off and she is revelling in that as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:05 am 
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Actually I was rather suprised by this strangely un 17th Century outburst. I have to say it didn't quite ring true. But maybe that is the problem with trying to write a 17th Century based play in the 20th Century.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:21 am 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
Actually I was rather suprised by this strangely un 17th Century outburst. I have to say it didn't quite ring true. But maybe that is the problem with trying to write a 17th Century based play in the 20th Century.


I agree with your point, as well, GG. Especially because this is after we have seen her being manipulated by the King for a piece of jewelry. I don't really see her as such a "loyal subject" like she says.

I love your avatar, btw, GG. Yum! :drool:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:25 am 
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All I can say is "Way To Go Girl!" :cool:

To be independent, free, do what you want to do and be rich.

Although, with a baby, she is not all that free, right?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:38 pm 
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Hmm..tricky question to tackle. It's like the old saying. Men, you can't live with them, you cant live without them.

I think everyone is interdependent on each other. We all need each other to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes we need companionship. I have come to find out that I don't need a man to make me happy either, but I still like companionship. I don't know there's just something about having someone special to spend time with but in Elizabeth's case, it wasn't. He was trying to control her and she didn't want to his robot. I think she made the right decision leaving him although she should have thought about her child not just herself.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:55 pm 
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I agree with what everyone has said thus far. I think she has found that she can be independent without men--that she doesn't really need them. She knows full well that Wilmot cannot be counted on, that he'll leave her for another later. So why should she risk her successful career and her freedom for him. As far as the child, I don't think she has the foresight or maternal feelings yet to be thinking in those terms. And I feel the same as Maple-- "way to go, girl!". BTW welcome to our discussion, Maple! :cool:



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:11 pm 
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I agree that by today's standards we would applaud her actions. But I want to point out that we are not talking about a very nice person here. She clearly used Rochester to boost her fame until she no longer needed him. I doubt she ever loved him - he was just a means to an end. She had a horrible reputation for basically having slept her way to the top. Even in those days she was widely vilified for her promiscuity. And I seriously doubt that Rochester ever intended to divorce his wife. I think he still loved her, in his own way.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:15 pm 
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I just thought---what a mess!! Wilmot is wasting his attention on someone who doesn't want him while he's got a fine wife out in the country who's pining for him! And then throw in the poor helpless baby! Yikes! :bawl:



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:27 pm 
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It seems to me too that she was using him to get what she wanted, fame and wealth. I would doubt she planned to have a child with him. She does not come across as a very nice person at all but then women had to fight quite hard back then for any independence. I think the writing is certainly 20 century but the idea is universal!



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:40 pm 
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I think she was tougher than him. He thought that he was the one who could blot out the feelings, take physical pleasure without spiritual consequences, and he'd done it pretty well up until then. But now he had met someone better at it. Does it serve him right? Should he be treated in the way he has treated others? There's a certain natural justice here. We may like to ythink about our views on forgiveness and retribution here. And, of course, why should she not do as she pleases? Within certain moral limits, that's what we all want.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:10 pm 
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Endora wrote:
I think she was tougher than him. He thought that he was the one who could blot out the feelings, take physical pleasure without spiritual consequences, and he'd done it pretty well up until then. But now he had met someone better at it. Does it serve him right? Should he be treated in the way he has treated others? There's a certain natural justice here. We may like to ythink about our views on forgiveness and retribution here. And, of course, why should she not do as she pleases? Within certain moral limits, that's what we all want.


Good points all round, endora!!

From the biographies I've read there is no evidence Rochester ever intended to leave his wife for Lizzie. He was involved with her towards the latter end of his life when he was enduring frequent bouts of serious illness - a divorce would have been difficult to arrange and would not least have all caused dramatic upheavals in his domestic life. Rochester was a highly intelligent man and would have seen many of his friends suffering the same illnesses - I would imagine he was aware of what his condition actually was and what the outcome was likely to be.

From his letters it seems evident he was very much in love with the actress - he had nothing particularly to gain by being her patron - I believe he helped her because he loved her and for no other reason. However he did indeed meet his match with her, because she was consistently unfaithful to him, and he was consumed with jealousy. Running alongside this passion was his love for his wife, and indeed his children - this part of the play has therefore never rung quite true for me, although it does add drama to the end of the story.

Women had a very hard life in the 17th century and few choices were open to them - wife, servant, whore. I cannot entirely blame Lizzie for her feelings, I think she just prized her independence.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:24 pm 
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Excellent point Endora - there is certainly some poetic justice there!

I share your assessment, jackslady. It's interesting how he was a champion of inconstancy earlier in his life, but came to resent it so much near the end.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:55 pm 

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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?


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