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The Lady of Shalott and Mariana

            Theorist William Rathbone Greg best summaries the feelings of the Victorian age towards fallen women: "If the passions of woman were ready, strong, and spontaneous, in a degree even remotely approaching the form they assume in the coarser sex, there can belittle doubt that sexual irregularities would reach a height, of which, at present, we have happily no conception" (Greg 10). The Victorian Age marked an era where a rise of oppositional creations ruled literary and social exemplifications of gender. These new rules divided men and women into two distinct worlds in which they performed different roles. While men were able to go about their business and indulge in politics in public, women faced exclusion from any social and public participation. .
             The ideal woman in the Victorian Age had to stay at home, lack any sexual initiative, be selfless, and be morally accountable. She was to be the pillar of the home in both the physical and moral sense. Femininity during the Victorian Age was secondary to masculinity. The submission of women to men represented the enduring feature of the Victorian Age. This was in line with Victorian theorists who held the view that evolutionary reasons where the justification for the mental and physical differences between the genders. A woman, deemed as a fallen one, showed signs of disregard of the set norms, expressed sexual aggressiveness, and ignored the need to be submissive to the men in her life (Gilmour 18).The theme of a fallen woman became a popular topic in literary circles during this age. In my paper, I will use these two poems to explain a number of strategies that had utilization by the Victorians to treat women and their sexuality. The center of my discussion is the establishment of Victorian views of fallen women and the way the text endorses or condemns conventional Victorian views. Do they support or challenge these views? Moreover, the essay would illustrate how these two poems represent the fallen women of the Victorian society who deviated from the feminine virtue of their society.

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