Throughout human history, societies have always fabricated tales. These tales collectively known as urban myths scare people into avoiding certain activities or behaviors. In the short story "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton, the main characters are "warned" about "Roman Fever" from their elders, and thus passed the idea of this fever to their kin in the hopes that they might heed the warning, and not give in to the "roman fever." .
"Roman Fever" is recklessness it is freedom. This freedom is particularly present in the city of Rome, Italy. Here, their mothers told their daughter characters Jenny and Barbara that terrible things can happen, as soon as the sun goes down. Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade adore the city of Rome, yet worry that their daughters will be corrupted by its dark charms come nightfall. They take themselves to be proper ladies, while they think sometimes there daughters are too but sometimes think otherwise. Their daughters go about the town, and their activities are completely unknown to their mothers. This mystery is part of "Roman Fever" as Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade have never experienced a night in Rome without being met with misfortune or confusion. .
The city of Rome is also a place where mystery and betrayal took place for the women, as Mrs. Ansley had once tried to covet Mrs. Slade's fiancee, a long time ago. Rome, for the ladies, reminds them of confusion it brings feelings they cannot truly make sense of. As the truth about Mrs. Slade's than fiancee comes out, they women realize they have deep seeded resentment for each other. In Rome together, they see they do not really know one another. The only real thing the ladies have in common is there fear of "Roman Fever" "Roman Fever" according to Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade was something that would make anyone ill in their own terms. The ladies believe this to be true and are sure it happens when one visits certain parts of the city that become quite cold at night.