The City Jilt

Bittersweet Revenge in The City Jilt

Homer said in The Iliad that “revenge is sweeter far than flowing honey.” In Eliza Haywood’s The City Jilt, vengeance stems from ruthless passion and unbridled drive. Glicera, the protagonist of The City Jilt, epitomizes one who feeds off reprisal, one whose main priority in life is to “give Torment to the whole Race of Man.” From the inception of the novel, Glicera is portrayed as an autonomous female figure. She chases after her desires, speaks what her mind thinks, and acts upon what her heart feels. When betrayed by the one man to whom her heart was dedicated and committed, Glicera loses all feelings of compassion and love, mercy and grace. Through the perfidiousness of one man, Glicera’s life is now immersed in male aversion and male retribution. In an attempt to hold onto independence and freedom, Glicera sacrifices her ability to emote and to feel. Although Glicera triumphs in her revenge from an economic and materialistic standpoint, by juxtaposing Glicera’s extreme love and dedication to her uttermost hatred and rancor for Melladore, Haywood exposes to her readers the futility of retributive justice. By setting a foil between Glicera and her friend, Laphelia, and by utilizing the narrator’s voice and tone through the...

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