Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded

Virtue in Pamela

In Pamela, Samuel Richardson teaches a religious lesson through Pamela’s pride in virtue, love through purity, and ultimately forgiveness of others. He presents his character as rigorously devoted to God, which often makes her seem vain, manipulative, selfish, and hypocritical. Although she may seem to portray these characteristics, the truth is all that matters to her is her virtue.

Throughout the novel, Pamela portrays a pious pride in her virtue and humility. In the novel, she is extremely proud, not of the beauty of her face or body, but of virtue, which she protects in the name of God. She equates losing her virtue as “worse than cutting her Throat” (104). Richardson demonstrates a lesson through Pamela’s pride in virtue, showing the other characters that purity and righteousness will always prevail. Pamela’s virtue even opens the blind eyes of the Squire when he exclaims, “Her Virtue is all her Pride, shall I rob her of that?” (211). Although she might be mistaken as vain when she tries on her humble attire and professes, “I never lik’d myself so well in my Life” (60), Richardson uses this to show how Pamela is happy in her poverty because it is honest and virtuous. She is proud of the honesty of her low birth because...

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