The Diary of Samuel Pepys

Gender Roles, Love, and Marriage in Seventeenth Century England College

Samuel Pepys’s Diary is often studied for its first-hand account of important events in London’s history. Pepys records information on the Restoration of the Stuart Monarchy, the Plague, and the Great Fire of London, and readers are able to gain a greater understanding of this tumultuous time period through his writing. The Diary, in addition to being a useful piece of historical literature, is a useful tool in dissecting gender roles of the seventeenth century. Along with recording important historical events, Pepys includes smaller details about his life. Details about his marriage, his affairs, and his feelings about both of the aforementioned subjects reveal the restrictive nature of gender roles and the patriarchal institution of marriage of the time period. Pepys was a middle class man with a position in public office, and it could be said that he is a model citizen of the seventeenth century. Therefore, by examining the marriage of Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys, readers may gain an understanding of the restrictive and double-sided nature of gender roles in a middle class marriage during the late 1600s.

Even in modern criticism of The Diary, readers insist that Pepys seems to, on some level, love Elizabeth, despite his...

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