The Man of Mode

Treatment of Women in The Man of Mode

George Etherege’s The Man of Mode is a play that utilizes humor, wit, and satire to criticize the foolishness and vulnerability of women. In this illustrative and vulgar play, Etherege examines the mannerisms, dialogues, and behaviors of different female characters, such as Mrs. Loveit, Bellinda, and Harriet, in order to develop the argument of female oppression and the inability for women to rise in a society because of legal and social biases. By examining Mrs. Loveit’s unbridled passion and ruthless drive to win the affections of the protagonist, Dorimant, Etherege epitomizes women as slaves to their own desires. By analyzing the means by which Dorimant treats Bellinda, Etherege disparages women as easily manipulated and nonsensical. Lastly, by contrasting Dorimant to Harriet, Etherege manifests to readers that women are only leveled with men if they possess qualities of wit and humor and the ability to manipulate affection. Even so, they will ultimately become objects or commodities as they surrender themselves into marriage. Therefore, by scrutinizing the juxtaposition and the treatment of the female characters in this play, one can not only see the inequality between men and women with regards to reputation, social...

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