Essays /

Not All Carnival Arcangela Tarabotti And Essay

Essay preview

"Venice once was dear, the pleasant place of all festivity, the revel of the earth, the masque of Italy." Lord Byron describes Venice as a place of great revelry with carnival, masquerades, and opera. This is a common stereotype of early modern Venice. However, the experience of hundreds of patrician women involved more sacrifice than festivity. The writings of Arcangela Tarabotti were created in seventeenth century Venice. Venice at that time was a place of great contradiction. The republic proclaimed the great political and social liberties that its citizens enjoyed. However, as political freedoms were being developed the women of Venice were dealing with great inequality. Influences from Greek, Roman, Hebrew and Christian sources gave evidence for the complete subordination of women in the seventeenth century. These traditions were adapted into the intellectual, legal, religious and social structures of the republic. This led to the religious imprisonment of hundreds of women into convents across the city. What was the experience of a woman in this society? Paternal Tyranny is a great source of information to help capture the personal consequences of the restrictions placed on women. This paper will show that the feminine experience in Venice was shaped primarily by increasing social pressures placed on the patriciate and continued because of the restrictive access to education.

The nobility of Venice was extremely protective of their status. Around 1400 the patriciate consciously created restrictions that would widen the gap between the nobles and the populace. There was a major emphasis placed on restrictions preventing interclass marriage alliances. Stanely Chojnacki writes that by the sixteenth century these laws were leading to the practice of restrictive marriages. Families were limiting the marriages in sibling groups in order to protect familial wealth from being divided. These laws had dire effects on young patrician women.

The laws resulted in dowry inflation which made it impossible for families to marry their daughters to earthly husbands. Many families discouraged their children from marriage to prevent the fragmentation of the patrimony which would ensue from the proliferation of heirs. This affected all young patricians. However, men had a broader range of options available to them. They had career opportunities including military, political, professional, and commercial endeavours which could ensure their freedom. Their sisters on the other hand had extremely limited lifestyle options. They were either permitted to marry a patrician of equal standing or they were often forced into the convent.

The nobility believed strongly in these restrictions even though they were forcing women into vows for which they had no calling. By the late sixteenth century even the archbishop of Venice recognized that the practice of coerced monacation had grown outrageous. He claimed that the 2000 noble female religious were being stored in convents "as though in a public warehouse." But his voice of opposition was lost in the crowd of supporters. Supporters like Pietro Loredan who was a founding member of the otherwise progressive Accademia delgi Icognoti. He wrote to a young niece, who was looking for support from her liberal uncle, that her social status was more important than her liberty. As a woman without a dowry to meet her social standing she only had unacceptable marriage options. A marriage below her rank would bring "universal contempt," from others in the nobility for the "stain of an inferior alliance." Her only option was to give up hope of freedom and to enter the convent.

As a result of social pressures large sections of noble women were deemed unmarriageable and thus absorbed by the cities convents. The numbers outlined by Jutta Gisela Sperling are quite dramatic: in 1581 nearly 54 percent...

Read more


1400 1581 1623 1642 1965 1998 1999 2000 2001 2004 2007 3 4 44 54 82 abc abl absenc absolut absorb accademia accept access accomplish accord accus across act action adam adapt addit advanc advantag advis affect afraid age albert alexand allianc allow along also altern ancient anger anim anna anonym arcangela archbishop aristotl arm around articul ashgat associ attempt attend avail away backlash baltimor bare basi bearer becam behind belief believ benedictin bestow bibl biblic birth blackmail blame blasphem blatant bless bodi bolognes book born bride bring broader brother brute built byron cage call cambridg canto captur career carniv cathol caus celibaci centuri chanc chang charact characterist chastiti chicago child children chojnacki choos christ christian church citedth citi citizen civil claim coerc come commerci commit common compar compel complet compound con concept condemn condit conscious consent consequ constant contempl contemporari contempt continu contradict control convent convinc corpus correct could counterpart cowan creat creation crimin crippl critic crowd cultur curs cut daughter day deal dear dec deceiv decept decis deem defect defend defici deform delgi deliber deni depriv describ descript desper destini develop diminish dio dire disciplin discourag divid dowri dramat dualiti due dump earli earth easili echo edit editor educ edward effect eighteen either elabor eleg eleven emerg emot emphasi enabl endeavour enjoy enough ensu ensur enter epistl equal equiti essay europ european eve even evid evil exampl exclus exist expand experi explain exploit express extrem fact factor fall famili father fear feel femal femin feminin feminist ferarro festiv fight final financi fine first foolish forc form found fragment free freedom full fulli furthermor gap gave gender general generat genesi girl gisela give given glimps god good grammar great greater greedi greek ground group grown guilt habit hair half hampshir hand harold harvard head hebrew heighten heinous heir help hide higher histor historian holi honest hope hopkin household housekeep howev human hunchback hundr husband icognoti idea ignor illegitim immens impair imperfect import imposit imposs imprison inabl inact incap incarcer incent includ incomplet increas independ indict inequ inferior inflat influenc inform infuri inher inherit injustic insight insist institut institution instruct insuffici intellect intellectu intellig interclass interpret introduct involv itali iv joann john join journal jr justic jutta keep kept king knowledg l lack lame larg last late later laven law lead learn led legal length lesson let letizia level liber liberti libri life lifelong lifestyl like limit liter literari littl live lock logic london long look lord loredan lost lowli m made main maintain mainten major make male man mani manipul manner margaret mari marri marriag masqu masquerad massachusett matter may mccloskey meagr mean meet member membership men mention method mid mid-sixteenth might militari mistak misus mobil modern monac monacal much muir must natur near necessari never new niall niec nobil nobl noth number nun obedi observ obsess obtain occur offer often old one open opera opinion opportun opposit option order origin other otherwis outlin outrag outsid overcom own oxford panizza paper paradis paradiso parent passag paterfamilia patern path patriarch patriarchi patrici patrician patrimoni paul percent perfect permit person personif philosoph philosophi physic pietro place plea pleas pleasant plight point polit poor populac portray posit possess potenti poverti power practic pray press pressur prestig prevent previous primaci primarili prison proclaim profession progress prolifer promis proof properti propon protect public pulpit quit rabil rang rank rare rather read real realign reason recogn recommend refus refut reject relat religi remain remark renaiss republ resent respond respons restrict result reveal revel revelri rhetor rib roman rudiment sacrif sacrific sad sant saw school scienc scriptur search second section secular seem seen seldom sensual sent seri serpent servic seventeenth sex shape sheer show shut sibl silenc silent simplemind sin sister sixteenth slight social societ societi solidifi soliloquio sort soul sourc specif sperl spoke spur st stabil stain stand stane stanley status stereotyp store stori strip strong structur struggl studi subject submiss subordin subsequ suffer suffici suggest suitabl superior support surround surviv system take tarabotti taught teacher tell temptat text theolog theologian therefor thirst though thought threat three thus time told took tradit tran tre treatis trope turn twelv tyranni un unaccept unchast uncl understand unfit unfortun univers unmarriag unwant unworthi use usher valu vaniti venetian venic vocabulari vocat voic vol volum vow wall war warehous way wealth wear well wicked widen wife will window wisdom wish within without woman women wondrous word work world worth would write writer wrote year yet york young