Homework Help

What evil could Medieval women do in relation to Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott"?? For...

user profile pic

rainbow224 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted May 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What evil could Medieval women do in relation to Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott"??

For example, what evil could Medieval women (5th century to 15th century) do to their husbands? What power did they have? Could they steal and run away with the wealth of their husbands, or is that not possible?

I am trying to write a story about the Lady of Shalott's mother and how she could be the reason for why the Lady of Shalott is in the tower. I have no clue or any idea as to why since I lack information about Medieval women. 

I'll really appreciate it if I can get any ideas and a better understanding of possible evil things women in Medieval times could have done.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

The answer to this is a little different depending upon whether you are talking about peasant women, middle class women or upper class women in the Medieval period. While all evil that comes from the heart will be the same in nature regardless of social class, there are some opportunities for evil actions that are more available in various classes. For example, a peasant woman wouldn't have opportunity to squander her husband's wealth because he wouldn't have any to squander. Any money they earned would go to feeding themselves and their children. Tolstoy's short story, "What Men Live By," gives a good example of this kind of peasant life. The woman in this story commits the evil of a mean temper and ungracious personality, though.

If you are speaking of an upper class woman, and in reference to "The Lady of Shalott," you would be, then the evil a woman can do there is considerable. (1) She can withhold food and material goods from the people who are dependent upon her. (2) She can overwork those who make up her household of servants and workers. Conan Doyle's novel, The White Company, gives a good picture of how this evil might be committed. (3) She might run away with or squander her husbands wealth. Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice gives a good idea about how this evil might be arranged and occur. (4) She can commit sexual sins of various kinds. Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale," in The Canterbury Tales gives some idea of what might be done given the opportunity (though of course a miller is not in the upper class). So, if you give the Lady of Shalott an upper class mother, as would be reasonable, doing evil by committing sexual sins is a logical possibility.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes