Discuss the irony and the symbolic significance of the title "Roman Fever". What moral lesson, if any, can be taken from the story?
Edith Wharton's title "Roman Fever" is symbolic of the passionate hatred and jealousy felt by Alida Slade, as well as the sexual passion experienced by Delphin Slade and Grace Ansley. The name for the dangerous night air of the Roman Forum which often brought on malaria in people, "Roman fever" was what Grace Ansley was expected to have caught after she went to the Forum to meet Delphin Slade. Ironically, however, the primary achievement of this night of feverish passion between Grace and Delphin Slade is the birth of the beauty named Barbara Ansley. The resulting birth of a dynamic and beautiful girl is not what Alida Slade anticipated would happen when she forged a letter to induce Grace Ansley to go to the Forum.
In a further irony , each of the two women have each looked "through the wrong end of her little telescope" at the other. Alida Spade is envious of Grace for having such a beautiful and intriguing daughter, a daughter who would not have been born if her mother were not sent...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 587 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial