Pamela Questions and Answers
by Samuel Richardson

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What is the main theme of the novel Pamela?

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Richardson's negative attitude toward aristocratic traditions of the seventeenth century and his democratic affinities find particular expression in the fact that he made the protagonist of his novel Pamela a simple handmaid. Richardson also entered into polemics with the picaresque and adventure novel, showing a radically different way of advancement for those belonging to the lower classes. It is a way of virtue rooted in humility, which becomes one of the central themes of the novel.

The psychological aspect of the main conflict in the novel is closely linked to social and ethical factors. Pamela and the squire are in opposition to one another as representatives of dissimilar social classes and moral codes. Ultimately, "folksy" virtues triumph over aristocratic vice in the novel.

While criticizing the nobles' immorality and praising the simple girl's integrity, Richardson, however, does not go so far as to infringe on the morals of his society. Pamela is a prime example of the humility...

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