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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/18239

Title: "A Voice from the Margin In George Lillo's The London Merchant: Millwood Reconsidered."
Authors: Dr. Samia AL-Shayban
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Ein Shames University –Graduate School and Research
Abstract: George Lillo’s The London Merchant employs an early seventeenth century ballad to comment on critical contemporary moral issues. Central to his moral message is Millwood, the beautiful prostitute who seduces Barnwell, the young London apprentice, and turns him into a thief and murderer. Generally, critics have either overlooked her dramatic presence or perceived her as a faceless prostitute used by the dramatist to undermine the feminists’ debate in his own time. In this paper I will attempt to reread her moral role and consequently redefine her dramatic presence as central rather than marginal. In spite of her controversial moral profession and actions, Lillo dramatizes her as a figure worthy of our sympathy. As a result she emerges not as a predator but as a victim of a society marked by double standards, sexism and imperfect justice. To achieve this, Lillo distances her from conventional prostitutes and gives her an intelligent voice, an element prostitutes are usually denied. It is through her personal moral crisis as a prostitute that Lillo addresses the major issues of his time – prostitution, women’s rights and slavery. By placing her within the larger social and moral fabric of the time, Lillo convinces us to perceive her as a victim of existing conditions. Her voice is also the medium Lillo uses to expose the moral hypocrisy of the society. Enslaving her through exploitation of her poverty and beauty, and subjecting her to moral and social injustices are factors Lillo employs to deny her detractors any moral superiority and thus the right to condemn her.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/18239
Appears in Collections:College of Arts

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