Research Essay: Fantomina
In Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina the young lady’s actions demonstrates her desire to find a emotionally and sexually stimulating relationship with someone as well it shows the difficulty of relationships between women and men in the eighteenth century. As she is referred to by Haywood my lady such- a – one takes on the representation of plenty different women to frequently seduce a man named Beauplaisir. Her new identities show Fantomina’s creative ideas and also her in heightened desire for Beauplaisir. Her original interest and her desire became evident through her need to constantly change who she is in order to get Beauplaisir’s attention. The fact that her disguises allow her to do and be anything she wishes is something that brings enjoyment to Fantomina. She thinks that a relationship between an upper class man and a low class woman is not very lasting or capable of happening.
Fantomina is a high aspect mistress in the eighteenth century and because of her social standing she has many rules placed upon her. She is not allowed to have a conversation with a man or even pursue them. These behaviours for woman were not appropriate in Fantomina’s society and then women had chaperones that protected them from males but also to make sure they behaved properly and accordingly. Seeing Beauplaisir’s face is something familiar to Fantomina as she has seen it before and it reawakened her interest for him, but because of the way society is she is unable to pursue him. Because men were different from women they had the freedom to do anything they wanted to, Beauplaisir is allowed to leave the balcony and pursue women. Fantomina “is fascinated by the dalliance between ‘respectable’ gentlemen and loose women of the town.” “ This excited a curiosity in her to know in what manner these creatures were addresses.” (Haywood, 2739-2740) Despite, Fantomina’s behaviour seems intentional her new identity originates all from curiosity in her pursuit to sustain Beauplaisir’s interest.
Fed up with her rules, Fantomina decides to change into her new clothing to hide her real true identity and appearance. It is here where Haywood reveals the rules on women of high social standing and the decisions of who belongs to what social position. In this case, clothing puts Fantomina in a lower social standing, even more, her new identity is that of a prostitute. Now as a prostitute, Fantomina is able to pursue Beaplaisir without any restrictions, as he is unable to recognize her new identity. In preparation for her rendezvous with Beauplaisir, Fantomina channels a new identity and although when she is with Beauplaisir she resists him only because she is afraid of her reputation. Towards this mark, Fantomina is worried about her morals, but her desires act more because this is what she has been searching for. Her actions puzzle Beauplaisir because she is not acting like a prostitute is supposing to act. Fantomina’s first identity is all...