The Value of Virginity

In The Tempest written by William Shakespeare, one topic that I find interesting is the way virginity is a matter of politics. At this place in time, matters of feminism were inexistent and women were treated fairly stereotypically. A woman was meant to be someone who was controlled by a man, father or husband for example, and to control their behaviours including sexually related ones. Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, who was also the only female character in the play and was portrayed to have one intention; to be a bride to Ferdinand to bring joy to their fathers. The value of Miranda was her virginity, and her virginity was a matter of politics. In order to be the wife of Ferdinand, especially him being a prince and all, Miranda had to be seen as “pure.” This ensured Ferdinand that his children one day would never have to be questioned as his and to ensure that Miranda was seen an example of chastity. Not only was Miranda constricted to behaving a certain way because of the men around her, but she also getting into a political marriage that she may not have realized. This marriage set up by Prospero was done so that he was entitled to grandchildren in line with the throne, a political matter. Virginity here was nothing more than doing what “was right” for others (like the fathers of the couple) and being seen as innocent and pure like women were supposed to be. It was unfortunate at times like this that the value of virginity was strictly politics.

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