Eve's Apology

1032 Words5 Pages
Readings in British Literature The Condemnation and Attempted Redemption of Woman in “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women” In “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women,” Lanyer strives to invalidate the blame and culpability which she argues women have unjustly borne for centuries. Reinterpreting two of the most well-known biblical stories to suit her purposes, Lanyer explicates the letter in which Pontius Pilate’s wife begged her husband to spare Jesus’s life, and expounds on the truth of the story of creation and Adam and Eve. It is through these narratives that Lanyer explores the undeniable error for which man refuses to assume responsibility, and explores the unpremeditated nature of Eve’s actions. According to Lanyer, it is man who must pay for his disobedience, not woman. She carries this motif throughout the entirety of her poem, using the literary device to create a platform for promoting gender equality. While the primary purpose of Lanyer’s piece is to attempt an exposition of the wrongful persecution of women, if she is to do so, she must first acknowledge the dichotomy between genders as it aids in strengthening her subsequent argument. She does so by contrasting the principles of the men and women in her piece through character analysis. Here, Pilate and Adam become archetypes of the male gender, while Pilate’s wife and Eve are demonstrative of womankind. “Let not us women glory in men’s fall/Who had power given to overrule us all” (15-16). Lanyer alerts the reader to the definitive, yet undesired subservience which Pilate’s wife (and thus all women) must observe. Pilate’s wife has just made a plea to her husband to refrain from condemning his Savior to death, and while it is clear to the reader that here she is the more sensible of the two, her position as a woman renders her powerless to save her husband (and unbeknownst to him, all mankind)
Open Document