Written during the Victorian age and in a strict society, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was a book all its own. It is mostly categorized as a satire; however, it speaks volumes about the realities of the time. Women were considered as a property, and the men laid down the law. There were some women who chose to acquiesce, and some who chose to rebel. Two female characters in Vanity Fair are the epitomes of this principle: Becky Sharp is the latter, while Amelia Sedley represents the former. These two women went from adolescence to adulthood together, each playing a very different role. Their two stories diverge and come together at different points in their lives, but there is always a comparison between the two.
[...] Eventually she gives Little George to his paternal grandfather to raise because she believes he will have a better life with the rich Osbornes. This development breaks her, and once again she falls into a deep depression. Becky is artful, bold, and unscrupulous. She is the classic siren and consummate actress (Fisher 398). A wolf who is able to move about in different social classes because she was born without one, she uses all of men's weapons (such as double discourse in her speech) and her own: her sex appeal. Becky scorns high society, yet she craves to be one of them. [...]
[...] In an unselfish act of generosity (or perhaps as a final smack in the face), Rebecca finally reveals to Amelia her late husband's unfaithful ways, making Amelia free to love again, and to love Dobbin specifically. Becky again sets her sights on Amelia's brother, who ends up dying under mysterious circumstances once he has left money to Rebecca. The argument can be made that Becky Sharp was a product of her environment and society. Because women were considered possessions during this time, they really had only two choices: they were to either submit to the standard or rebel. [...]
[...] She embodies the Victorian female domestic ideal (Fisher 400). She spends most of her life in blind devotion to a man who did not love her and married her only out of a sense of obligation. To make matters worse, she rejects a true love in Dobbin, proving that she only thinks of herself. She evades her duties as a mother by coddling her son and then giving him up, and evades her duties as a daughter by doing nothing but grieving over a man that was not worthy of her. [...]
[...] She is a true bohemian, who is captivated by social rank and the fashion of the time. She spends all of her time and energy trying to achieve those things, yet never being satisfied, ends up losing what she has attained. She needs her husband for her social position yet does not have the consideration to treat him well enough to keep him. She seems to have admiration for him only when Miss Crawley's fortune is in reach. In all that she does, one could really consider Rebecca Sharp un-admirable and selfish. [...]
[...] Because of her devotion to George and the fact that she took so long to come around, Dobbin realizes the flaws within Amelia and the pedestal that he put her on is no longer there. The love he has for her is never the same. Thackeray remained ambiguous in this novel, especially when it came to Amelia and Becky. He has a desire to expose illusions, yet he still wants to keep them. delves into the difficulties, compromises, and darkness of the human estate” (Ghent 28). [...]
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