Comparing A Muzzle For Melastomus And Elizabeth Poole's A Vision

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Bible Quotations in Rachel Speght’s A Muzzle for Melastomus (1612) and Elizabeth Poole’s A Vision (1648) In both A Muzzle for Melastomus, published by Rachel Speght in 1612, and Elizabeth Poole’s A Vision from 1648, something that the reader will immediately notice is the use of quotes from the bible in the texts. About Rachel Speght not much is known, but from her knowledge of the Bible and Latin, and her skills in rhetoric and logic that she applies in her writing, it can be said that she must have had quite a good education, as these were things that were usually only for men during that time. About Elizabeth Poole there is some uncertainty as well, but she was known for a prophetic gift that she was said to have, which played a key role…show more content…
Reason for this, Claire Gheeraert-Graffeuille of the University of Rouen explains, is that for women such as Elizabeth Poole, there were hardly any chances to participate in politics, let alone to be taken serious in politics. “In order to circumvent the restrictions on their participation in the political debate Cary, Pope and Poole all presented themselves as God’s prophets—a current posture and “democratizing force” for women in mid-seventeenth-century England.” (Gheeraert-Graffeuille 141). In other words, she, along with a couple of other contemporary female writers, used their visions and prophecies, speaking as a prophet, to grant themselves the authority to speak freely, while that was normally only for men. Therefore, she had to use Bible quotes in her prophecies to reinforce her words; after all, it was only her claiming to be a prophet of God that granted her the authority to speak in Whitehall. She was however, despite this gained authority, not successful, and Charles I ultimately was executed, despite her attempts at preventing this from happening. “Even her contemporary audience understood that her “messages from the Lord” were concentrating too heavily on the political and social repercussions of regicide” (Paz 100). Because of that, her prophecies soon were not taken seriously…show more content…
The pamphlet she wrote, was a reaction to Joseph Swetnam, who had written the text Arraignment of lewd, idle, froward, and unconstant women, which had been rather derogatory towards women. In his misogynist text, Swetnam “inaccurately paraphrases the stories of David and Solomon, uses biblical quotes out of context, and reduces the value of women to that of a penny.” (Vivette par. 2) Using her extensive knowledge of the Bible and rhetoric, Speght starts her pamphlet with a displeased text aimed at Joseph Swetnam, which is followed by her systematically countering every single one of Swetnam’s misogynist arguments in the chapter “Proverbs”, her counters backed up by many Bible quotes, in contrast to Swetnam, who according to her, had misinterpreted the Bible in favor of his derogatory words. For example to him saying “That Adam was not deceived, but that the woman was deceived, and was in the transgression” (qtd. in Speght, par. 6) she

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