What Does Haywood Characterize Fantomina

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Fantomina; or Love in a Maze is a novella published in 1725 by Eliza Haywood. The main character, Fantomina, disguises herself as four different characters throughout the novel in order to seduce the man she has fallen in love with. Her four identities, Fantomina, Celia, the Widow Bloomer, and Incognita, are thought up from Fantomina’s own ingenuity and creative impulse. The character Fantomina takes on multiple disguises in order to find a sexually and emotionally stimulating relationship that will help her feel in power and overcome social restrictions during the time period. From the start of the novella, Fantomina clearly struggles with the confines that her high “quality” and “degree” impose on her. She can’t grasp the reason the gentlemen around her don’t want her. She really wants to attract the attention of Beauplaisir while maintaining her reputation in society that separates the virtuous women from the women who assert sexual desires. Fantomina changes her clothing choices to hide her real identity, which puts her in a lower class standing, and turns into a prostitute. Although she is worried about her morals, Fantomina is more concerned with getting Beauplaisir. She resists him at first and this confuses him. Haywood does not give Fantomina a name, which adds to the mystery of the character. She is…show more content…
This character wears lots of black clothing. “Her hair was now tied back straight and her pinners were coming so very forward that there was none of it to be seen.” This change of clothing shows how well the character is at adjusting to new roles. This is where Fantomina portrays herself as more vulnerable and weak. At one point in the novella, the Widow Bloomer faints and allows Beauplaisir to carry her to bed. At this point it is easy for the audience to see the power Fantomina has over the situation and the disguises she so easily takes a role

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