Princess of Cleves

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA

The Princess and Her Love Dilemmas

The Princess is a lovely, dignified woman who does not indulge in extramarital relations with Duke, even though she knows she loves him. And if the princess does not love him, she decides to stick with him. The princess exercised good judgment and maintained her composure like a responsible adult. Despite her youth and inexperience, she makes sound decisions.
The princess avoids Nemours for a valid reason: his past infidelity, which her mother warned her against. Madame de Cleves was well trained by her widowed mother, who focused on educating her and instilling in her a sense of virtue. The princess, on the other hand, has repulsive features. She is a passionless woman who breaks her husband heart for not loving him truthfully like she did with Duke.

The Role of Women in Society

One of the themes emerging from the story is the role of women in society. The theme is mainly portrayed by Madame de Chartres who brings up a beautiful, educated and decent daughter on her own after her husband died. She also helps her daughter get a husband from a royal family and teachers her how she is supposed to treat her husband and virtue lessons.

Illicit Love and Affairs

The other theme is illicit love and affairs, which mainly portrayed by Duke. He pursues and shows his love to the princess even when he knows she is married. Duke had another affair with Mary Stuart, which makes the princess jealous and limits their contact. These illicit affairs that Nemours got away with show men superiority of that time. It was wrong for a woman to get involved in illicit affairs, and that is why Madame de Chartres advises her daughter to stop her relation with Duke.

The Show of Loyalty and Respect

From the narrative, Madame de Cleves decides to show her loyalty and affection after her husband’s death by acting according to his wish by not getting married to Duke. This statement shows the society’s ability to respect the dead by honoring their requests. Today, this show of respect is still shown by the living by visiting them in their graves with flowers. This gesture shows they are still remembered.

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