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URN etd-0708105-232154
Author Ming-hui Chiu
Author's Email Address No Public.
Statistics This thesis had been viewed 5351 times. Download 3497 times.
Department Foreign Language and Literature
Year 2004
Semester 2
Degree Master
Type of Document
Language English
Title The Fortunes of Beauty: Power and Tragedy in Daniel Defoe's Roxana, or the Fortunate Mistress
Date of Defense 2005-06-13
Page Count 89
Keyword
  • fortune
  • beauty
  • tragedy
  • Roxana
  • power
  • Abstract With such an indicative adjective as “fortunate” in its title, Daniel Defoe’s Roxana interests readers in how fortunate the heroine is and in what sense she is called fortunate. Finishing reading the story of Roxana, readers are also concerned about why the fortunate mistress ends up in calamity. Therefore, this thesis sets out to explore how Roxana fortunately becomes powerful and to explain why she ironically ends up a tragedy.
      In terms of the financial prosperity she achieves, it is apparent that Roxana can never make it without the fortunate blessing of her remarkable beauty. Being a beautiful woman, she attracts one powerful man after another, and this attraction is the source of her large fortune. In other words, this thesis focuses on the influence and power of personal beauty, and more importantly, on how Roxana uses her beauty to manipulate those powerful men to benefit herself greatly. Her power comes from the exertion of the power of her beauty.
       Although Roxana is fortunately beautiful, her fortune, however, is decided by her character too. Roxana’s tragedy results from an ambitious mind, that cannot, however, reconcile itself to her chosen style of life. As a result, although she is living a seemingly comfortable life, her unbalanced and disturbed state of mind leads to nothing but a tragic ending.
       In sum, this thesis, adopting textual analysis, aims at tracing Roxana’s power and tragedy in association with the most formative element of the story, her beauty. Recent research has shown that being beautiful translates into being privileged and favored in many respects, and Roxana’s story bears out these findings in the eighteenth century. In addition, although Roxana’s final tragic ending renders her a failed social climber, she is, however, truly a fortunate mistress, who, riding on the Wheel of Fortune, can always fortunately rise whenever she is unfortunately reduced. In other words, Roxana’s beauty, power and tragedy are all her fortune and how they interrelate is the principal concern of this thesis.
    Advisory Committee
  • Shu-fang Lai - chair
  • Kuo-jung Chen - co-chair
  • Rudolphus Teeuwen - advisor
  • Files
  • etd-0708105-232154.pdf
  • indicate access worldwide
    Date of Submission 2005-07-08

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