This paper tackles topic 1, and discusses the reasons for and the means of defending women in general and herself from all attacks, as reflected in her poems and letters. This paper posits the thesis that Franco’s defense of self and of women in general is motivated by…
This paper explores this thesis as they are reflected in her written work and in her life in general (Franco).
It is important to note that Veronica Franco was recognized for her support of feminist causes, which imply a certain intellectual capacity to identify women’s causes, and to fight in defense of those causes, as they are relevant to herself and to women of her time in general. Some of her acts of self-defense sprang from immediate attacks, as was the case of her self-defense against a Venetian man in poetry. This is found in Capitolo 16, wherein Franco launches a vigorous defense of herself from the attacks heaped on her by Maffio Venier. The observation here is that because the arena is poetry, Franco was able to offer a more spirited defense outside of the more established conventions of ordinary society, where his male adversary had recourse to the favorable circumstances for himself in that social world. In poetry on the other hand, Franco had more recourse to greater latitude in emasculating her enemy, and in diminishing the enemy’s literary talents. In other words, the means of defense was poetry, and the reason was the shoring up of Franco’s battered reputation and self-esteem due to the attacks on her person by Venier. In Capitolo 16 Franco challenges the man to a duel, but we understand that this duel is symbolic rather than actual. That said, a woman challenging a man to a duel really connotes a physical or intellectual challenge to rectify a wrong or an injustice inflicted on the challenger. In a way, if Venier accepted the challenge, then he would be exposed as less than a man, because he would then be fighting a woman, something cowardly to imagine. On the other hand, this may be exactly what Franco wanted to accomplish in a way, to expose the man as something of a coward, someone who is a bit of a scum. The duel was to be an exchange of insults, and here Franco was confident that ...
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