The film "The Duchess" directed by Saul Dibb based on Amanda Foreman's biography of the controversial socialite Georgina Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, entails her very remarkable yet infamous marital arrangements for which, the most interesting moral conflict with regards to marriage can be drawn and is best suitable for further analysis. In the film, Georgina Cavendish (played by Keira Knightley) was portrayed as a fashion-oriented and gambling patron yet intelligent and politically-inclined woman later unfortunately entrapped in marriage with William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of DevonshirIndeed, a handful of reasons can be assumed in modern times as valid justifications for her to separate from her husband. Such include the various sexual affairs of the Duke, one of which even bore an offspring whom Georgina cared for as her own, her misery being that her role as a wife was deduced to her capability of bearing a son, and last but not the least, his husband's affair with Lady Elizabeth Foster, the closest friend of Georgina to which was described in the film as Georgina's "sole comfort". The affair seemed to be beyond sexual reasons since the Duke refused to banish Lady Elizabeth upon Georgina's knowledge of the affair and even insisted that she live with him despite Georgina's presence in the residence. This is where the moral conflict arises and it is best described in the phrase of mnage trios.Mnage trios literally means household of three in French...
Despite the already miserable situation, the Duke refused her agreement for separation in order for her to legitimately start a relationship with Charles Grey for whom she had genuine feelings for. Even worse, the Duke threatened of banning her from seeing her children if she continued to see Grey. Georgina chose to be with her children however, she was apparently pregnant with Grey's daughter. In the end, the Duke decided that Grey's family should take the responsibility of raising the child for which Georgina was only able to visit in discretion.
The story of Georgina serves as an inspiration and leads us to assess whether an individual's passive approval of a marital arrangement of mnage trios is morally right or wrong for the sake of being able to live with one's children. We shall do so through the differing Immanuel Kant's theory on morality in his written work entitled Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and John Stuart Mill's work on Utilitarianism (1861). But before we move on, we should clarify that the point of debate that in upon agreeing with the marital arrangement, Georgina was unable to live with her daughter fathered by Grey in return, since Georgina was able to see and visit, therefore to be with, the child though in discretion.
Immanuel Kant is known for being "completely un-utilitarian"3 because of his "..rejection of satisfaction of desires as a ground for morals4". In addition, he believes that the basis for actions to be moral is its aspect of obligation because men are capable of reason stating further that "..reason's proper function must be to produce a will good in itself.."5. Moreover, an action should not be based solely upon the use