The Book of the City of Ladies

1362 words 6 pages
Women in History and the Rise of the City of Ladies

Prior to and throughout the late middle ages, women have been portrayed in literature as vile and corrupt. During this time, Christine de Pizan became a well educated woman and counteracted the previous notions of men’s slander against women. With her literary works, Pizan illustrated to her readers and women that though education they can aspire to be something greater than what is written in history. Through the use of real historical examples, Christine de Pizan’s, The Book of the City of Ladies, acts as a defense against the commonly perceived notions of women as immoral. Throughout her novel, Pizan’s discloses her insight about the oppression of women through the creation of
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“Those men who have attacked women out of jealousy are those wicked ones who have seen and realized that many women have greater understanding and are more noble in conduct than they themselves,” (Couser, 130). With this insight they have slander women due to their jealousy of women who may be seen as more noble and intelligent than they are.
While discussing to cause behind men’s slander of women, Lady Reason helps Christine to lay the foundation for the city of the ladies. “Take the pick of your understanding and dig and clear out a great ditch wherever you see the marks of my ruler, and I will help you carry away the earth on my own shoulders,” (Couser, 128). The removal of dirt is indication of removing past beliefs about male assailants, in order to move past that all women must truly be bad since she couldn’t find a work of literature which didn’t attack the female sex. By previously believing these men’s accusations against women, Christine wasn’t using reason and Lady Reason came to her aid to put aside her self-consciousness and make her understand the rationale needed to move forward. With the creation of Lady Reason, Pizan not only provides herself with reason, but also her readers and women to show that they have a significant role within society.


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