The Old English Baron

1105 words 5 pages
1. “Cease to look upon Edmund as the enemy of your house; look upon him as a son, and make him so indeed!—How say you, Sir Philip? My son!—Yes, my Lord; give him your daughter: He is already your son in filial affection! Your son William and he are sworn brothers; what remains but to make him yours? He deserves such a parent, you such a son; and you will by this means, ingraft into your family, the name, title, and estate of Lovel, which will be entailed on your posterity for ever.” — The Old English Baron, 110

This primary text from Clara Reeve’s “The Old English Baron” exhibits the struggle between Sir Phillip Harclay and Lord Fitz-Owen (The Old English Baron) about allowing Edmund to marry his daughter. Although “The Old English
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Sir Robert grew tired of being bested by a young peasant, someone who is below Robert’s social hierarchy and this fact irritates him. When Lord Fitz-Owen argues with Sir Phillip, he states “How say you, Sir Philip? My son!” displaying shock at the idea of having Edmund as a son (even though he was already raised as such). At this point, Edmund was already proven to be the true heir and already has had his social inheritance restored, but the Baron still states that “This offer requires much consideration, (Reeve, 115)" and must seek the approval of his eldest son. Sir Phillip responds with “I foresee much difficulty; he is prejudiced against Edmund, and thinks the restitution of his inheritance an injury to your family (Reeve, 116)” subtly hinting that it’s essentially irrelevant for Robert’s opinion since he was biased in the first place. Sir Phillip isn’t worried about this proposition though, leaving his good faith in virtue. The Edmund-Robert obstacle wouldn’t have existed in the first place had Edmund not been introduced to the family as a peasant. Sir Robert could’ve shared the same filial affection for Edmund had he not been restricted by his views on social class imposed by society’s culture. Sir Phillip’s argument with Lord Fitz-Owen represents two characters who both share a genuine love for Edmund, but one (Sir Phillip) is free from social curtailment while the other believes there are still


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