Women’s Positions in the 17th Century
Social circumstances in Early Modern England mostly served to repress women’s voices. Patriarchal culture and institutions constructed them as chaste, silent, obedient, and subordinate. At the beginning of the 17th century, the ideology of patriarchy, political absolutism, and gender hierarchy were reaffirmed powerfully by King James in The Trew Law of Free Monarchie and the Basilikon Doron; by that ideology the absolute power of God the supreme patriarch was seen to be imaged in the absolute monarch of the state and in the husband and father of a family. Accordingly, a woman’s subjection, first to her father and then to her husband, imaged the subjection of English people to their monarch, and of all Christians to God. Also, the period saw an outpouring of repressive or overtly misogynist sermons, tracts, and plays, detailing women’s physical and mental defects, spiritual evils, rebelliousness, shrewish ness, and natural inferiority to men.
Yet some social and cultural conditions served to empower women. During the Elizabethan era (1558—1603) the culture was dominated by a powerful Queen, who provided an impressive female example though she left scant cultural space for other women. Elizabethan women writers began to produce original texts but were occupied chiefly with translation. In the 17th century, however, various circumstances enabled women to write original texts in some numbers. For one thing, some counterweight to patriarchy was provided by female communities—mothers and daughters, extended kinship networks, close female friends, the separate court of Queen Anne (King James’ consort) and her often oppositional masques and political activities. For another, most of these women had a reasonably good education (modern languages, history, literature, religion, music, occasionally Latin) and some apparently found in romances and histories more expansive terms for imagining women’s lives. Also, representation of vigorous and rebellious female characters in literature and especially on the stage no doubt helped to undermine any monolithic social construct of women’s mature and role.
Most important, perhaps, was the radical potential inherent in the Protestant insistence on every Christian’s immediate relationship with God and primary responsibility to follow his or her individual conscience. There is plenty of support in St Paul’s epistles and elsewhere in the Bible for patriarchy and a wife’s subjection to her husband, but some texts (notably Galatians 3:28) inscribe a very different politics, promoting women’s spiritual equality: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ.” Such texts encouraged some women to claim the support of God the supreme patriarch against the various earthly patriarchs who claimed to stand toward them in his stead.
There is also the gap or slippage between ideology and common experience. English women throughout the 17th century exercised a good deal of accrual power: as managers of estates in their husbands’ absences at court or on military and diplomatic missions; as members of guilds; as wives and mothers who apex during the English Civil War and Interregnum (1640-60) as the execution of the King and the attendant disruption of social hierarchies led many women to seize new roles—as preachers, as prophetesses, as deputies for exiled royalist husbands, as writers of religious and political tracts.
1. What is the best title for this passage?
[A]. Women’s Position in the 17th Century.
[B]. Women’s Subjection to Patriarchy.
[C]. Social Circumstances in the 17th Century.
[D]. Women’s objection in the 17th Century.
2. What did the Queen Elizabeth do for the women in culture?
[A]. She set an impressive female example to follow.
[B]. She dominated the culture.
[C]. She did little.
[D]. She allowed women to translate something.
3. Which of the following is Not mention as a reason to enable women to originaltexts?
[A].Female communities provided some counterweight to patriarchy.
[B]. Queen Anne’s political activities.
[C]. Most women had a good education.
[D]. Queen Elizabeth’s political activities.
4. What did the religion so for the women?
[A]. It did nothing.
[B]. It too asked women to be obedient except some texts.
[C]. It supported women.
1. A. 17世纪英国妇女地位。见上面文章大意。
B. 妇女服从于家族制。 D. 17世纪妇女的反抗，都是A.内容中的一部分，不能作为最佳标题。 C. 17世纪英国社会形式，只能作为背景出现。
2. C. 她没有做什么。英女皇伊丽莎白在位时期间在文化上并没有妇女做过什么。这在第二段讲得很清楚。“伊丽莎白统治时期(1558——1603)，文化领域为强有里女皇所控制，她本人确实树立了令人难忘的妇女形象，可是她并没有为其它妇女能够创作一些东西。”见前面列出之原因和下一道题的A. B. C.
3. D. 伊丽莎白女皇的政治活动。这文内没有提及。
A. 妇女亲情网对家长制进行抗衡。 B. 安娜女皇的政治活动。 C. 大多数妇女都受过良好教育。这三项在第二段中都提到。“首先，妇女亲情关系，如母亲，女儿，他们的亲戚网，好友;安娜女皇单独的宫殿，她那对立的化装舞会和政治活动都和族长制予以抗衡。”
4. B. 除了某些文本外，它也要求妇女服从。第一段，见上述内容。第三段集中论述这一点。“也许，最重要的是基督教固有潜在激进性。它坚持主张每个基督徒和上帝的直接关系，坚持人首先责任是服从她或他的良知。在圣•保罗使徒书以及在别的圣经中有许多对家长制，妻子对丈夫的服从支持。可是有些文本镌刻着一种完全不同的政治观点，鼓吹妇女精神平等：”人没有犹太和希腊之分，没有束缚或自由之分，没有男女之分，因为在耶酥基督面前，你们都是一样。“
A. 它什么也没有做。不对。 C. 它支持妇女。也不对，只有某些版本支持。 D. 它求助于上帝。它借上帝之名压制妇女。第一段：“因此，妇女首先服从父亲，然后服从丈夫，体现了(象征)英国人民服从他们的君主，所有基督徒服从上帝。”