Simple Story, A, by Mrs. Inchbald. ‘A Simple Story’ was written, as the preface to the first edition tells us, under the impulse of necessity in It is divided into. A Simple Story by the actress, playwright and novelist Elizabeth Inchbald has remained enduringly popular and almost continuously in print since its first. A Simple Story. Elizabeth INCHBALD ( – ). The story could really have been simple: Miss Milner, who is admired for her beauty and.

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Analysis of elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story. Similarities between the two halves: Inchbalr female characters p. Her whole life was marked on the one hand by tensions between her political radicalism and her love for independence and, on the other hand, a wish for social respectability and a sort of attraction for authority figures. She moved to London at the age of nineteen, to work as an actress.

Maybe in order to receive some protection, she married the actor Joseph Inchbald. Their marriage is reported not to have been a happy one. This could be one of the reasons why she became infatuated with another person: John Philip Kemble, a young and handsome man bred within a Catholic family. Their relationship, undoubtedly similar to the one between Miss Milner and Dorriforth in A Simple Story, has probably been a source of inspiration for the first part of this novel.

The barrier signified in the novel by Dorriforth’s vows was in her real life represented by her marriage and his prudent character. Inshe retired from acting, continuing however her writing career. She has in fact been not only one of inchbqld first women to find fame as a playwright, but also the first prominent British female theatre incchbald. Politically involved, her beliefs can however be more easily found in her novels than in her plays, because of the very restrictive atmosphere of the patent theatres of Georgian London.

A Simple Story takes its original shape from the idea of joining together two different drafts on which she was working during the same period: Miss Milner’s story and Lady Matilda’s one.

The novel was published in and reveals, by the fictional, political-charged narration of an aristocratic elizabeyh life, some key changes concerning female roles within English society.

The plot, mainly based on the narration of two women’s lives, can be elizaveth as a sort of mirror of contemporary society, showing the opposition between two different ways of playing a female role inside the family nucleus. The novel is divided into two parts. It begins with the story of Miss Milner and ends with that of her daughter, Matilda. The two stories are linked by the conflicting relationship with a man, the husband of one woman and the father of the other.

However, the typical generational stroy between mother and daughter is here overturned into something unusual. If the first part seems to suggest the birth of a new, more permissive social order in which women’s strength and will are to be considered on a par with men’s power and authority, giving voice to a sort of proto-feminist claim, in the second part the author withdraws her incybald fictional achievement, restoring male social supremacy.

If Miss Milner destabilizes social conventions, then it is Matilda who restores patriarchal authority. Nonetheless, the apparent incoherence of the two halves could be considered a far cry from a schizophrenic attempt of the author to conciliate her latent rebellious spirit with a more conservative cultural background. In fact, besides the apparent contradiction of those two characters in approaching social, cultural and sexual codified roles, Mrs Inchbald has hidden an equal wish in both of them to submit sjmple will and to allow women to finally fulfil their personal aspiration in different ways and by different means.

The comparison between the two female heroines and, consequently, between the two different elizabetth of wlizabeth novel concerning each one of them will thus disclose some features to trace the portraits of two different ways of living womanhood, love and social relationships within eighteenth-century patriarchal society. The first part of the novel volume I and volume II starts with Mr Milner on his death bed, deciding to leave his eighteen-year old daughter in the care of his friend Dorriforth.


When Miss Milner moves into Mrs Horton’s house, where Dorriforth lives, from the inchbaod her lifestyle arouses a sory opinion in him: Therefore, the concern to find her a husband begins to take up his mind as a way to discharge himself of a burden he does simp,e know how to manage.

Therefore he asks a friend of his for help: Sandford, who is Dorriforth’s tutor, another member of the catholic church characterized by an overbearing behaviour and tough manners, especially in relation to Miss Milner. After having consulted with Sandford, Dorriforth makes the decision to send his ward to the countryside for the summer.

However Lord Frederick re-appears and keeps on trying to win Miss Milner’s heart who, inchbals, does not return his love. The persistence of his courtship leads to a tragic consequence: This eelizabeth thus gives life to a series of events leading to the final confession to her friend Miss Woodley of her love for Dorriforth: As we come to know by her own words during a dialogue with her guardian, she is convinced that she will not get married for obedience but only for love, so she will never marry anyone but him: Dorriforth represents for her an unknown world and her aim becomes that of being a most charming woman in front of him.

So she tries to comply with his orders and indulge his pleas for a more plain lifestyle. Luckily, a sudden turnover brings about her happiness.

Analysis of elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story | Trisha Takanawa –

The unexpected death of Lord Elmwood forces Dorriforth to abandon his vows and become a Lord to preserve the property of his family. She starts inchbalf closer to him, faithful to her new hope: The two become more intimate: Oxford University Press,p.

Yet she quickly changes the kind disposition she had shown while trying to gain Lord Elmwood’s affection, replacing it with a growing restiveness: She explicitly declare the reason of her negative conduct in a dialogue with her friend, Miss Woodley: In spite of affirming her will, the breach causes, as the only result, the decision by him to dismiss her and leave for a long meditative trip from p.

Even so, the first part of the book ends with a sensational development at the eve of their parting. A sudden change of plans takes place and, thanks to the help of Sandford who finally dtory a glimmer elziabeth benevolence toward Miss Milner, the two elizabehh get married p. The second part of the book volume III and volume IV is the sequel of the story of this recently formed family nucleus.

After their marriage, the family lives in happiness: However, the sudden departure of Lord Elmwood on a long business trip in India makes Lady Elmwood no longer able to bear her loneliness, to the point that she cannot remain faithful to her husband and looks for the company of another man. When he comes back, unable to conceal the impious secret, she flees her house and retires in Northumbria with her daughter. From that moment Lord Elmwood completely changes: When Lady Elmwood dies, in a farewell letter to Lord Elmwood, she commits her daughter Matilda to her once beloved husband’s care.

He accepts this duty but with the clause that Matilda resides at his countryside property only if she always stays out of his sight. Matilda accepts very eagerly this new perspective of life, which she thinks will get her closer to her father. The only thing which makes her upset and jealous is the presence of Harry Rushbrook, to whom all the paternal love is addressed. Rushbrook is, on the contrary, very devoted to Matilda, whose attitude remembers him of that of her mother, who he has always regarded as his rescuer from his humble condition.

After some time, some loving feelings start springing in Rushbrook’s chest who begins to fall in love with Matilda. Yet he is not the only suitor. Viscount Margrave also becomes infatuated with her. In the meantime, Matilda tests her father’s command in a clever and obsessive way: She faints in his arms. The initial automatic paternal instinct of Lord Elmwood who assists his daughter, results finally in the negative outcome where Matilda and her friends are ordered to leave the castle p.


The episode encourages Lord Margrave to persist in his courtship of Matilda. He tries to take advantage of her sad situation of having been rejected by her father and tries to offer her a future as his wife. His attempt fails and she rejects him. As a result he plans another strategy to make her his mistress and finally resolves to kidnap and rape her.

Yet the crime is soon discovered and the general alarm reaches her father who immediately decides to leave and save her. Once more, at the eve of the tragic ending, something unexpected happens. Her father reaches Lord Margrave’s place and is finally able to rescue Matilda p. Indhbald Elmwood thus resolves to never again part from her and brings her back to his London house.

A Simple Story

Only when Lord Elmwood and Matilda have been publicly reconciled, does Rushbrook declare his love to Elmwood who finally delegates to his daughter the choice to be joined with Rushbrook or not. As we can see, the two halves are very symmetrical on what concerns the symbolic plot: When Matilda is introduced, at the beginning of book III, the reader stpry note a sort of return to the origins of the storj, or to be more precise, to the period when Miss Milner’s story began: The more we proceed with Matilda’s story, the more we become aware that it is a sort of recapitulation of her mother’s story.

First of all the two stories are linked by the presence of the same man: Then, both women are punished by the banishment from a man’s affection. Finally, the conclusion of both halves consists in a happy ending characterized by the gratifying union with the man 3 Terry Castle, Masquerade and Civilization: Finally, both the first and the second part end with the birth of a new love affair, its consolidation and the prospect of a happy marriage.

The presence of Miss Milner in the second part, too, is then continuously shown by Matilda’s relationship with her father. Lord Elmwood is the first to be unable to distinguish between Matilda and her mother showing his confusion by the act of continuing to make her pay for her mother’s sins.

Despite the use of ismple similar pattern, the two halves differ for the presence of two very dissimilar women playing a leading role in the development of the action. The scheme repeated on the second part allows the author to distinguish two different attitudes before the same circumstances: The female characters 2.

The peculiarity of Miss Milner’s character lies in its very realistic and natural behavior: She is a typical non-ideal figure of woman, who cannot be stereotypically represented but, on the contrary, is continually submitted to contradictory passions and attitudes, spontaneous in her virtues and in her follies p. This aspect of her character, despite being continuously implicit in her attitudes and gestures, is explicitly underlined in the opposition between her and Miss Fenton who represents the perfect model for her sex, a sort of living example of what eighteenth century conduct books describe as the most suitable female behavior: On the contrary, she appears, at first glance, as a sort of conventional coquette: Nevertheless, she also displays a range of qualities which contradict this first impression and reveal a natural wlizabeth of positive virtues and frivolous qualifications: Her sensitivity enables her gain the reader’s sympathy whilst her spirit animates the gloomy house.

What separates her from a conventional coquette is then her choice for the object of her love: In my calendar of love, a solemn lord chief justice, stoey a devout archbishop ranks before a licentious king. She reveals this fortitude in particular after the decision of banishment made by Dorriforth, which she accepts with the highest resignation and pride: She rebels against masculine arrogance and claim of power, trying to prove herself as an intellectual equal to men.

Her weapon in this task appears to be the power of mirth and laughter: