The Marquis of OThe element of sleep or the loss of consciousness in Heinrich von Kleist’s Die Marquise von O (The Marquise of O) is about a woman who became pregnant without knowing the father.
She wanted to know who the father of her unborn child was so she placed an announcement in the newspapers to know the real father so that she can marry him. The novel is not just about a woman’s struggle to know the truth about her pregnancy, but also a bout against oppression as a woman. The recurring symbolism of the story is the loss of consciousness, sleeping, or fainting, and it symbolizes the time when a person is most vulnerable.The novel tells us of how the Marquis of O overcame her struggle and was finally able to know the truth, and how she would face the person who took advantage of her most vulnerable state, the same person who fathered her unborn child.When the Marquis of O learns that she’s pregnant, it wasn’t that much of a shock for her, since she is already a widow and is the mother of two children. Her real problem at that time would be identifying who the father was, and at that moment she has no idea how she got pregnant. She knows that she is aware of what happens in most parts of her life, so she would definitely have an idea who the father would be. This time however, she was clueless of who really got her pregnant.
At this point, the Marquis of O wasn’t able to fully analyze the recent events that might have led to her pregnancy, including the time when she was almost raped by Russian soldiers. She was saved by a certain Count F, but she lost her consciousness afterwards: this was the point that she missed. This was the time that she wasn’t aware of anything happening around her, and it is the perfect time for someone to take advantage of her and maybe get her pregnant.When the Marquis of O lost her consciousness, she also lost her awareness of her surroundings, of the things that might happen to her.
This is her most vulnerable state: someone could easily take advantage of her, or at some extent, even end her life. This could be the point where someone took advantage of her unconscious body and the result was her pregnancy.Losing consciousness meant a lot for the Marquis. If she wasn’t a widow and a mother of two, she would’ve lost her innocence. But at that time, what she lost was her chance to defend herself, a chance to deny access to her body. Despite the fact that a woman like her wouldn’t stand a chance against the strength of a man or maybe a group of men, she could’ve fought if she was fully conscious. However, she was denied of the fighting chance, and the worst part of it was that she bore the fruit of that incident.
The loss of consciousness also foreshadowed the problems that the Marquis of O was fated to experience. It’s true that she was saved from almost being raped by Russian soldiers, but she didn’t fully avoid having problems. After she blacked out and lost consciousness, someone still took advantage of her.
Even though there was no resistance, it was still against her will that something like that occurred. She got saved from the Russian soldiers, but in the end, she was also raped by a mysterious person.During the time of the Marquis of O, women are regarded inferior to men. Aside from the fact that they were physically inferior compared to their male counterparts, women assume the role of someone who has to bow to the whims of the men. They were the ones to stay in the house and look after the children while the men stay out and work. Even Marquis of O exhibited an air of superiority, especially when he booted her because of the fact that she got pregnant and the father is unknown.
This lead to the Marquis of O to publish an announcement in order to know the father of the child she carries.The novel stated that her motive of doing so is to know the father and marry him immediately, but I think it was also her last chance to know who really took advantage of her. Marrying her would be enough reason for the man who raped to surface, and she was waiting for this to happen.Losing consciousness as what has happened to the Marquis of O can also symbolize the denial of truth. When she lost consciousness, she wasn’t able to recognize or identify the man who raped her. At her current situation, the only way to find the truth is accept the incident, and this is through marriage. She sacrificed herself in order to know the truth. She accepted the fact that she has to marry the person who once took advantage of her, an act of evilness that has defiled her body while it was in an unconscious state.
She doesn’t want to be denied of the truth, so she has to bet everything in the announcement that she has made on the newspaper. She hopes to find out who the father of her unborn child. She wants to know the identity of the man who raped her.Lastly, the element of losing consciousness symbolizes of the uncertainties of the things to come.
It is evident in all the parts of the story: at the start, when she was about to be raped by a group of Russian soldiers, it was uncertain that she was saved by a Russian official. When she was at home with her parents she was uncertain of her pregnancy because she never expected it. And finally, at the latter part of the story, the Marquis of O was uncertain who the father of her unborn child was. She was even tricked by her mother that it was their servant, Leopardo who got her pregnant.
But when the time came for her to know who the man really was, she received the a shocking news, the most uncertain person turned up to be her rapist.It was none other than count F, the man who saved her from the group of Russian soldiers about to rape her. It was also a big surprise because Count F presented himself as a suitor, who immediately asked for her hand of marriage. It was most uncertain that he was the rapist because she regarded him as an angel who rescued her from her would-be rapists. She was saddened and disgusted by this fact that she told her parents that she was willing to marry a monster rather than the devil himself. It was a real shocker because if you connect those details, he took advantage of her when she lost her consciousness. He may have saved her from the hands of the group of Russian soldiers only to have her for himself. Losing consciousness meant a lot for the Marquis of O.
She was not only denied of the truth but also lost a grasp of the reality. Surprisingly, the novel ended with the couple being married again and living a happy life. If we are to look back at all the sufferings experienced by the Marquis of O, she really needed to be happy in the end, with all the troubles that she got from losing consciousness.References:Bentzel, C. C.
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