The comparison of characters: Pamela Andrews and Moll Flanders by Miroslava Novysedlakova Two beautiful girls. Maybe at first glance we would say that there is certainly nothing what these woman have in common, of course, except their outstanding beauty. But there is more than one could expect. Firstly, both are being seduced by their masters, but each of them copes with it quite differently. Pamela Andrews is enormously addicted to maintenance of her virtue. Her virginity is her „Jewel“ according to advices of her parents, strong devoted Christians.
This „Jewel“ characterises her actions and becomes the „obstacle“ of fullfillment of erotic imagination of her master Mr. B. Pamela would rather die than to have a sex without being married to this man. But isn? t it just a doctrine which is engraved by strong Christian upbrigning of her poor parents? Twenty-first century man would certainly never believe that such a virtuous girl could ever existed. On the contrary, Moll Flanders is an orphan girl without christian influence upon her pubescence. She is a daughter of a felon who was exiled to the plantations in Virginia.
Moll is looked after by a nurse who represents the only positive element of her childhood. Later this woman died and Moll is sent to a rich family as a companion of young ladies. But there are also men. Two brothers who find her very attractive. The Eldest brother wants only to seduce her and have pleasures of her flesh. Second brother is much more honest and wants to marry her but it’s already late. She has succumbed of the temptation of the eldest. There is the major contrary. Moll is seduced without any significant protest from her side.
Pamela continually defends her virginity and the only „Jewel“ she is possess. Both of this girls realised their beauty and power of it upon males. But Pamela’s vanity is repressed by her strong Christian belief. Moll is very keen on everything which means better life conditions – money, beautiful dresses etc. She is paid afterwards she is seduced. She become a whore. But who is the hypocrite? Pamela or Moll? Maybe it would be better said that Moll is, at least at the beginning much more naive than Pamela and more sincere in her actions. She lives for a moment.
Pamela also has a vanity but permanently repressed by the virtue. She is aware of her unique beauty and maybe by continuance of her references to her poverty as her pride tries to remind herself where’s her limits of her „poor“ position among rich young ladies which are trying to attract Mr. B. If Pamela wouldn? t persuade herself she is not worth such a man, maybe than we could also see her jealous. It’s evident she is in love with him from the very beginning but this feelings are also repressed such as many others, for example her sexual desire.
Moll reveals her feelings by retelling the actions and everything she has done was the result of her imediate feeling. She struggles through the whole life but lives without no internal repudiation. She is aware of what she wants and needs in the moment of doing it even though she regrets it in later years. Beauty is feature of Pamela as well as of Moll. But Pamela has a pattern how to cope with it in a modesty and prudence manner – her Christian education and influence of her parents. However she is acting like a martyr, it is clear she admires her image she sees in a mirror.
She is still talking about how her Lady, later her Master and others tells her she is a real beauty. Pamela also continually finds important how her clothing represent her. She mentions that she is poor and dresses badly because of her virtue. That idea seems „unbelievable“ most of contemporary readers. However S. Richardson wrote Pamela or Virture Rewarded as a psychological novel, the only glimpse to her real psychology is represented by a scene as she is staying in front of the looking-glass. It seems her awareness of her beauty puts prudence and virtue in her hierarchy even higher.
She tells she is not worth of Mr. B, but actually, she would rather say, she is worth of position as Mr B’s wife, not only as a whore. Moll Flanders is flattered in a similar way, by the notions of her masters, two brothers of her ladies, but she has no mantinels like christian education to hold her vanity in reasonable measure. She, practically, devotes her beauty to her purpose how to live better life with rich husband, better said, husbands. It becomes her ticket to luxury and richness. In Pamela’s case there is not only her beauty, but especially her virtue and prudence that provides her better life conditions.
Moll passionately wants to be married with a rich man, Pamela wants to be admired for her strong mind and prudence, virtue, however, it may be only just a impression. However this virtous girl is in love with Mr. B and maybe, if Mr B. doesn? t transform his behaviour towards her and lets her go, she would probably gives up. What does expect her in her life? Poverty and her devoted parents, but is this enough for such a beautiful young girl of sixteen? Maybe she wasn? t completely sincere when she was writing those letters. She comes back when Mr. B gets ill. Why? She is in love and her desire for this man can? be smaller than his. But she repressed everything which is not righteous acording her parents, the Bible, the Christianity… So as to beauty, Pamela wants to be beautiful not only on the outside but the virtue represents and underlines what she understands as a real prettiness. Moll Flanders look at her attractive appearance as a device how to get more money, better life with rich man. It’s much more superficial than the motives of Miss Andrews. But Moll lives on her own and does her best to get to higher society and better conditions of her existence. She wants the same thing as Pamela in fact.
Love, security in one’s arms but in comparison with her, Moll has got nothing to hold, no belief, no friends, no family. It’s understandable she acts and behaves differently when it comes to her seduction. Sexuality is the topic represented in both of this novel and is part of both main heroines. Pamela is described as very prudent and virtious but also as physicaly very good shaped and attractive. She boasts herself about the flatterings she receives from her Master and young ladies. And the fact she is also sexually attracted is represented by her return to her Master but also the way how she expresses about him.
She has never mentioned that he digsusts her, which would be adequate because she is a victim of his sexual harassment. Her sexuality is repressed by her prudence and virtue but is still there. Moll, however she is sexually active from the beginning of the story, realy falls in love in its half, when she meets „her Lancashire husband“. It’s paradox that Moll, even though she is promiscuous and experienced enough in way of physical love, she disovers real feeling of love, in not only sexually poin of view, later and Pamela is firstly introduced with platonic love and afterwards when she is married with Mr.
B, also with that physical. It’s not love that drives them further, it’s virtue and self-preservation. Love is something which these women didn? t expect but it unexpectedly comes… Both are innocent, Pamela’s innocence is quite undestandable, her morality, prudence and virtue makes her the most innocent and virtuous literary heroine ever described. But what about Moll? Innocent? Whore, thief, cheater and she even commited an incest. But in the most hidden way, by the punctilious examination of her character and her fate, there is evidence she is naive and very innocent.
It is her naturality of her character. Maybe it’s the reason why she never give up, she still believes in herself as an individuality and does everything in order to survive. We could hardly imagine that Pamela would survive such a hell that Moll did. Pamela is strong heroine but her power comes from her virtue, if she had lost it, before she would have married, she probably lost her self-worth and maybe killed herself. She was capable to think about suicide when she thinks she is lost in her Master’s captivity and there? no way to escape, but only her Christianity saves her. If she was lost and ravished by sex out of the wedlock, it is questionable, whether she would have power to go on. Moll is stronger in this respect. Pamela’s power is to resist the „dishonourable“ temptations, Moll can cope with the falls with the courage that we must admired. They make mistakes. Pamela’s naivity encourage her Masters to seduce her. Moll’s frivolousness takes her into the world of fornication and malefaction. But they have a power to resist the world.
Pamela survives without loss of her „Jewel“ and finally she is the winner and her prudence and virtues compels Mr. B to marry her. But, moreover, Pamela is exposed to the type of Moll’s vanity which is quite clearly represented: ? O that I had never left my Rags nor my Povetry, to thus expos? d to Temptations.? Fortunately, there is still a virtue that saves her and doesn? t let her behave in imprudent manner. Moll Flanders is an example of solitary woman who is capable to overcome many obstacles and even realises her own strays and atones for them. ?… e resolve to spend the Remainder of our Years in sincere Penitence, for the wicked Lives we have lived. “ This sentence closes the story about the Fortunes and Misfortune of the Famous Moll Flanders. These heroines show us more power that we would ever expected from women in their positions. Perhaps its realy unrealistic to meet a girl like Pamela who would violently defend her virginity and virtue when such temptations as young rich handsome man is in front of her, but the main purpose of S. Richardson is to support the chastity of young woman and by allusion of reward in a form of Pamela? proposal to marriage with Mr. B demostrates the important and advantage of it. Moll’s case is quite more complicated. She is tempted and continually fails but afterwards she finds her spirit to overcome her own remorses and become better person. D. Defoe wanted to create the contrast between the solitude of this woman and the society, world in which she is entirely alone even there are many people surrounding her. Pamela’s and Moll’s fates is different but both women has waged hard struggle for their belief or survival.