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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Mary Wroth, Desire, and Constancy

Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus (1621) is a sonnet sequence that examines the politics of constancy within a love relationship. In it, Pamphilia, or all-loving, explores all of the emotional details of her love for Amphilanthus, meaning lover of two. Although Pamphilia feels powerless against the mythical Cupid and his wandering arrows, she frees herself from his powers by remaining dedicated to yet another wanderer--Amphilanthus, who, unlike his queen, is unsure about which path his love should follow. Wroth's poem 74 reflects Pamphilia's anxieties about desire while still emphasizing the importance of faithfulness within the context of true, mature, love. Through Wroth's juxtaposition of imagery, the creation of space, and the deliberate use of specific rhyme and meter patterns, poem 74 of Pamphilia to Amphilanthus is meant as an illustration of how Pamphilia successfully balances desire with constancy to her inconstant beloved.

Presenter: Sara Baglioni (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: English
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)