Margery’s Agency of Envy

While in my previous post about Margery I was inclined to be very critical, Rosenfeld added a new perspective to how I view her Book. Rosenfeld first introduces the novel concept that envy is not entirely negative. In fact, Margery’s envy and her competitive nature enabled her to achieve the singularity she seemed to strive for. I’m not sure if I misinterpreted this particular part of the essay, but Rosenfeld early on in her essay establishes the idea that Margery’s very use of envy allows her to break from the male centered community and create her own community. As Rosenfeld later states, this was threatening to the male authorities of the time and the fact that Margery is able to pose such a threat shows she has achieved distinction. Rosenfeld also takes note of the nature of envy, “Among members of the same nation, the closest acquaintances and not strangers are objects of envy,” (108). This point of envy only through proximity implies that envy is only present when we believe the goal of our envy to be attainable. Her envy and competitiveness with others, even saints, with respect to religion set her apart from the community and in doing so groups her with Christ. She achieves this by her excessive shows of emotion, implying that if others aren’t capable of the same emotion they are not as affected.

The manner in which Margery talks about Christ, which Rosenfeld touches upon, is also significant. She is very familiar with him and suggests that her favor of him has a reciprocal effect. In fact based on the language she uses her relationship with Christ seems almost romantic. Based on our knowledge that people during medieval times were focused on the physical manifestation of religion, this follows logically. However, perhaps I am interpreting this with a modernized point of view and the language she uses is not out of the ordinary.

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