Angel in the House Analysis


Angelin the House Analysis

Angelin the House Analysis

Theimportance of literary works cannot be understated as far as thedevelopment of any society is concerned. More often than not,literary works explore issues that are pertinent in the societywithin which the creators of the same live. Of course, some themeshave been immensely explored as themes in both the contemporary andtraditional societies. This is the case for themes such as greed,jealousy, romance and even gender equality. The position of women inthe society has become a bone of contention in most literary worksparticularly considering that in most societies, women were (andstill are) considered second class citizens. This is the image thatwas created for Victorian Era women in “Angelin the House”.

Thewoman described as an angel had been trained by her single life forher role as “angel wife”. In this case, she was supposed to besubmissive of her husband, providing constant adoration to him andpromoting his physical and spiritual wellbeing. Further, she wassupposed to undertake supervision of the activities of the servants,albeit under her husband’s watchful eye, as well as function as thecommitted and loving mother of a large family (Hartnell, 1996). Itshould be noted that the woman was supposed to be an unintellectual,acquiescent and passive individual, whose live revolves aroundreligion, social engagements and domestic management (Hartnell,1996).

Itshould be acknowledged that the term was exclusively applied to themiddle-class women of the Victorian period. Indeed, as much as theywere education, the education system did not impart any skills thatwould have benefited them beyond the domestic arena. Scholarsacknowledge that the young women were taught fine arts, needlework,piano, painting, and in some cases, charity work (Hartnell, 1996).Given that they were not fully exposed to the tribulations of theworld, their innocence could easily be guarded.

In“The Lover”, Patmore introduced the concept of an angel in thehouse, albeit from the perspective of the husband. It is acknowledgedthat Patmore praised the woman all over the poem in spite of the factthat she was deficient of her own opinion (Patmore, 1999). An initialglance creates the impression that the piece is a love poem. However,comprehensive analysis demonstrates that Patmore only praises womenwith regard to their capacity to benefit men. Essentially, women area component of the poem, albeit not one that should be heard butrather perceived through the eyes of the husband. This underlines thefact that the main role of the woman is the support the opinion ofthe man.

Atone point, the poet states that “Hismerits in her presence grow, To match the promise in her eyes, Andround her happy footsteps blow, The authentic airs of paradise”.(Patmore, lines 316-319). The statement underlines the fact that thewife is perceived as a spiritual figure that not only makes themerits of the speaker to grow but also brings him closer to paradise.While this is a depiction of women as spiritual beings who have aresponsibility of bringing men closer to God, the notion that theyare innocent angels may be seen as considerably infantilizing. Asmuch a Patmore praises women, he holds the belief that they aresubordinate to their male counterparts and have the sole purpose ofassisting their husbands. This is objectification of women, which wascustomary during the Victorian era.


Hartnell,E (1996). &quotNothing but Sweet and Womanly: A Hagiography ofPatmore`s Angel.&quot&nbspVictorianPoetry&nbsp34.4:457-76.

Patmore,C (1999). &quotThe Angel in the House.&quot&nbspTheBroadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory.Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Peterborough:Broadview. 743-44.