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Posted on May 5th, 2014, by

In the epistolary novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, Samuel Richardson, the well-known English writer of the 18th century, discusses a lot of significant issues, such as the nature of virtue and interpersonal relations, sexual politics and class discrimination, and some other issues. The main character of the novel is Pamela Andrews, a pretty young girl of 15 years old, who serves as a maid servant in one of the rich houses. Pamela becomes a victim of sexual harassment of Mr. B., her new employer. It is known that the author uses a special style of writing epistolary form, which helps the readers to better evaluate the situation and to analyze the character of Pamela in a proper way. In Richardson’s epistolary novel the plot is developed through the use of different letters and journal entries written by the main character. These letters help to gain insight into the character’s nature, and to analyze her thoughts and feelings. The letters help to reveal that in Bedfordshire, the main character Pamela Andrews is psychologically aware of suppressed emotions and tensions which are social and sexual, while on Lincolnshire, it is clear that  her psyche reveals tensions which are more moral and spiritual (Myer 21). Samuel Richardson portrays his main character as the model woman who tries to maintain her morality despite her protests against sexual temptations and advances from her master. A young girl’s behavior and morality help her to solve many problems and to succeed in her life.

Pamela’s character attracts attention of the readers due to such traits as self-confidence, persistence, courage, love and respect for the dearest people. Pamela is represented as a devoted and most dutiful daughter to her poor parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, to whom the girl regularly writes letters (Richardson 21). Pamela’s parents had enormous impact on the girl’s moral formation due to which she protects her purity as she can. For example, in the Letter 1, Pamela tells her parents about the changes that took place in the house of her masters and about her grief. She writes, I have great Trouble, and some Comfort, to acquaint you with. The Trouble is that my good Lady died of the Illness I mention’d to you, and left us all much griev’d for her Loss (Richardson 23). It is clear that Pamela is an educated young girl who takes care of her parents, as she writes them regularly. Moreover, she had respect and love for her good Lady. Besides, her letters give an opportunity to understand that she is a religious person who loves God and follows the key Commandments of God. For example, she often uses such phrase in her letters as God bless Him/Her! (Richardeon 36).

It is known that Pamela resists her powerful young master Mr. B. through the long period of time.  She witnesses his aggression toward her, tries not to capitulate to his assaults and his later tenderness. Samuel Richardson describes Pamela’s behavior, her feelings and her thoughts. It is clear that Pamela needs some time to realize that she loves Mr. B. Soon, they marry and Pamela becomes a Lady. Die to her virtue and honesty, the young girl managed to avoid seduction and soon she was rewarded by marriage. Although some critics consider that Pamela’ story is a story of a servant girl who decided to climb the ladder of social class, it is a wrong opinion (Myer 29). It is known that the major goal of Samuel Richardson was to give practical examples, worthy to be followed in the most critical and affecting cases, by the virgin, the bride, and the wife (Richardson 31). Pamela is portrayed not only as a good daughter too her parents, but also as a true and reliable servant, and later as a loving wife. In the second part of the novel, the author praises Pamela’s positive qualities, such as benevolence and generosity. Her husband, Mr. B. highly values all these qualities, as he proposed Pamela to marry him. When he found her entries in the journal and read them, he discovered her tenderness and true feelings toward him.  Pamela is an honest and kind person who deserves love and respect (Myer 51).


In conclusion, it is necessary to say that Pamela is represented as a courageous character in the novel who tries to follow her principles and protect her honor and virtue. The novel Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded, which discusses the inequalities of status and power, proves the fact that virtue is always rewarded.

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