Matthew Faulkner October 1, 2014
Steven Ozment's The BÃÂ¼rgermeister's Daughter offers a firsthand account of a middle class woman's personal quest for justice and equity amongst a society that places firm restrictions on gender roles and classification during sixteenth century Europe. In this account, Ozment explores the life of Anna BÃÂ¼schler and her fight against deceit, tyranny, and exploitation that Europe's legal system and her father placed on her throughout her scandalous affair in her mid-twenties. (Ozment, 5)
The portrayal of familiarization was an important aspect that is used in this account to paint a vivid depiction of what an ordinary life consisted of during the Middle Ages. (Ozment, 8) With the concept of reformation erupting across Europe, different policies placed greater limitations on social aspects and triggered chaotic behavior amidst the development of cultural facets during this time. Prior to the reformation, women were given the freedom to express their educational and civic autonomy amongst society and were able to contribute to its growth; however, during the sixteenth century the expansion of marriage suppressed women back into their homes making them depend on their husbands to survive.
(Ozment, 5) During this era, unmarried women were thought of as the inferior sex because it meant that their dowry was not appealing to any man or that she was considered a prostitute. (Ozment, 188) As we see in Anna's case, many people felt that her affairs with the two men presented itself as an act of prostitution, but in reality it was her father's fault for not arranging a proper marriage in the end. Anna's father wanted to use her marriage proposal as a way to catapult them both into a higher social standpoint in the economy. (Ozment, 45) The clash of social status aides into the decision...