Love as a political allegory for survival – the beauty of Bridgerton

Bridgerton, as often mentioned by its superb cast and creators is all things grand and colorful. Through the long corridors, avid conversations, and larger-than-life dances one gets an idea of the British Regency period. Although the lineage of incidents throughout the series is mainly fictional, it still constructs vast elements of reality within itself. One could only imagine the position of women in society in 19th-century England. In essence, the series however brings a lot more to imagination than one can think of.

What is love, and why is it political? – Bridgerton

At the onset, the series adopts a significantly male-dominated tone. It is to suggest the patriarchal notions of power and economy, essential to dictate the social order. Eloise Bridgerton, one of the younger siblings serves as a mirror to the otherwise accepted norms of exchange throughout the series. Eloise questions it all. Be her inquiries about the essentiality of a marriage or the extent of the true nature of a woman’s liberty.

A Summary of Bridgerton

Bridgerton begins at the edge of a rupturing entry into youth and womanhood. “The marriage season” is marked by the introduction of many of the capital’s finest young ladies to the eyes of society and most importantly, to her majesty ‘The Queen’. At her Majesty’s quick wit and disposition, the “diamond of the season” is brought forth for everyone to marvel at. The lady deemed as the Queen’s diamond finds herself the most desirable. The most distinguished host of suitors is quick to flock for her hand in marriage.

Her Majesty 'The Queen' in Bridgerton
Her Majesty ‘The Queen’ in Bridgerton

It is at the onset of this very season that Daphne Bridgerton receives her introduction to formal society. Contrary to her sister Eloise, Daphne is keen to find a suitable husband with whom she can bear children. Neither wealth nor beauty can secure her position as the season’s diamond, amidst the reigning uncertainty of youth and the absence of a father figure in the family. It is thus with such understanding that Anthony Bridgerton (Daphne’s eldest brother) adheres to the role of the family’s reigning patriarch.

In progression …

To keep the glaring eyes and the discomfort of being courted by a host of unworthy suitors at bay, Daphne decides to accompany the Duke of Hastings. Simon (aka the Duke) agrees to the settlement for it saves him too of the trouble of marriage. Simon, owing to the hardships of his childhood is averse to the idea of making a family for himself. Despite his reluctance, his friendship with Daphne grows fonder.

Daphne and Simon begin courting each other in Bridgerton
Daphne and Simon begin courting each other

It is at this point onward that one is introduced to the actual plight of women in Regent English society and the lengths they must go, to secure their position. A love match is oftentimes fantasized by the books they read and the people they meet, but times more than often her ladyship is oblivious to reality. The masculine in Bridgerton is enlightened, sexualized, and powerful signifying qualities that the feminine can derive from but never be. It is therefore in the interest of the woman to marry into wealth and reputation. Her own identity is derived from the same.

A case in the making – Bridgerton

Through the looks of it, Bridgerton should have been like any other period drama with a certain degree of narrative obviousness. The distinctive character of this period drama is lent however by the overarching voice of Lady Whistledown. It is through her records and the faceless voiceover of Julie Andrews that one gets acquainted with the episodes concerning each household. Although the identity of Lady Whistledown lies far from public knowledge, her pen yields power enough to make or break one’s place and reputation in society. The larger-than-life presence of this character ascertains an acute level of cognition and self-awareness. The feminine although secondary to the patriarchal establishment, is neither ignorant nor blinded. Only by fulfilling the role expected of her, shall she be deemed a position worthy of reckoning.

Eloise and Penelope in Bridgerton
Eloise and Penelope in Bridgerton

Whistledown, although impactful with her words and observations reduces to be a mere gossip-monger. Eloise Bridgerton, on the other hand, negates the established scenario that continues to plague the liberties of women. Eloise, unlike her sisters, is perpetually dissatisfied and oftentimes opposed to the idea of social and formal gatherings. She is quick to identify the freedoms that her brothers enjoy, serving as an antidote to this overarching narrator.

The idea of love is indefinitely explored throughout the series as one capable of serving feminine ideals. It is sought through the ‘Queen’ herself, who married into a different race, thus giving due recognition to those after her. Such is evident as well, in the words of Lady Danbury, Lady Bridgerton, as well as Daphne who idolize love to the extent that it can liberate them, and quite rightly so.

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