Sarah Haggerty



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Is a woman only considered a woman when she is owned by a man? How does the relationship between father and daughter shape the way a woman is seen or treated in medieval society? This project examines the Old English version of Apollonius of Tyre, a rare example of secular 11th century prose, as translated by Benjamin Thorpe. Apollonius of Tyre deals with three different familial relationships and the various ways that the fathers as both leaders of the house, and royal officials treat their daughters as property that they own. From one daughter having basic freedoms such as being allowed to speak in public, to another daughter being caught in a non-consensual incestuous relationship, it is possible to see how a father’s relationship to their daughter can influence the status level a woman can achieve in her life during this time. Women often had strict roles to play as part of the patriarchy during medieval times, and this text allows us to see that relationships between father and daughter that allowed more expression instead of control resulted in healthier relationships. These relationships then allowed women to interact with others where they were separated from the one who attempted to own their every move. Relationships where the father maintains ownership of the daughter end up influencing their status in life and keep them in lower status levels, as a way to keep women in lower standing than their male counterparts. Apollonius of Tyre shows how women can achieve more with their lives when they do not have every aspect of their lives controlled by their father.

Course: English 415 – Seminar in Literature

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Medieval, family relationship, ownership, father/daughter, patriarchy


English Language and Literature | Medieval Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Presented at the Winter 2020 Virtual UNDergraduate Showcase, Grand Forks, ND, December 10, 2020.

From a Non-Consensual Incestuous Relationship to a Promotion to Priestess: The Way That a Father Controls Their Daughter Determines the Status Level That a Woman Can Hold in <i>Apollonius of Tyre</i>