The Downfall of Inheritance

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The Downfall of Inheritance

The Story of Isabella

The story of Isabella consisted on one inheritance and ultimately having to make one decision to determine its placement at such a very young age. Age definitely played a role in the young woman’s downfall throughout the novel. Isabella’s father gave her a choice of becoming a nun, in which the money would be in the possession of her aunt who owns the nunnery to which she would be enrolled or she would marry and be like every other woman in her society and receive the inheritance herself in order to find a noble man of her choosing. All of this responsibility at the age of 13. This is shown when her father is speaking about it to his siter, Lady Abbess,”if, at the Age of Thirteen, Isabella had not a mind to take Orders, or that the Lady Abbess found her Inclination averse to a Monastick Life, she should have such a proportion of the Revenue, as should be fit to marry her to a Noble Man, and left it to the discretion of the Lady Abbess (Behn 10).

Isabella’s aunt, Lady Abbess wanted her to become a nun, that way she would have the opportunity and access to her inheritance to utterly do whatever she pleases. She made the nunnery experience amazing in the eyes of a 13 year old girl. Isabella was taught to sing and dance which at the age of 13, she was so good at it and received such praise that she could entertain people of an older audience and even an international one. Lady Abbess “was not a little proud of the Excellencies and Virtues of her fair Niece, and omitted nothing that might adorn her Mind; because, not only of the vastness of her Parts and Fame, and the Credit she would do her House, by residing there forever” (Behn 12). This was her way of ensuring that Isabella would decide to become a nun and reside in the convent with her aunt.

Isabella had originally chosen to become a nun but then a charming young man changed her mind. Henault was a noble man that came from a noble family. She had been tempted by many men but she never gave in but Henault was different. She had fallen in love with him and this was a problem for the aunt for if Isabella ran off with the lad, then she would have to turn over Isabella’s inheritance. Isabella was described to have “stolen” her inheritance away from her aunt while fleeing the nunnery. Age played a large role in her downfall because now she was shamed for her actions in running off with a man and breaking her vows to God.

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