Willobie His Avisa

Subtitle

Avisa "The Bird Not Seen"

The H.W. dialog.

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The H.W. dialog.
The H.W. dialog is the climax of the book Willobie his Avisa. Scholars have traditionally interpreted this passage as describing an unsucessful attempt by H.W. to seduce Avisa. But scholars need to realize that the book has been written in Ironia. The passage is actually stating that it is Avisa who is agressively courting H.W. who is completely under her spell. The passage is intended to act as a warning to H.W. ( Henry Wriothesley) about the dangers of becoming involved with Avisa ( Penelope Rich).In this passage Avisa constantly warns H.W that she may bring shame on him and there are many references to harlots and female immorality this is surprising considering that it is supposed to be the suitors who are immoral. There is a major thematic reversal in this passage and the author instead of depicting Avisa as a victim concentrates on outlining the reasons why a relationship with Avisa would be bad for H.W. I see powerful symmetry between this particular passage and Walter Map's mysoginistic satire " A letter from Valerius to Ruffinus arguing against marriage" In that text Valerius ( Walter Map ) is trying to dissuade his melancholy friend who has " love sickness " and is blinded by and infatuated with a woman that Valerius considers to be immoral. In the H.W. dialog I belive that it is the author himself who is trying to dissuade H.W. from getting into a relationship with immoral Avisa.
Posted on November 4, 2010 Full Size| Slideshow