by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Criminality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
[…] in short, I committed adultery and incest with him every day in my desires, which, without doubt, was as effectually criminal in the nature of the guilt as if I had actually done it… (226)
Moll raises an important point here about the distinctions between criminal thoughts and criminal actions. Obviously the outcome of thinking about stealing and the outcome of stealing itself are two very different things. But can the same be said about adultery? What about incest?
But it is none of my talent to preach; these men were too wicked, even for me. There was something horrid and absurd in their way of sinning, for it was all a force even upon themselves; they did not only act against conscience, but against nature […] (244)
There are different classes of criminals, too, and Moll has her pride. She finds some of the people around her to be "too wicked" and clarifies that she's not as wicked as these men are, because they spend their money on whores rather than on their own families. But hey, Moll, what about your kids? Where are they?
I often reflected on myself how doubly criminal it was to deceive such a man; but that necessity, which pressed me to a settlement suitable to my condition, was my authority for it; and certainly his affection to me, and the goodness of his temper, however they might argue against using him ill, yet they strongly argued to me that he would better take the disappointment than some fiery-tempered wretch, who might have nothing to recommend him but those passions which would serve only to make a woman miserable all her days. (297)
Even though Moll thinks that what she's doing is twice as bad as usual, that doesn't stop her. Honestly, our girl can talk herself into almost anything. And because she needs this guy's money, she misleads him even more.