Study Guide

Clarissa Lust

By Samuel Richardson

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Is it hot in here or is just us? Lovelace single-handedly cranks up the radiator with his passion for Clarissa. While everyone else in Clarissaseems pretty adept at keeping their lusty feelings in check, Lovelace doesn't really bother keeping it under wraps. Let's just say that the guy could use a cold shower.

Of course, Clarissa is the main object of Lovelace's lust. While he's hot to trot, she'd just rather not. It's not that simple, though: Lovelace is free to carry on a never-ending bachelor party without major consequences, whereas Clarissa's marked as a ruined woman as soon as she climbs in his carriage. Life isn't kind to a lusty lady in Clarissa's day. The million-dollar question is whether Richardson is critiquing the double standard or buying into it.

Questions About Lust

  1. Does Clarissa ever acknowledge lust or romantic feelings for Lovelace, or is it just a one-sided kind of deal?
  2. Why does Lovelace find Clarissa so appealing? Can we tell if he's attracted to a particular type?
  3. Does Lovelace ever experience real repercussions for his lust before the Clarissa incident? How is his reputation affected?
  4. Is it Lovelace's lust that drives him to harm Clarissa, or is it something else? In other words, is this really about sex, or could it be about power?

Chew on This

Lovelace's sex obsession is the result of some serious insecurity issues with women.

While Lovelace's lust for Clarissa is replaced by respect, he's never truly able to love her in a way that would result in a happy marriage.

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