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Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Key Reads


Punishment in Haywood’s Novel, Love in Excess

Punishment for your transgressions

By Alexandra Rosen

Punishment for Your Actions


According to Eliza Haywood’s extremely theatrical novel, Love in Excess, there are only three results of women’s actions. Two forms of punishment for transgressions and one reward for good behavior. Although sometimes the reward is a punishment in disguise.

Punishment, as we all know, is supposed to hurt, physically or mentally. Well, Amena did not get physical pain, but she was sent off to a monastery as punishment for her clandestine transgressions. She may have been the one wronged by Count D’elmont, but she nearly caved to his advances without having gotten a marriage proposal. Tsk tsk. Alovysa thought she was being rewarded for her transgressive nature, but alas, all her scheming and treachery (it was her idea for Amena to take up the habit) led to her demise. Alovysa may have gotten the guy, but it was only a temporary and false bliss. Her marriage to *le gasp* D’elmont is only happy for about a month until he meets…Melliora.

Then Alovysa gets her punishment for creating a big mess (partial-spoiler alert!): She gets run through by D’elmont’s sword when she tries to finagle her way out of sleeping with D’elmont’s frenemy, the Baron. However, he gets his comeuppance too, when Melliora’s brother mortally wounds him.

Last one for today, I promise: we see Melantha happily married after tricking D’elmont into sleeping with her. She manages to get married to a guy who, apparently, does not realize that babies take nine months, not a mere seven to be full term. Nevertheless, I am sure her husband deserved to be landed with another person’s kid for some reason or another, right? Because the moral of Love in Excess is, you should never ever transgress against someone of your same sex. Because as Coach Carr warns “you will get [insert terrible punishment here], and die.”

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