Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Infanticide and "A Pittilesse Mother"

This image is an image of a murderous mother from the title page of the pamphlet "A Pittilesse Mother". Within this image the mother is holding a rope around the neck of her child, while the devil aides in the action. Her other child is already dead at the foot of the bed and the devil seems to be offering ropes to the mother who actually strangles her child using her stocking. The mother, Margaret Vincent "resolved the ruin of her own children" when she allowed the Roman Catholic faith overtake her (181). Her conversion to Catholicism is marked as "the first entrance into her life's overthrow" and it is also stated that the reader should consider "how strangely the Devil here set his foot and what cunning instruments he used in his assailments" (180). This text also cites the reason for this heinous crime as an effort on the mother's part to save her children's souls from the sin and darkness of a Protestant upbringing brought about by her husband. Of course the literature of the period would seek to demonstrate what happens to those who do not follow the Protestant religion devoutly, or who move toward Catholicism which is also demonized within the pamphlet literature of the period, as demonstrated in an early posting. This pamphlet does not demonize the monstrous mother as much as other pamphlets from the period do, and this could easily be attributed to that fact that the author is too busy demonizing the Catholic religion, to pass judgment on the woman.

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