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Margery Kempe - Overly Religious Woman

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Author Margery Kempe I believe would today be described as being 'overly religious' woman. What is fascinating about Kemp after having read her autobiography is that she was against all social codes set for medieval women. Being a rebel and eccentric she strategically found an escape that released her from the confinement of a domestic lifestyle. While her intentions for disobedience were for religious purposes, this still did not relieve her of her duties to her children and husband and she faced a great deal of criticism.

What is interesting is that although she was born to wealthy parents, she never received a formal education and could not she read or write. Having lived in an era where childbirth is conducted without today's medicine and experience, Kempe was a mother to 14 children by around 40 years old. Yet, she decides to go on a pilgrimage in pursuit for spirituality and supposedly to fulfill her unending need to serve God. She not only abandoned her children but also gave up her relationship with her husband to live a pure life in order to please the lord. There are times where I have to question her sanity, for example when she describes her spiritual experiences, during which she claims she had mystical visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The autobiography is Kempe's narrative to an unidentified priest and reveals her spiritual life and her mystical connection with Jesus but it is hard to conclude whether she was truly holy or was mentally ill. Her purpose in the end thought is to argue against the views of her male counterparts who believed that women were forbidden to preach the word of God to the world.



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