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The story presents us with a tale of a secret rendezvous gone wrong. A trusting and loving husband, a morally upright friend, a selfish lover, and a wife who seems to get something she lacks out of her married life from her illicit affair. All of these characters and their characteristics play an important part in the story. Even though each person, save for the husband, contributed to the tragic death of the baroness, the truth is that there is no other person to blame except the baroness. How did I come to this conclusion? Allow me to present 3 key areas wherein the baroness could have saved her own life and refused to do so because by saving herself, she would be forced to admit to, or perhaps be caught by her husband in the immoral affair she had been carrying on.
The baroness could have chosen to simply stay at home when her husband told her to. After all, her husband was a jealous man who seemed to be prone to fits of rage as evidenced by his caution of ” Do not leave the castle while I am gone, or I will punish you severely when I return.” This kind of caution makes me surmise that the baron perhaps had an inkling that his wife had taken on a lover in the town and was aware that she used his absence as an excuse to go meet the man.
The baroness had surmised that would be away till almost daylight the next day when she said “Surely my husband will not return before dawn.” Based upon that assumption, it would have been more proper for her to simply have stayed with her lover instead and try to go back home during daylight when she would be able to cross the moat with others. However, it was pretty obvious that the relationship she shared with her lover was no more than the lust for flesh because he was able to turn his back on her when she came to him for assistance. By saying ” Our relationship is only a romantic one, I will not help.” it is my opinion that he had doomed her to a failed marriage and that anything that happened to her as a consequence of the affair was of no importance to him.
Finally, I believe that her friend sealed her fate when she came to the person and asked for help but was rebuffed with the remark ” If you had not disobeyed your husband this would not have happened… I will give you no money.” I can only surmise that upon learning of the cause of her friend’s situation the friend felt no obligation to cover up for her philandering friend as such affairs were frowned upon even then by society. and therefore the friend did not wish to get involved.
I believe that she could have saved her life either by staying at home as she was ordered to by her husband or instead of borrowing money from her friend, she could have instead sought shelter for the night and asked her friend to accompany her home the next day. This would perhaps have been a more viable scenario as she could easily have explained the situation as an emergency of her friend’s that needed her presence so she risked venturing into the night with a madman on the loose.