The Ethical Justine and the Violent Juliette in Angela Carter’s “The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History”


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“The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History” is Angela Carter’s non-fictional work. It consists of a historical and cultural analysis of Le Marquis de Sade’s "Justine or The Misfortunes of Virtue", and "Juliette or The Prosperities of Vice". The book exhibits the lives of two antithetical sisters: the virtuous Justine versus the vicious Juliette.
The ethical Justine strives to preserve her virtue after the death of her parents. As a reward, she submits to violence, torture, rape, and accusations. Even though the law has been unjust to Justine, she refuses to commit a transgression. With regards to Juliette, she inflicts suffering and commits violence against humanity in order to make her own fortune. She is a libertine who follows her sexual and material gain at the expense of ethics.
Contrary to Justine, who is a martyrized female, Juliette is the source of all criminal acts. She does not submit to the law. She is in dishonest complicity with the lawmakers, who provide her with unjustified lawful protection. Justine’s attachment to her moral virtue ends with her death, while Juliette’s corrupt mind provides her with a successful career within a discriminatory world in which violence supersedes ethics.