by Giz TimesJune 4, 2015


(Written in 1852, Published in 1958)

Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Hecuba of Troy. Apollo gave her the power of prophecy in order to seduce her, but when she refused, she was cursed for never to be believed. Florence Nightingale uses Cassandra as metaphor for the helplessness of women that she attributes to over-feminization.

  1. Landow: Florence Nightingale denies societal restrictions on female interpretations by making such interpretations in the first place, and she makes them specifically those of the female sage by aggressively reinterpreting the commonplaces of male-centred biblical and classical interpretation.
  2. Laura Monros Gasper:
  • The essay CASSANDRA not only reflects upon gender equality, it also represents a powerful tool for Nightingale to express her concerns about her own future and lack of occupation.
  • A fierce opponent of the full development of women is then: ‘the conventional society, which men have made for women, and women have accepted’
Cassandra by Florence Nightingale

Cassandra by Florence Nightingale

  1. Erasmus Darwin: in A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools (1797) talks about how women of his time should talk, behave and what should they wear to win social endorsement.
  2. Sarah Stickney Ellis: in The Woman of England (1839) says that a woman should converse and talk whatever her man is interested in and wants to hear.
  3. Florence Nightingale:
  • But why, oh my God, cannot I be satisfied with the life which satisfies so many people?
  • This system (male and female sphere) dooms some minds to incurable infancy, others to silent misery.
  • In a private note written in December1850, Nightingale writes about how she wishes to die for she has been confined and oppressed.
  • I think He has as clearly marked out some to be single women as He has others to be wives, and has organized them accordingly for their vocation. – On marriage
  • Letter to her Aunt Hannah Nicholson in 1848 – The rich Insane, & especially the female part, are I believe, much worse off than the poor in that way—& have consequently less chance of happiness & of recovery.
  • The Next Christ will perhaps be a female
  1. Benjamin Jowett: In his letters to Nightingale he often addresses her as ‘ My Dear Cassandra.’
  2. Greg: In his political text Rocks Ahead or The Warnings of Cassandra (1874) – The part of Cassandra can never be a pleasant one for any man to play. It makes others uncomfortable and himself unpopular.
  3. Karala Araya Araya : Why the narrator refuses to reveal Mrs. A’s full name?, why is she named as A?, and/or why is she not a Murillo?
  4. Ruth Y. Jenkins: In “Cassandra” Nightingale exposes not only women’s desires for alternative lifestyles but also the impossibility, in the dynamics of her culture.
  5. Mark Bostridge: CASSANDRA is a ferocious attack on the most sacred of Victorian institution: The family.
  6. Virginia Woolf: CASSANDRA is more of a screaming than writing.
  7. JS Mill: CASSANDRA is a depiction of family as an instrument of Tyranny.

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