Samuel Richardson writes in the Preface of Pamela; Or Virtue Rewarded that the novel’s main purpose lies in its ability “to give practical examples, worthy to be followed in the most critical and affecting cases, by the virgin, the bride, and the wife” (Richardson, 31). I would argue that underneath Richardson’s seemingly innocent novel of moral instruction lies a political instruction book for advancing the middle class. As a member of the middle class,
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novel to show that the middle class can gain social and political promotion through rebellion.
In the novel Pamela, Richardson equates the middle class with honor and virtue and the aristocrats with wickedness and immorality in order to pursue his political beliefs. As one of the world’s most popular novels ever written, Pamela sets the precursor for the French Revolutionary War, which eventually leads to a class system based on merit and not birth.