There’s an extended historical past of rape, “rape fantasy,” and different permutations of lack of consent within the romance style, tracing again to the early days of The Sheik (1919)—and even additional again to Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740). Publishers, adhering to the social mores of the day, as soon as believed the one manner audiences would settle for pre-marital intercourse was if the girl was compelled. The trope of the rapist who’s “reformed” by his love for the heroine and ultimately marries her grew to become as frequent as they arrive in historic romances. Because the bigger dialog round sexual assault has shifted, that trope has largely began to fall away.
The Duke and I, nonetheless, was written 20 years in the past—and it appears clear from context that what Daphne does to Simon is assault. In case you test Goodreads for reactions to the novel from modern readers, you will discover a great deal of disgust levied at this plot growth. The highest assessment, which provides the guide zero stars, reads: “why would you smash a superbly good romance with a rape scene. simply because it was a man doesn’t imply it’s not rape!!!!”
For her half, Quinn wrote very explicitly and progressively about consent all through the remainder of the Bridgerton sequence. Netflix, understandably, dealt with the scene a bit otherwise. For one, Simon is neither drunk nor asleep when his spouse does what she does. Actress Phoebe Dynevor performs it as if Daphne is plotting her transfer all via dinner. She turns into the sexual aggressor when she and her husband attain the bed room and, in a transfer acquainted to followers of season certainly one of Sport of Thrones (which has its personal points with marital rape), she pins him down. This delights him till it horrifies him. Although considerably inarticulate, Regé-Jean Web page as Simon is clearly in misery, saying thinigs akin to “wait” and “cease.”
However Daphne ignores him. She accuses him of mendacity to her and taking benefit—and so, she says, she did the identical to him. The present model of Simon clarifies that he by no means meant to mislead her, that he mistakenly thought she had discovered her birds and bees earlier than they married.
Within the guide, no less than, Daphne recriminates herself for what she’s performed. However TV Daphne stays sure that she was proper. She accuses Simon of bringing this on himself. The present’s narrator Woman Whistledown—voiced by Julie Andrews—makes her personal commentary. She is seemingly talking about one other character in a voiceover performed whereas footage of a forlorn Simon and Daphne performs: “Determined instances could name for determined measures, however I’d wager many might imagine her actions past they pale. Maybe she thought it her solely choice. Or maybe she is aware of no disgrace. However I ask you, might the ends ever justify such wretched means?”
Bridgerton makes an attempt to sidestep tackling this poisonous plot level by asking a query it by no means intends to reply. It’s a misstep for a sequence making an attempt to offer frothy, addictive vacation leisure that places feminine need entrance and middle.
TV Daphne by no means apologizes for making the most of her husband, and the pair rapidly grow to be embroiled in making an attempt to assist the remainder of Daphne’s household escape one other scandal. As they battle to search out their manner again to one another—and he or she hopes for a being pregnant that may compel him to remain by her aspect—she continues to accuse Simon of mendacity to her. She’s satisfied that he should not let his father’s toxicity infect his present happiness. And he or she is correct on that entrance! However she by no means reckons with the violating habits she dedicated on her manner in direction of her comfortable ending—which, sure, ultimately includes having youngsters together with her Duke.