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Hogg's Three Perils of Woman, published in 1823, appears to be the only nineteenth-century novel to allude to Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida. Only two of these allusions have even been pointed out, and their wider thematic significance remains unbroached in any form. Nor has anyone yet discussed the insight these allusions provide into Hogg's development as a writer.
Like Troilus and Cressida, the Perils of Woman may be divided into two related stories, one dealing with love, and the other with war. Shakespeare's play combines Troilus' near-tragic love for Cressida with the ill-fated defence of Troy - while the novel similarly combines Diarmid M'Ion's near-tragic love for Gatty, with the defeat of the Scottish Jacobites.(1) The novel differs, however, in that its two parts occupy separate halves of the work, with two separate sets of characters (one set living in the 1820s, and the other in the 1740s). Through their combination of a love-plot and a war-plot, both Shakespeare's play and Hogg's novel imply underlying parallels between the betrayal of youthful idealism in love and in war.
In the first half of the Perils of Woman, the teenaged Gatty is sent by her father to live in a part of Edinburgh inhabited by what she calls 'bad girls by profession'.(2) Later, when she thinks she is dying from some unnamed disease, Gatty mysteriously blames her …