Ah, the afterthought, women, "but innocent and pure..."
Are women not generally "innocent and pure"?
The line is uttered by Shakespeare's good guy in the Tempest, Gonzalo, a foil to the evil Alonso:
....adviser to King Alonso of Naples. Gonzalo is a kind and charitable, if ineffectual, figure who is a foil to the cynical villainy of Antonio, Duke of Milan, his master's ally. Gonzalo's goodness is an important element in the play. He persistently takes a generous and optimistic point of view, as in his fantasy of an ideal society ... At the play's close, when Prospero’s schemes result in a final reconciliation and the seemingly miraculous restoration of the king's son, Ferdinand, it is the ageing adviser—called by Prospero 'Holy Gonzalo, honourable man' ... as the king's ship sinks, Gonzalo's calm acceptance of fate contrasts with Antonio's arrogant fury and helps establish our sense of the moral polarities with which the play is concerned... we learn that Alonso assisted Antonio in deposing his brother, Prospero, and abandoning him and his infant daughter Miranda at sea, but that Gonzalo helped the victims by providing them with supplies. The contrast between Antonio and Gonzalo remains throughout the play... Gonzalo is mocked by Antonio and Sebastian for his attempts to cheer the king, and Antonio proposes to kill Gonzalo along with Alonso in his scheme to place Alonso's brother Sebastian on the throne of Naples. At the close Gonzalo's hearty participation in the aura of reconciliation points up Antonio's refusal to accept it.
Damn the man! Written into our damned patriarchal culture by a line in a play of fantasy.
Innocence is overrated. Likewise, purity.
What innocence amounts to is gullibility, naiveté, praised as a sublime virtue. Most likely, submission, obedience, to a user, an exploiter.
Women, children, innocent, gullible, malleable, exploitable in their sweet ignorance. Also, valuable as commodities.
A poem mourns the loss of innocence:
Curiosity grows ...Curiosity is the mother of survival. Innocence, so-called "purity" is a gimmick, a commodity that can be sold to the highest bidder, an "innocent and pure" six-year-old girl can be traded as easily as a sheep or a cow:
Temptation breaks all resistance
Dark discoveries flood in
Innocence swept away
Sinful satisfaction ...
Curiosity laughs, temptation has won
... sin remains
Innocence is dead...
"I had to sell my six-year-old daughter Naghma to a relative to settle an old debt," Mr Mohammad says, staring blankly at the tattered tarpaulin roof of his small mud shelter.Because we were not curious, because we were gullible, stupid, and we swallowed whole the lies of the exploiters, the users, the unholy purveyors of war, aided by religion which praises ignorance and blind belief over curiosity and discovery. and disclosure. Knowledge is dangerous in the eyes of religios and the warmongers.
A shy girl with a smiling face, Naghma is now engaged to a boy 10 years older than her. Mr Mohammad says his daughter may have to leave for the boy's home in Helmand's Sangin district in a year..... "To keep my family alive, I took a loan of $2,500 [about £1,600] from a distant relative," Mr Mohammad says.
Years of war and poverty forced Mr Mohammad to leave his home in the southern province of Helmand and take refuge in Qambar's mud shelters.
And innocent little Naghma is just another one of the spoils of war.