37 pages 1 hour read

Daniel Defoe

Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1724

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Character Analysis


“Tall, and very well made” (6), Roxana is attractive and her beauty gives her currency in a patriarchal world that rewards it. By the time Roxana gets to Paris, the Prince praises her as “the finest woman in France,” a compliment which makes her “foolishly in Love with myself” (62). Even in older age, after multiple childbirths and sufficient weight gain, Roxana feels herself “a Fish out of Water” (214) outside of the admiring and lascivious male gaze. Defoe’s Writer insists on Roxana being a “Beautiful Lady” (1) in his preface, and while Roxana is able to get away with the appearance of beauty, virtue, and high breeding, she is able to do as she wishes.

Although Roxana, the daughter of French Huguenots, spent the first ten years of her life in France and speaks fluent French, she insists on her Englishness: “I learnt the English Tongue perfectly well, with all the Customs of the English Young-Women; so that I retained nothing of the French, but the Speech” (6). After spending some years abroad, following her journey to Paris with the Landlord and taking up with the foreign Prince, she longs to be “among my Countryfolks” (111) in England and for a return to the vibrant city of London.