Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 18 – And Art Thou Male or Female?

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So this is kind of a big deal, as episodes go, because this is the first episode for which the topic has been determined via an outside suggestion. You’ll recall, back in Episode 14, before we got to talking about New Project Britannia, we gave a shout-out to Juliet (a friend of Linguistic Dragon), who sent in a great suggestion: she asked if we’d consider doing an episode on how the Ultima series handled the subject(s?) of masculinity and femininity, and how these are explored in different characters and/or the Virtues.

At least at first glance, it would seem that the Eight Virtues of the Ultima series could be divided along these lines. On the side of the masculine/active/outward-directed, we could probably array such virtues as Valor, Honor, Justice, and Sacrifice. Meanwhile, on the feminine/passive/inward-directed side, we could line up Compassion, Honesty, Spirituality, and Humility. Again, this is just an at first glance thing; the Virtues do split evenly into these framing categories, and then easily; we really don’t have to think about it that much.

But of course it’s not that simple, is it? Looking at the Companions, especially, we see that there’s a good representation of the Virtues among both genders, including e.g. a male companion being the embodiment of Compassion, and a female companion being the embodiment of Justice. But are there differences there, too? Does, say, sacrifice as demonstrated by a man manifest in different ways than it does as demonstrated by a woman, in the series?

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