in Barchester Towers

Chapter 33 – Mrs. Proudie Victrix


In the title of this chapter, we can see a Latin word, victrix, which means “conqueress” or “female victor.” This title refers to the unofficial war which has existed between Mrs. Proudie and Mr. Slope over the ultimate authority to govern Bishop Proudie. We can therefore infer that she has already won or is about to win this war, and will therefore effectively be ruling behind the scenes. Cited as being used in English as early as 1651 by the OED.  [MD 2005]

Sources:  OED.


Mrs. Proudie as the Medea of Barchester

This is a comparison between Mrs. Proudie and Medea from Greek mythology.  Medea fell in love with and married Jason of the Argonauts; however, after several years he wanted to marry the daughter of the King of Corinth. Medea was so enraged that she sent a fatal gift to the princess which burned her alive; Medea then proceeded to kill her own children and flee to Athens. The legendary vindictiveness and ferocity which is associated with Medea is attributed here to Mrs. Proudie, who is described as being harsh enough to eat Mr. Slope for interfering in her ecclesiastical affairs.  [MD 2005]

Sources:  Euripides, Medea.