what a raging woman could do
Arabella is having an internal monologue, expressing that she will unleash her wrath should Lord Rufford refuse her. The idea of the dangerous power of a woman scorned in love, as well as the consequences of her resultant anger, echoes the earlier association of Arabella with Medea (see commentary for Chapter 13). In Euripides’ Medea, the nurse wonders aloud what Medea’s proud soul will drive her to do following her injury at the hand of Jason. [CMC 2012]
There may also be an Ovidian source behind this sentiment. In her Memoirs (published in 1825), C. E. Cary describes an irate landlady thus: “She raged, she stormed, and it being well known, as Ovid says, ‘what a raging woman could—‘….” Although Cary does not provide a citation, the closest fit for the quotation is a passage in which Deineira imagines avenging herself when the affections of Hercules, her husband, stray.
Sources: Euripides, Medea 105-110.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.149-151.
C. E. Cary, Memoirs of Miss C. E. Cary (Written by Herself). London: T. Traveller, 1825, p. 223.