Bridgerton: what we can learn from the Regency drama

Credit: Netflix

By Ruth Williams

Having happily immersed myself in the sanctity of Bridgerton over the weekend, I now feel a huge void and impatience as I await the new series. What will happen sooner – the return to normality or the release of Series Two? Only time will tell.

Whilst Chris Van Dusen’s Regency drama offers his audience the perfect amount of escapism, the show is an exploration of two notions that society cannot avoid in the current climate: the relationship between entrapment and choice.

Viewers need look no further than to the shows main protagonists – Daphne Bridgeton and the Duke of Hastings.

Whilst the Duke perceives the inheritance of his father’s title as a form of entrapment, he ironically restricts himself further in his choice to vow never to have children and to let the Hastings line die with him. In trying to retrieve a sense of control and choice over his own life, it leads to the tribulations he endures consequently.

Daphne Bridgerton faces a similar struggle in being the first born daughter of the Bridgerton family. Daphne’s marriage prospects are vital in paving future opportunities of status for the family, particularly her sisters. Her brother Anthony’s control over determining a respectable suitor for Daphne, leads her to fabricate a false relationship with the Duke of Hastings.

In a bid to regain choice, in an already restrictive situation, Daphne’s affiliation with the Duke will make her more desirable to potential suitors, whilst undermining her brother’s authority over the matter.

Anthony himself has chosen not to marry, but has entrapped himself in a liaison that he is unable to pursue officially, due to his position as eldest son in a fatherless household. In choosing not to succumb to societal expectations of marriage, he forfeits any future security with Siena.

If we look at Lady Whistledown, she herself is only free to reveal town gossip and information because of her anonymity. Never able to receive the accreditation of the town, Lady Whistledown conceals her identity to ensure the integrity of her writing. The author of the column has entrapped herself to her penname in order to have the freedom and power her writing creates.

Whether we look to Marina Thompson and her pregnancy, or the relationship of Archibald and Portia Featherington, restriction and control are themes that trouble all in the Bridgerton drama. Perhaps it will teach its viewers to assess our own accountability, in what we are entrapped in and how our choices can lead to being more limited than we ever were to begin with. Bridgerton forces its viewers to explore whether society entraps us or if we are the masters of our own fate.