I would say that Beauplaisir is most in control of the relationship in “Fantomina,” although he is unaware of his power throughout the story. To start, he is completely in control of their first interactions, both at the playhouse and afterwards at the lodgings Fantomina secures for them. He approaches her in the playhouse and strikes up a conversation. He initiates the first amorous encounter, indeed, he forces her, not noticing her distress at the “ruinous ecstasy” (2569). Beauplaisir is in complete control of the first encounter and continues to sets the date and time of his next visit, and all subsequent visits. Beauplaisir is the one who grows tired and decides to leave for Bath, whereas Fantomina, having “easily perceived his coldness” (2572), devises her plan to follow him hence only in response to his action. When Fantomina changes her guise to Clara, the housemaid, she once again is under Beauplaisir’s power, waiting on him to initiate the “more substantial joys” (2573) that “the lady” is sure will come. As the widowed Mrs. Bloomberg, “the lady” once again throws herself on the unsuspecting Beauplaisir, who could have just as easily refused her access to his carriage as granted it, or withheld from making any amorous advances on her and “Mrs. Bloomberg” would have been completely foiled in her plan. Even as the “Incognita” at the end of the story, the lady relies on Beauplaisir to both accept her proposal and her insistence on wearing the mask.
In every situation in “Fantomina,” the lady is completely reliant on Beauplaisir to get what she wants, whether it be the satisfaction of her curiosity or the sating of her lust. He is in control because it is his action which always changes the dynamic of their relationship. He is both the one who initiates the amorous advance and the one who grows tired and leaves, causing the lady to scramble again to think up a new device to attract him to her. Although the lady might think herself in control of the relationship, since she has kept Beauplaisir coming back to the same woman without knowing it, she is in truth completely powerless in every situation they are in. Should Beauplaisir not have made advances to her in any one of her disguises, the lady would have been completely helpless to do anything about it. She is dependent on the whims and desires of Beauplaisir, and that is why I think he has the most power in the relationship.