The Art of Loving: Female Subjectivity and Male Discursive Traditions in Shakespeare's Tragedies

Portada
University of Delaware Press, 1992 - 153 pàgines
To be a subject is to be able to speak, to give meaning. The Art of Loving interrogates the phenomenon of "theatrical subjectivity"--female protagonists as both subjects and objects on the early modern English stage and within the illusion of Shakespeare's tragedies. The disparity between females as acting, speaking subjects onstage and male protagonists' objectifications of them constitutes the dominating gendered irony of the dramatic texts.
In Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Antony and Cleopatra, Professor Gajowski argues, women are not portrayed as they are valued by men. Endowed with a self-estimation that is independent of masculine estimations of them, Juliet, Desdemona, and Cleopatra subvert Petrarchan, Ovidian, and Orientalist discursive traditions by which males construct females as gendered, colonized others. The independence of their self-evaluation from conflicting male desire and repugnance for them accounts for their "infinite variety." The uniqueness of Shakespeare's representation of heterosexual relations is his creation of female protagonists who are relational, yet independent, human beings.
The empowered female protagonists of Shakespeare's comedies are rightly celebrated by "compensatory" feminist critics; the disempowered--even victimized--female protagonists of his tragedies are rightly noted by "justificatory" feminist critics. To view the marriages of the comic females as nothing more than submissions to patriarchy, Professor Gajowski contends, is to ignore the crucial significance in Shakespeare's texts of affiliative capacities of both sexes of the human animal. Accordingly, to view the deaths of the tragic females as victimizations by patriarchy--and no more than that--is to ignore the commentary that Shakespeare's texts make upon masculine impulses of possession, politics, and power.
While feminist critics recognize the significance of dramatic representations of sexuality and affective relations, recent materialist/historicist studies consider representations of sexuality and affective relations significant only insofar as they are relevant to the manipulations of Elizabethan and Jacobean political power and mechanisms of economic exchange. The privileging of politics and power on the part of these critics constitutes a perpetuation and reinforcement of patriarchal values. It has the effect of putting woman in her customary place: marginalized, erased, subservient to the newly dominant male discursive traditions. It is antithetical, moreover, to a genuinely feminist discourse because it deprivileges relationships, denying the power that they play in cultures and in texts. It is the difference between proclaiming, Creon-like, that families are subservient to the state and comprehending the far more complex psychosocial truth that the state is constituted of families. To assume that structures of political and economic power have greater value than sexual and affective experience is to ignore the interpenetrating nature of public and private experience that Shakespeare's texts depict.

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Continguts

Intersections of Genre and Gender in Shakespeares Love Tragedies
15
Romeo and Juliet Female Subjectivity and the Petrarchan Discursive Tradition
26
Othello Female Subjectivity and the Ovidian Discursive Tradition
51
Antony and Cleopatra Female Subjectivity and Orientalism
86
Human Affiliation and the Wedge of Gender
120
Notes
127
Works Cited
138
Index
145
Copyright

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Passatges populars

Pàgina 35 - But, soft ! what light through yonder window breaks ? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun ! — Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she...
Pàgina 91 - The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, Burn'd on the water ; the poop was beaten gold, Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were love-sick with them, the oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beat to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes.
Pàgina 55 - My story being done, She gave me for my pains a world of sighs ; She swore, — In faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange ; 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful...
Pàgina 47 - If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, My dreams presage some joyful news at hand : My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne, And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
Pàgina 49 - O my love! my wife! Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath. Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty: Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there.
Pàgina 73 - And to his honours, and his valiant parts, Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. So that, dear lords, if I be left behind, A moth of peace, and he go to the war, The...
Pàgina 67 - Farewell the tranquil mind ! farewell content ! Farewell the plumed troops, and the big wars, That make ambition virtue ! O, farewell ! Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, The royal banner ; and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war ! And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit, Farewell ! Othello's occupation's gone ! lago.
Pàgina 115 - My desolation does begin to make A better life : Tis paltry to be Caesar; Not being fortune, he's but fortune's knave, A minister of her will ; And it is great To do that thing that ends all other deeds ; Which shackles accidents, and bolts up change; Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung, The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.
Pàgina 36 - Tis but thy name that is my enemy ; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague ? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man.
Pàgina 29 - Here's much to do with hate, but more with love : — Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate ! O any thing, of nothing first create ! O heavy lightness ! serious vanity ! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms ! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health ! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is ! — This love feel I, that feel no love in this.

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