The Female Hero in English Renaissance Tragedy by L. Hopkins

By L. Hopkins

This ebook specializes in woman tragic heroes in England from c.1610 to c.1645. Their unexpected visual appeal could be associated with altering principles in regards to the relationships among our bodies and souls; men's our bodies and women's; marriage and mothering; the legislation; and faith. even though the majority of those characters are in the direction of villainesses than heroines, those performs, via exhibiting how misogyny affected the lives in their vital characters, didn't in basic terms replicate their tradition, but in addition replaced it.

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Moreover, art and artifice do not inhabit the play only in this most obvious example of this presence, but increasingly pervade its later stages. 54 In its consciously shifting generic allegiances, Women Beware Women becomes not only a public staging of the effects of art, but also, increasingly, a sustained reflection upon art, and especially upon art in its relationship to its complementary pole of nature. 55 The turning point in this process is undoubtedly Bianca's visit to an actual art gallery, the private collection of paintings and statues in which her seduction (or perhaps one should more properly term it a rape) takes place.

The king had little time for his wife or even for Elizabeth, his clever, lively daughter; now the door to the Privy Chamber was open only to attractive young men, and a woman like Lady Anne Clifford, struggling for her estates against the patriarchal imperatives of her husband and uncle, found no support from the king. The dominant celebratory images of women produced in this period were all of dead women - the tombs in Westminster Abbey of Elizabeth I, of James's mother Mary, and of his two infant daughters Anne and Sophia - and while masques continued to glorify (in an arguably qualified way) the queen, Anne of Denmark, the characteristic image of women at court in Jacobean drama is of beleaguered creatures, judged only in terms of their appearance and sexuality, and beset by temptations on all sides.

And in the absence of the discipline and control exerted by the father, the mother runs rife, with disastrous consequences for both herself and her offspring. One of the most striking aspects of Livia's character and actions is that her 'crimes' are neither for her own profit nor, in one sense, obviously intended to harm her victims. If the old test of cui bono (to whose benefit do the events work) were to be applied, it would prove impossible to pinpoint Livia as the source of the mischief: what has she to gain from the affairs either of Isabella and Hippolito or Bianca and the Duke?

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