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Shakespeare and feminism: a study of four plays Clegg, Susan Irene 1994

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SHAKESPEARE AND FEMINISM: A STUDY OF FOUR PLAYS by SUSAN IRENE CLEGG B.A., The Univers i ty of Br i t i sh Columbia , 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND FILM) We accep t t h i s t h e s i s a s conforming to t h e r equ i r ed s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA F e b r u a r y 1994 © S u s a n I rene Clegg, 1994 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date V ^J^^^^^^^ / , /9fH . DE-6 (2/88) 11 ABSTRACT Few a u t h o r s of t h e Wes te rn s tage have b e e n a s tho rough ly inves t iga ted from a feminist perspec t ive a s S h a k e s p e a r e . The ideological r ange of th i s deba te is impressive indeed. It is a deba te t h a t h a s a r o u s e d e m o t i o n s a n d t h a t , u p to t h e p r e s e n t day, con t inues to genera te controversy. The first chap te r of th i s thes i s offers a critical survey of th i s d i scuss ion . Par t i cu la r e m p h a s i s is given to t h e posi t ion t a k e n by Ju l i e t Dus inbe r r e who v e n t u r e s to claim t h a t S h a k e s p e a r e is close to be ing a k ind of E l i i zabe than feminist. Chap te r s II a n d III investigate the role a n d fate of four Women en t r apped in t h e societal convent ions of a pa t r i a rcha l sys tem. Two p a r a d i g m s of behav ioura l r e s p o n s e to th i s sy s t em a re developed. Whi le Imogen a n d Rosa l ind a r e wil l ing to s t a y w i t h i n t h e b o u n d a r i e s of the i r socially acceptable roles, t h u s re ta in ing life a t t h e cos t of freedom, Ju l i e t a n d Cordelia a t t a i n only a gl impse of freedom a t t he cost of life. Dus inber re ' s claim of S h a k e s p e a r e a s a k ind of E l i z a b e t h a n feminis t i s t h u s d i s p u t e d a n d u l t ima te ly disclaimed. A detailed bibl iography on the i s sues ra ised by "Shakespeare and Feminism" concludes the thesis . I l l TABLE OF CONTENTS Abs t r ac t 11 Table of Con ten t s HI I. Feminis t Survey a n d Historical Perspective 1 Notes 3 1 II. Imogen a n d Rosalind: Life a t t he Cost of Freedom 3 6 Notes 5 3 III. Ju l i e t a n d Cordelia: Freedom a t t he Cost of Life 54 Notes 6 9 IV. Conc lus ion 70 Notes 7 5 Bibl iography 7 6 Chapter I: Feminist Survey and Historical Perspective The "Avoman problem" has a long history in the theatre, and in theatre studies. This h a s resulted in a wide variety of theories and opinions over which controversy rages up to the present day. Some critics see feminism as a movement that began in the 19th century; others base it much further back. Jul iet Dusinberre, for example, supports the idea tha t feminism, or at least feminist syrapathies, ^vere extant in Shakespeare's time, and tha t "the drama from 1590 to 1625 is feminist in sympathy."i According to he r view^, S h a k e s p e a r e a n d m a n y of h i s contemporar ies , including Heyw^ood, Middleton, J o n s o n and Webster, shared feminist sympathies, and she claims tha t their plays reflect an a^vareness of inequalities betv^een men and ^svomen. Whether or not these differences are ackno^vledged, condoned, or criticised is a question to be considered. While not openly calling Shakespeare a feminist, some critics feel t ha t h is audience influenced Avhat w^as presented in the theatre, tha t Avomen made up a large part of the audience and that Shakespeare and his felloAv playwrights reflect this in their w^ork. Shakespeare's milieu, that is, the London audience of the early 17th century, comprised "an extremely diverse group of people."2 Not only gallants and court iers , b u t t radesmen, merchants, w^orkers and artisans, even ^vlves aind children regarded thea t re as the most cur ren t and exciting form of popular entertainment. Therefore, Dusinberre argues, it w^as necessary that playwrights appeal to the widest cross-section of tas tes . She believes tha t this very diverse audience w^as sympathetic to new^ ideas about w^omen and their social context. According to her theory, audience at t i tudes had a distinct effect on pla5rwrights: "One of the important areas with which the audience w^as concerned w^as ideas about w^omen, and the dramatists could not afford not to be concerned also in a very positive ^vay. "3 Dusinberre argues that, due to the social climate of Elizabethan England ("...feminism . . . surrounded Elizabeth..."),4 "Shakespeare's w^omen are not an Isolated phenomenon in their emancipation, their self-sufficiency, and their evasion of stereotypes."5 I ^rould argue, how^ever, tha t this theory cannot be substantiated in Shakespeare's theatre, or in that of other playwrights of his milieu. Moreover, Queen Elizabeth I is the source of much disagreement ^vlthin the ranks of feminism. Dusinberre argues tha t her "personality, pow^er, and successful reign...Influenced the period's conceptions of w^omen's roles and potential. "6 Lenz, Greene, Neely, and myself, how^ever, question the validity of such contentions. Feminist historians Susam Groag Bell, Margaret L. King and Gloria Kaufman in fact argue that "in the Renaissance, as in other progressive periods, Avomen actually suffered a loss in s ta tus relative to men—that , for example, the humanis t commitment to education for women ^vas a profoundly qualified one."7 As for Dusinberre 's contention tha t "the feminism w^hich sur rounded Elizabeth...had by J a m e s I's reign moved do^vn into the middle classes,"8 Lawrence Stone counters that "from the Renaissance on, a gradual increase in affective bonding betw^een husband and wife Avas accompanied by a decrease in the ^vife's autonomy, especially noticeable in the 'restricted patriarchal family' characteristic of Puritanism. "9 Overall, Lenz, Greene and Neely claim that feminist historians such as Gerda Lemer "doubt w^hether the presence of isolated 'w^omen w^orthies' has much effect on the overall position of Avomen or on att i tudes tow^ard them."io Historian C.H. Williams declares tha t "...Elizabeth 1 w^as a phenomenon—it is not too strong a w^ord—in Europeain history;"n she w^as a monarch and therefore above the customary roles of all other Avomen of her era. Roger Ascham also sets Elizabeth apart from all other ^vomen w^hen he says that "the constitution of her mind is exempt from female w^eakness and she is endued w^ith a mascu l ine pow^er of application."12 One can only assume from this s ta tement tha t feminini ty w^as cons ide red a w^eakness by E l i zabe th ' s contemporaries, so her a t ta inment of pow^er w^as considered an exception, not a sign that Avomen w^ere equal. In direct opposi t ion to S tone ' s observa t ion t ha t Pur i tan i sm encouraged a decrease in women ' s au tonomy, Dus inber re s t a t e s t h a t Pur i t an i sm provided "a period of concentrated moral energy Avhich proved invigorating to the dramatists."13 Thus she believes a forum for drama sympathetic to feminist concerns w^as born. If this is t rue , t hen Avhy does Dusinberre feel it necessary to assert tha t "w^omen are people and individuals; the creature evoked both by the courtly lover and by the satirist bears no relation to Avoman as a social being?" 14 Moreover, she then seems to contradict her argument Avhen she states that satirists' caricatures of \^omen adversely affected them: "The assertions of those writers influenced the treatment of w^omen in society, and their stereotypes were considered valid."is In fact, "protests about satire on v^omen in the mediaeval tradition" 16 w^ere voiced in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. These protes ts , by h u m a n i s t s like Agrippa, theologians like BuUinger, and by w^omen themselves, "starting ^mth. J a n e Anger's pamphlet in 1589, demonstrating against the denigration of ^ivomen in Euphues . " i7 bitterly opposed the discrepancy betw^een the por t rayals of w^omen in l i terature and w^omen in real life. MeanAvhile, the human i s t s Ascham, Erasmus , More and Vives decried courtly love as depicted in mediaeval romance, w^hich portrayed Avomen as "a symbol of lust". Dusinberre 's notion tha t w^omen w^ere understood and valued in early 17th century drama is not shared by everyone. Linda Woodbrldge claims that "the first decade of the 17th century had ^vitnessed unprecedented mlsogjni^y in the drama, "i^ She argues tha t early Jacobean drama, either because of literary fashion or because of historical attitudes, "...produced a body of plays (in) Avhich...w^omen had joined other character tjrpes as scapegoats for the ills of society. "19 It is unlikely, how^ever, tha t a group of playwrights w^ould mount a conscious conspiracy against vromen by portrajdng them in a negative or stereotypical v^ay. What is more likely is t ha t since citizen cuckoldry a s a literary topos w^as gaining popularity during the first decade of the 17th century, any character, Avhether male or female, that could be portrayed simply and clearly ^vas stereotyped, sometimes to a lasting and detrimental social effect. Woodbrldge agrees with Dusinberre that there w^as a decline in antlfeminlst satire tow^ard the end of the first decade of 1600, but feels the change ow^es more to the rise of Puritanism and its distaste for adultery, prostitution, and lechery, with ^vhich women w^ere equated, than to a fair and bcdanced view^ of w^omen.20 Moreover, there w^as a decline in satire against all character t3rpes tha t delineated "the corrupt society of w^hlch such types w^ere symptomatic (such as) prodigals, gamesters , usure rs , panders , intelligencers, social climbers, smokers, or lawyers. "21 As "w^oman" w^as a caricature of corrupt society, the phasing out of bitter anti-feminist satire is seen by Woodbrldge not as a tolerance for miore realistic portrayals of w^omen but as par t of the decline of satire against corrupt character types in general. Despite their differing viewpoints, critics on both sides of the issue seem to agree that the playwrights recognised a need to please the audience because they Mvanted the seats to be filled. Another factor in the decline of antifeminist satire, according to AVoodbridge, w^as the eclipse of private theatre tow^ard the end of the first decade of the 17th century. Paul's and the Chapel Royal, or "the Children of the Revels of the Queen" as the company Avas knoAvn after 1603, w^ere the t^vo private companies specialising in citizen cuckoldry; Paul's disbanded in 1606, the Queen 's Revels became defunct in 1610. Wliy did the tAvo companies disappear? First of all, Woodbridge concurs with Dusinberre tha t the p rud ishness of the Pur i tans and distaste amongst the audience tow^ard citizen cuckoldiy vsras at least partly responsible for the d i sappearance of female ca r ica tures of corruption from the stage. More importantly, the Queen's Revels eventually merged wdth Lady Elizabeth's Men, w^ho played to both public and private theatres. This, it Avould seem, truly spelled the end for private theatre and therefore citizen cuckoldry as a literary topos: the majority of plays acted between 1610 and 1620...w^ere the property of companies that played either exclusively to the public theatres or to both theatres; to be acceptable, a play had to pass muster at the public theatre, bastion of the citizenry.22 7 Since the topos of citizen cuckoldry w^as already out of favour with the increasingly puritanical public audiences, it is not difficult to understand w^hy the form disappeared at both the public and private theatres. Ultimately, the disappearance of female caricatures from the Renaissance stage does not constitute an improvement in the contemporary attitude to^vards women, as Dusinberre suggests; it simply means that citizen cuckolds fell out of favour as a dramatic device. One of the central questions in feminist criticism is to ask ^vhy Avomen's Avork has been so much less visible than men's. There is no doubt tha t there are large gaps in history between the works of Sappho, HrotSAvitha, and Wollstonecroft. As Clara Claiborne Park points out, "from Sappho...to J a n e Austen, there were hardly any writers vrho w^ere not male. "23 The point is that w^hile w^omen have alw^ays existed, a cultural tolerance for their education and freedom of expression has not. In 17th Century England, for example, "lectming aind authorship were (considered to be) dangerously unfeminine pursuits . "24 What is commonly shared by new^ critical documents is an avid interest in ^vomen, w^hether it be from a historical or demographic point of view^ or simply from a perspective that places greater emphasis on w^omen in Shakespeare's plays. The gdm of all of these efforts is tow^ards "compensating for the bias in a critical tradition that has tended to emphasise male characters, male themes, and male fantasies. "25 8 On the other hand. Carol Thomas Neely -warns against the danger of compensatory criticism, Avhich she claims can overcredit Aveak characters in an effort to compensate for the lack of attention or po^ver attributed to Avomen in plays. She specifies t he "wishful thinking"26 of Ju l ie t Duslnberre ' s approach to Shakespeare. Neely clearly believes that Duslnberre's connection of Shakespeare with feminism is "wishful thinking" at best, and 1 tend to agree. She believes tha t compensatory critics further erode women's progress in the theatre by attempting to validate extant chEiracters in Shakespeare tha t do not deserve to be validated In order to somehow^ "redeem" w^omen. Neely argues tha t in our excitement at redeeming the female figure in literature, feminist critics may over compensate for the injustices of traditional male criticism. Singling w^omen out for attention and isolating them from the rest of the play and the culture in Avhich the plays w^ere Avritten can only serve to isolate women further, not integrate them into the culture. 'Thus the process by Avhich w^omen are singled out for attention, the characterist ics a t t r ibuted to them, and the framew^ork w^ithin w^hich they a re va lued . . . (is s u s p e c t and) . . .vulnerable to objections of ahis tor ic i ty a n d w^ishful thinking. "27 Therefore, it seems, compensatory critics may actually erode their progress by allowing their own battles for equality to lead them to initiate a course of overcompensation. Earlier female critics often applauded the wit and intelligence of Shakespeare 's Avomen Avhile defending their softness and criticising "bold language and overt expressions of sexuality. "28 Overzealous modem feminist critics may no^v have gone to the other extreme in order to make up for the slanted observations of the past. Instead of examining the characteristics tha t make women credible as individuals, such writers "attribute inappropriately or too enthusiastically to Avomen qualities traditionally admiired in men—pow^er, aggressiveness, ^vit, and sexual boldness."29 Furthermore, Neely cautions that justificatory criticism analyses the stereotyping of w^omen in Shakespeare 's plays, b u t cannot decide w^hether the dramatist defends, at tacks, or merely represents patr iarchal s t ruc tures . Neely denotes justificatory criticism as being wri t ten by critics w^ho acknow^ledge the oppression of w^omen as a system at w^ork in the society and therefore in the theatre without offering solutions. Neely, in a logical move, alms for another approach. Instead of attributing pow^er w^here none exists, as compensatory criticism all too often does, she aims for a transformational model, w^hlch examines the shape and meaning of female interactions and how^ they relate to gender.30 Obviously, a certain measure of factual perspective must be attained concerning the origins of prejudice within both the society and the plays themselves. Thus, an exciting and diverse field of dramaturgical inquiry h a s opened up . Ultimately the transformational criticism that Neely hopes to achieve is based on 10 a "three-stage model of feminist history propounded by Joan Kelly-Gadol and Gerda Lemer," criticism that has moved from "compensatory" history (the study of ""women Avorthies," achievers, by male standards, in a male Avorld) to "contribution" history (the study of w^omen's contribution to and oppression by patriarchal society) to the history of "the social relations of the sexes" (the study of the relative position of men and Avomen in historical periods).si My thesis correlates Avith this theory in tha t I do not intend to ideadise Avomen characters. Instead, 1 hope to objectively discuss the relative positions of Avomen as they relate to men in the plays and in some instances relate the information in the plays to the milieu t ha t Avas Shakespeare ' s t ime: The Renaissance . Therefore, the s t u d y of t he four plays he re in will deal predominantly Avith the female as protagonist w^hile a secondary motif will be to relate the w^omen to their co-protagonists w^here it is germane to the w^oman's role. For example, in King Lear. Avhere Cordelia's chief antagonist , Lear, is pa r t of the pa t r ia rchal structure that oppresses Cordelia, such a correlation is paramount. Where female and male co-protagonists are equally oppressed by a hostile society, as in Romeo and Juliet, the aspect of Jul iet being antagonised by society, rather than by an individual, will be the focus. Lisa Jardine has argued that in order to effect change, writers must stop writing exclusively about female characters. She 11 feels that continuing to focus on female characters and attacking chauvinistic at t i tudes Incorporated In particular plays cannot be counted as progressive feminist criticism. The opposing faction believes that only by focusing on ^vomen and analysing the "nature and effects of patriarchal s tructures (^ vill) Shaikespeare's Avomen (be liberated) from the stereotj^es to Avhlch they have too often been confined."32 The duality between men and Avomen will be exposed: Avhy are there no great female tragic figures, Avhy no t r iumphant comedic heroines beyond the point of marriage? A compensation for the male bias that has thus far existed may not be possible, but an analysis of w^omen's history in the drama is paramount. Women have much catching up to do that cannot be accomplished Avithout placing a heightened focus on the Avomen themselves. Jard ine notes a sense of hostility on the par t of some critics w^ho she alleges can best be described as using "lines of attack" to criticise "chauvinistic attitudes the plays Incorporate."33 She appropriately admonishes those critics w^ho employ hostile lines of attack against chauvinistic atti tudes in plays. Such critics are figuratively shooting the messenger and ignoring the larger issue of Avhere these attitudes originate. In some cases, how^ever, the dramatist may be offering a critique. Coppella Kahn, for example, sees Romeo and Juliet as "tragic scapegoats," and maintains that "...the play suggest(s) a crit ique of the pat r iarchal a t t i tudes expressed th rough the 12 feud..."34 Such Avriters are not only reacting against societal a t t i tudes b u t aga ins t a society Itself t h a t condones these oppressive patriarchal s t ructures . They react not -with, hostility but ^vlth curiosity about -why such structures exist. David Sundelson sees "the fears about the precariousness of male identity" and of the "destructive poAvers of Avomen"35 as closely linked together, as are anxieties about the loss of political and sexual power. There is a societal att i tude concerning poAver and "who should rightfully wield it t ha t is only reflected in literature and criticism; it does, how^ever, not originate from it. The fact that female issues have too long been ignored or treated in a biased manner w^as systemic to a male dominated society. Any society reflects the attitudes of the dominant class in its a r t and integrates the same a t t i tudes into its language. Whether ackno^vledged or not, the existence of such at t i tudes meains they are condoned, even socially acceptable. Yet to consider this phenomenon a conscious male conspiracy seems neither fair nor realistic. The mostly negative stereotyping of w^omen in early 17th century drama show^s the level to w^hich the subordinat ion of Avomen mus t have been entrenched in the culture. There w^ere, of course, negative portrayals of male characters too. But the male protagonists in the tragedies often rise to greatness and power, or at least fall from a great height. The female characters achieve 13 little If anything. Almost In a wistful w^ay, Rosalind rises to greatness only w^hlle dressed In boy's clothing. In a play-wlthln-a-play setting that does not really exist. The epitome of pow^er Is defined by gender alone. Sue-Ellen Case argues tha t the practice of strictly defining w^omen with and by gender originated with Athenian culture. Public life w^as deemed the property of men, and w^omen w^ere relegated to the home. Case credits Teresa de Lauretls ' concept of "A\^oman" in explaining this packaging of female identity into a one-dimensional caricature: The result of the suppression of actual women in the classical world created the invention of a representation of the gender "Woman" within the culture. This "Woman" appeared on the stage, in the myths, and in the plastic arts, representing the patriarchal values attached to the gender of "Woman" while suppressing the experiences, stories, feelings, and fantasies of actual women.36 Yet j u s t because w^omen's energies w^ere being discouraged during the classical period does not mean tha t pow^erful w^omen did not exist. Evidently they did; this is how^ Shakespeare developed the prototypes for 'his* w^omen. In order to examine the actions and the language of Shakespeare's pow^erful w^omen and their assertion of pow^er in a ^vorld -where they have no right to po^ver, I -will concentrate on four characters who have challenged male dominated social structures, either successfully or unsuccessfully: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. 14 Cordelia in King Lear. Imogen in Cymbeline. and Rosalind in As You Like It. All of these four characters take actions w^hich are beyond what is acceptable Avithin their social roles as ^vomen. Mere tr iumph or victory is not their main concern; they are not driven by a lust for pow^er as are Shakespeare 's Macbeth or Richard III. These four Avomen risk losing everything in their attempt to achieve their basic right to control their own destiny. For Cordelia, Rosalind, Imogen and Juliet, survival and the assertion of their femade identity are the central issues. NeAv feminist critics enthusiastically examine the risks Juliet takes because they recognise, as if in a distant mirror, some of the risks they themselves face in ^vhat is still a male-dominated w^orld. As a female reader I myself tend to identify or at least associate with the female characters: With Juliet rather than with Romeo, with Cordelia rather than v^dth Lear, ^^nth Ophelia rather than with Hamlet, Mdth Miranda, rather than with Prospero. From this point of vlew ,^ it seems only na tura l for feminist writers to focus on those characters tha t more strongly interest them as individuals. This need to focus on female characters and the interest in the lack of "glory roles" for w^omen, are, I feel, correlated. The dearth of pOAverful females accounts for the general need amongst feminist critics to compensate for the existence of "Aveak" female roles and the need to "catch up" to men in terms of the importance of the roles ^vomen play. 15 Many critics testify to the fact t ha t Shakespeare ' s observations of his social milieu w^ere the mirror from Avhlch his art sprang. Irene Dash maintains that "Shakespeare created several strong.. .w^omen In his plays, Avomen whose models m u s t have existed In the Ellzabethgin Avorld."37 Robert Omsteln states: Shakespeare . . .depic ted robus t , s t rong-minded, and Independent w^omen who are un^vUllng to suffer any indignity at the commaind of their lords and masters...There w^ere many Avomen of like spirit in Elizabethan society Avho refused to accept the dependent, submissive roles which were conventionally prescribed for their sex. 38 Shakespeare himself has reflected on this process through Hamlet's observation: "...the purpose of pla3dng... both at the first and now ,^ w^as and is, to hold, as 'tw^ere, the mirror up to nature" (III, 11, 20-23). If th i s s t a t emen t mir rors Shakespea re ' s method of character isat ion, then it is unlikely t ha t he developed his characters from imagination alone; rather, he held the mirror up to nature in order to create dramatic art, using both his imagination and the models observed in natural and social life. Sarup Singh also points out tha t Shakespeare based the characters of the "women in his plays on models from his own, immediate w^orld: (In the 17th century,) learning, especially learning leading to a profession, was clearly for men, not w^omen. (Yet) Shcikespeare could not have created learned professions for women if they did not exist in his society. 39 16 Not only are these characters based on societal models, the main action often seems to be culled from society as Avell. Louis Adrian Montrose s ta tes tha t "action in Shakespearean d rama usually originates in combinations of a few basic kinds of h u m a n conflict: conflict among members of different families, generations, sexes, and social classes. "40 Generationad and gender-based conflict could certainly be said to be the basis of Romeo and Juliet. As You Like It features a conflict bet^veen the male members of Rosalind's family that results in her being ostracised from court. Similarly, Cordelia is cast out of a patriarchal system she cannot placate because of generational atnd gender-based conflict, and Cymbeline's Imogen is involved in a gender-based conflict in a society that demands chastity of >vomen. Therefore, even though strong-willed, intelligent ^vomen may have existed in the 17th Century, the social cons t ra in ts t ha t also existed at tha t time may have been responsible for the lack of pow^erful or dominant w^omen in the culture and in the literature. These conflicts all existed in the real culture of the 17th Century, a culture ^vhich demanded submission from w^omen. One w^ay in Avhich this submission w^as elicited w^as in ^vomen's lack of education w^hich w^as "discussed as an admitted fact, one side defending it a s necessary in order to keep wives in due subjection...the other side, led by the chief literary men of the day, ascribed the frivolity and the gambling habits of ladies of fashion 17 to a n upbringing w^hich debarred them from more ser ious Interests. "41 This attitude of cloistering Avomen Is sho^vn in all its harshness in Romeo and Juliet. Avhere Juliet is expected to submit to her father's choice in marriage. The men had to fight to the death In order to honour their families' names and prove their own manhood. Furthermore, 17th Century social norms considered a man who could not control his woman a cuckold; and a Avoman Avho v^ould not submit to being controlled "svas severely ostracised. The destructive force of male pow^er and the control of w^omen through social enforcement is portrayed in the four plays studied here. The castigation of vromen provides the central conflicts on w^hlch the main action t u r n s . In C y m b e l i n e . for example, Posthumus, thinking he no longer controls Imogen, arranges to have her killed; since Imogen is thought to be out of Posthumus ' control, she is cast out from the safety of the patriarchal w^orld and into the wild realm of the forest. In Romeo and Juliet . Capulet threatens to throw^ Juliet out in the street if she Avill not submit to his choice of marriage partner; ^vhlle she is under his roof, she is Capulet 's property and mus t be controlled by him until she is passed on to a husband , very much like an object or a market commodity. Of course the control of w^omen did not simply appear in the Renaissance; no one w^ould accuse Shakespeare of originating such a trend. Sue-Ellen Case observes that, in Athenian culture, "...the 18 ^vord for marriage, ekdosis. meant loan—women were loaned to their husbands by their fathers, and in the case of a divorce, they w^ere re tu rned to their fathers."42 Reflecting the Athenian tradition, Capulet -wished Juliet to be on loan to Paris, w^hom he thought the best match for her. Also certain is the fact that sexist attitudes did not spring spontaneously from the Renaissance stage. Sue-Ellen Case suggests tha t the Athenian tradition of banning v^omen from the stage caused w^omen to be perceived not as "real" bu t as "male-produced fiction. "43 Since w^omen were also excluded from early Renaissance staging, the correlation betw^een the tw o^ periods is clear. It is not difficult to imagine tha t the idea of this "male produced fiction" safely cont inued into the w^ork of Shakespeare. It is more taxing to answ^er ivhy this is so. It w^ould seem apparent tha t social practices w^hich existed in Renaissance England m u s t have decidedly coloured Shakespeare 's dramatic vision. One w^ay of ascertaining this correlation betw^een the milieu of 17th Century London and fiction is to compare the characters themselves Avith historical studies relat ing to the period. Some feminist cri t ics find t ha t "a comparison of the plays with their sources and analogues can illuminate Avhat is traditional and what unique in Shakespeare 's portrayals of women. "44 And so the characters of Juliet, Cordelia, Imogen and Rosalind are jux taposed in these s tud ies with historical sources in order to provide a dialectic betw^een the tw^o. 19 Establ ishing a credible comparison betw^een charac te rs and historical data will show^ how^ much of the characters ' language and actions ^ve can accept as social reality and how^ much as dramatic Invention. Only then can a femade character's t rue role be defined to a satisfactory degree. Such a s tudy of the relationship betw^een poetic vision and social reality will be central to an understanding of where gender figures In the system of pow^er. This understanding win help to unravel the historical forces tha t caused the uneven rationing of pow^er, and AVIU help to unders tand the moral and social conventions tha t shaped Shakespeare's plays. And so. In a nutshel l , the short and difficult question Is: How^ m u c h of Shakespeare's characters are reflections of his physical w^orld, of the social and Intellectual climate of his time? And how^ much of it is based on fantasy and fiction? In discussing this central issue of pOAver balance betAveen men and ^vomen it is Important to keep In mind a number of facts. First of all: not only w^omen, of course, are negatively portrayed in Shakespeare 's plays. But in contrast to the female characters , male protagonists have, at some point in the plays, a secure sense of pow^er, no mat ter how^ steep their fall is in the end. And ultimately, the male hero must have character flaw^s; he mus t be driven from the heights of fortune in order to qualify as a tragic hero. But unlike tragic flaw^s, pow^er cannot be considered a universal h u m a n attribute. And herein lies the difference: tragic 20 fla^vs are beyond h u m a n control; they a re no t m a n - m a d e , ^vhereas po^ver is a h u m a n character is t ic applied to those m e n \vho e a r n it or Avho have forcefully gained it on thei r oAvn. The t e r m 'men ' is u s e d assured ly here : a s far a s w^estem cu l tu res a re concerned, m e n hold the sea t of po^ver a n d dole it ou t accordingly. Powerful w^omen a re po r t r ayed a s evil or des t ruc t ive because t hey a re pow^erful; s u c h is no t t h e ca se w^here m e n a r e conce rned . L i te ra ture mi r ro r s life to t h e ex t en t t h a t pow^er is generally a male domain in bo th . In l i te ra ture a s in life, m e n m a y be por t rayed a s possess ing negative charac te r t ra i t s a n d still re ta in posi t ions of powder; th i s is no t t r u e of w^omen. Myra Glazer Schotz ^vrites: "Without the manly disguise or the m a s k of comedy, Avomen w h o expres s 'mascu l ine ' t r a i t s a re unequivocal ly t h r ea t en ing . "45 The l i te rary p u r p o s e of s u c h a po r t r aya l is tw^ofold: Firs t , it por t rays w^omen a s deficient, even deviant in the i r ques t for pov^er. Second , t h i s por t r aya l e n t r e n c h e s the i r "femininity": w^omen's l imited a n d str ict ly enforced roles a r e d ramat ica l ly encoded . A Avoman c a n be good a n d be poAverless, or s h e c a n strive for power a n d be labelled a deviant. "Femininity" is a m a n - m a d e w^ord, one of m a n y w^hich reflect t h e a t t i t u d e of t h e m a k e r of t h a t l a n g u a g e tow^ard t h e m i n o r i t y h e a d d r e s s e s . T h o s e w^omen w^ho a d h e r e to t he i r appropr ia te roles are deemed "feminine", a socially acceptable label every w o m a n should strive for in order to be considered successful 21 in her designated role in the society. The w^oman -who at ta ins poAver is not successful, she is masculine, overbearing, a shrew^, a deviant. Theodora A. JankoAvski describes an "early modern uneasiness regarding Avomen in positions of po^ver."46 Ultimately, feminine attainment of poAver is an oxymoron and moreover a truly dual-edged s^vord, because even if a Avoman decides she can achieve power, it is rare for her to retain pow^er for any length of time. Moreover, pOAver is an exceptional quality in a Avoman and is usually gcdned through marriage, as in the cases of Lady Macbeth. Margaret of Anjou, and Volumnla. Theodora A. JankoAvski further observes that "virtually no -woman character of the drama of the (early 17th century) draws her po^ver from politics directly, as her sovereign r ight . "47 Infrequently, because of the ru les of primogeniture, females gain pow^er through inheritcince, although these cases are exceedingly rare. Queen Elizabeth I is one such example. Conversely, pow^er is a positive corollary to the male character, and is regarded as being separate from other attributes or flaw^s he may possess. Yet ^vhen pow^er defines the w^oman, it does so as evil and is perceived as a threat to male domincince. Lenz. Greene and Neely state that "...pow^erful w^omen are always threatening and often, in fact, destructive."48 Destructive, that is, to the es tabl ished rul ing pa t r ia rchy. From a pa t r i a rcha l perspective, women's pow^er must be mitigated at the very least, and 22 preferably castigated. One w^ay of diffusing female pow^er Is to portray it in a negative w^ay. Madonne M. Miner categorises Richard III, the model of the forceful pa t r i a rch , a s being "characterised by his determination to cast Avomen in unattractive roles: As scapegoat for men, currency of exchange betw^een men, and cipher ^vithout men. "49 In a 17th Century context, they w^ere to be kept pow^erless as the parvus of men. Therefore, w^omen ^vho at tempted to u su rp pow^er from its rightful place in the male domain signified a threat to male pow^er and typically come to unfortunate ends. In Revyriting the Renaissance. Jona than Goldberg tells u s tha t "fatherly authority relgn(ed) supreme"5o in Renaissance England. Goldberg cites many examples of systemic patriarchy in paintings by such artists as Rubens and Van Dyck which show^ fathers and their heirs in superior posit ions to those of the mothers and the female children. Typically, the male subjects, usually situated near patriarchal sjnnbols of pow^er such as crowns or sceptres, face one w^ay, w^hile the w^omen, Avho s tand or sit in front of scenes depicting nature, face the opposite direction; thus , the strict separation of the t^vo genders and the superiority of the male is depicted. 17th Century landscape painting is equally revealing. Paintings such as those by Daniel Mytens depicting Charles I and Henrietta Maria, and Henrick Pot's depiction of Charles I and his family are good examples. Female subjects aire 23 juxtaposed with i l lustrat ions of na ture , such as w^oods and gardens . This juxtaposi t ion symbolises the equation of the feminine with nature . Female subjects are separated from male subjects by large physical spaces. According to Goldberg "It is the gap between nature and poorer that patriarchal rhetoric transforms. It is the space in w^hich patriarchal rhetoric is constructed, the space of the mystification of pow^er."5i Moreover, Goldberg states tha t these positionings show^, in iconic terms, the superiority of men and the solidarity of the male head of the family with his male heir. Historically, the term 'head of the family' reflects the fact that the male is the head to the feminine body, ju s t as the king is the head to his kingdom, his "body". Goldberg quotes from King James I's 1597 treatise of kingship: "I am the Husband, and all the Avhole Isle is my lawfuU Wife; I am the Head, and it is my Body. "52 Corroborating Goldberg's theory, the editors of Rewriting the Renaissance claim that "partly in reaction against Elizabeth, the Stuarts aggressively promoted the image of the monarch as a father and husband of his country. "53 Examples of the subordination of w^omen by men are not limited to Renaissamce family life. Merry E. Wiesner observes that Avomen were subordinated in the ^vorkplace as well. One example is the takeover of cloth and clothing production by men. Until the th i r t een th century , "the product ion of cloth and clothing throughout most of w^estem history...(w^as) a Avomen's occupation." 24 54 ^Vlesner tells of male ar t isans taking over different stages of production, eventually forming guilds of Aveavers and cloth cutters, which led to apprenticeship programmes from w^hich Avomen w^ere systematically excluded. These examples show^ that autonomy and authority were not shared equally by males and females; indeed, female power is discouraged altogether in both the real w^orld and in the Avorld of literature. The assert ion of female pow^er is t reated a s a fatal indiscretion in the eyes of male-dominated society; t h u s w^omen v^ho do not adhere to the marriage role causes them to be seen as damaged or an unfortunate burden to their families. A study of Shakespeare 's strong w^omen in the face of the adversity of the patriarchal system TVIII show^ that the true potential of these w^omen is not allow^ed to flourish so tha t the (male) s t a tus quo can be madntained. Therefore, any challenge to the system is quelled in order t ha t the posit ion of those controlling the pow^er be guaranteed. Even at the cost of the death of loved ones, as exemplified in Romeo and Juliet and Cymbellne. the social power structure must be enforced. It is Important to note, as Lenz, Greene and Neely do, tha t ". . .artists do not necessari ly duplicate in their ar t the orthodoxies of their cul ture: they may exploit them to create character or intensify conflict; they may struggle v^th, criticise, or t ranscend them. "55 But w^hether Intended or not, an artist 's w^ork 25 is affected by the social climate in w^hich he or she lives. Individual instances of human behaviour exhibited in theatre may be incidental; for example, a single incidence of an assertive female portrayed as a virago constitutes a conflict intensifier. But the phenomenon of Tvomen portrayed as either benign and povrerless or poAverful and societally disruptive cannot be mere coincidence. Stage portrayeds grew out of contemporary attitudes which dictated tha t w^omen should repress assert iveness in favour of social acceptability. Lawrence Stone found that "betw^een 1560 and 1660 (in England) there w^as a sense of social and political crisis, a fear that the v^hole structure of social hierarchy and political order w^ere in danger. "56 According to Stone, peasant revolts and religious feuds betw^een the Calvinists and the Puritans w^ere responsible for these fears. The result Avas that the "enforcement of patriarchy and obedience (w^as) s t ressed . "57 Social p re s su re in the cul ture forcefully dictated the en te r ta inment of t he day. Political machinat ions t h u s inevitably reflected onto the stage. In this sense, theatre may be regarded as a vital source w^hich helps u s to understand the history of humankind. Knov^ledge is po^ver, therefore, knoAvledge in w^omen is considered a threat. J ohn Webster's Ferdingmd, in The Duchess of Malfi. describes the implications of the virgin-w^hore S5mdrome. A virgin is unknoAvledgable, innocent, socially acceptable. But sexual knowledge, especially in an unmarried w^oman is a negative: she is 26 not experienced, she has a reputation: "So you have some virgins, tha t are vdtches. I Avill never see thee more," and "you have shook hands with reputation." (Ill, ii, 140, 135). In the Renaissance a repression existed that seems to have been borne out of a fear of the breakdown of social hierarchies. It is not surprising tha t ignorance ^vas paramount in a w^oman during the Renaissance, for the patriarchy depended on the ignorance of the masses in general, and -women's lack of education in particular. Lawrence Stone concurs that "there is (only) one socially very restricted, short-lived and paradoxical exception to the rule that literacy and classical education Avidened the gap betAveen the sexes,"58 this being the period between 1520 and 1560, w e^ll before the period of Shakespeare 's Avriting. The idea tha t a w^oman's know^ledge of the classics made her attractive to men w^as short-lived. Women's education w^as curtailed so tha t their social and economic lives w^ould be limited, resulting in a less competitive Avorkplace. During the 17th Century, (the) masculine literary education for noble and gentle Avomen w^as replaced by ...traditional feminine accomplishments and graces needed to catch a husband, such as music, singing, dancing, needlcAvork and embroidery, and no more than the basic elements of reading and writing in English and also French. 59 The reasons w^hy w^omen are so often relegated to a subservient role are manifold and complex. Why does this role 27 surface repeatedly in li terature? It is difficult to answ^er this question with any assurance, bu t from the above example w^ e may glean tha t the a t t i tudes originate Avithin the cul ture . These a t t i tudes are then reflected in art: "The plays are aesthetic creations as w e^ll as social documents."60 A play attains some of its essence from the social reality that represents life. For the purpose of this study, social reality is defined as the sum of all social circumstances tha t exist a t a particular point in history at a particular place. This w^ould, for example, include education, marriage, family traditions, work habits, housing, legal, religious, and domestic practices. With regard to pow^er, I primarily refer to the inherent po^ver in everyday social reality, such as choice in marriage ctnd the pow^er in exercising domestic rule. Additionally, I speatk of pow^er within the community, including political and social s tanding. Possessing the pow^er to move others is not the only relevant issue; empoAverment over one's self is also crucial. Clearly, the males in the plays studied here enjoy a measure of empow^erment in their lives, communities and families ^vhich their female counterparts do not enjoy. The common thread linking Juliet, Imogen, Cordelia and Rosalind, therefore, is not only a lack of poAver in their individual social realities, bu t the various conflicts with their families and communit ies w^hich resul t from their pow^erless posit ion as individuals. All four w^omen lack pow^er and therefore a t rue 28 i d e n t i t y a s i n d i v i d u a l s , Avhich m a n y of t h e i r m a l e c o u n t e r p a r t s s h a r e Avithin t h e i r o^vn fami l ies a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . W i t h p o w e r c o m e s c o n t r o l . A n i m p o s e d r u l e o n fideli ty a n d c h a s t i t y i n w^omen i s a Avay of c o n t r o l l i n g w^omen. T h e i d e a t h a t Avomen a r e r e s p o n s i b l e for k e e p i n g t h e fami ly g e n e a l o g y p u r e r e s u l t e d i n Avomen's r o l e s b e c o m i n g m o r e a n d m o r e p r o s c r i b e d i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e s o c i a l r e a l i t y . A n d s o t h e f o r c e d f ide l i ty a n d c h a s t i t y of Avomen b e c a m e t h e o n l y w^ay of g u a r a n t e e i n g p u r i t y of g e n e a l o g y . I t a l s o k e p t -women a t h o m e w i t h t h e r e s t of t h e p r o p e r t y : " U n c h a s t i t y , i n t h e s e n s e of s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s be fo r e m a r r i a g e o r o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , i s for m a n , if a n offence, n o n e t h e l e s s a m i l d a n d p a r d o n a b l e o n e , b u t for a w^oman a m a t t e r of t h e u t m o s t g r av i ty . "61 T h e r e a s o n ' u n c h a s t i t y ' w^as a " m a t t e r of t h e u t m o s t gravi ty" on ly for w o m e n w^as t h a t s i n c e t h e ' seed ' i s p u t i n t o t h e w^oman on ly t h e w^oman c a n b e ' po l l u t ed ' a n d t h u s p o l l u t e al l i s s u e s h e m a y b e a r : "...new^ femin i s t a n a l y s e s p r o v e t h a t ( the m a l e -female) d iv i s ion i s gende r - spec i f i c , i . e . ; . . . pub l i c life i s t h e p r o p e r t y of m e n a n d w o m e n a r e r e l e g a t e d t o t h e inv i s ib le p r i v a t e sphere."62 T h e i d e a t h a t " the p r i v a t e s p h e r e i s r ight fu l ly i n h a b i t e d b y w^omen i s a soc ia l r ea l i t y t h a t e x i s t s a s a co ro l l a ry of t h e c h a s t i t y issue."63 It b e c a m e c o m m o n know^ledge t h a t a n u n c h a s t e , u n m a r r i e d w^oman h a s a l r e a d y b e e n v io la ted b y s o m e o n e e l se ctnd i s t he re fo re u n c l e a n , p o l l u t e d , a n d n o t fit for m a r r i a g e . O n l y v i rg in i ty i s c l e a n . In 1 7 t h C e n t u r y E n g l a n d , the re fo re , m a r r i a g e for w^omen 29 Avas paramount. A Avoman must be married off as soon as possible, given as a possession by one man to another in order to reproduce. In fact, procreations Avere considered by some in the Renaissance to be "acts of policy not pleasure, since the female children 'were used to obtain politically profitable marriage alliances with neighbouring princes. "64 This policy developed out of the need to protect Britain during times of peace. Henry I's "natural daughters Avere wed to princes all along the Anglo-Norman periphery" and "William of Malmesbury insists tha t he begat his tw^enty or more na tura l offspring for reasons of policy ra ther t han pleasure."65 Thus, Avomen's primary avocation as a childbearer disqualified her for other forms of w^ork outside the home. This explains the tradition of doAvries, a tradition in w^hich the father provides a doAvry of money and gifts to the husband in order tha t h is daughter be provided for. In this process, Avhich existed in 17th Century England, bu t dates to Athens, Avomen "lost their economic and legal powders and became objects of exchange. "66 Because the household w^as considered a refuge from the public sphere, w^omen w^ere considered to be apolitical. Women's w^ork, tha t is, ^vork done in the home, w^as considered to be necessary labour that men needed to be liberated from in order that they attend to political concerns. Therefore, for at least 2500 years, w^omen have traditionally resided over the private domain while men have held the role of provider. This h a s led to the perception tha t w^omen are financial burdens 30 dependent on men, regardless of their share of Avork In the home. Ironically, Avomen are required by the culture both to continue to adhere to the limited and stifling role of marriage In order to sus ta in the family, and to complete abst inence from politics. Therefore, w^omen face a dilemma: They can stay ^vlthln the boundar ies of their socially acceptable roles, as Imogen and Rosalind ult imately do, thereby retaining life at the cost of freedom; or, they can risk the greater chances tha t Jul ie t and Cordelia take and attain a brief glimpse of freedom at the cost of life. 31 NOTES CHAPTER ONE 1 Juliet Dusinberre, Shakespeare and the Nature of Women (Lxjndon: Macmillan, 1975), 5. 2 Dusinberre, 9. 3 Dusinberre, 10. 4 Dusinberre, 307. 5 Dusinberre, 5. 6 Carolyn Ruth S"wift Lenz, Gayle Greene and Carol Thomas Neely, eds.. The AVoman's Part: Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. (Chicago: lUinois UP, 1980), 7-8. 7 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 8. 8 Dusinberre, 307. 9 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 8. 10 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 8, 15. 11 C.H. Williams, "In Search of the Queen," in Elizabethan Government and Society: Essays presented to Sir John Neale, S.T. Bindoff, J . Hurstfield and C.H. Williams, eds., (London: Althone, 1961), 2. 12 Angela Pitt, Shakespeare's Women. (New Jersey: Barnes, 1981), 27-28. 13 Dusinberre, 6. 32 14 D u s i n b e r r e , 6 . 15 D u s i n b e r r e , 6 . 16 D u s i n b e r r e , 6 . 17 D u s i n b e r r e , 6 . 18 L i n d a Woodbr idge , W o m e n a n d t h e E n g l i s h R e n a i s s a n c e : L i t e r a tu r e a n d t h e N a t u r e of W o m a n k i n d . 1 5 4 0 - 1 6 2 0 ( U r b a n a : Il l inois UP, 1984) , 2 4 9 . 19 AVoodbridge, 2 4 9 . 20 Woodbr idge , 2 4 9 . 21 Woodbr idge , 2 4 9 . 22 "Woodbridge, 2 5 0 . 23 C l a r a C l a i b o r n e P a r k , "As W e Like It: HOAV a Girl C a n Be S m a r t a n d Sti l l P o p u l a r , " In T h e W o m a n ' s P a r t : F e m i n i s t Cr i t i c i sm of S h a k e s p e a r e , e d s . Caroljn:! R u t h Swift Lenz, Gay le G r e e n e a n d Caro l T h o m a s Neely (Chicago: I l l inois UP, 1980), 1 0 1 . 24 A n t o n i a F r a s e r , T h e W e a k e r Vesse l : W^oman's Lot i n 1 7 t h Century^ E n g l a n d . (London: Weldenfeld, 1984), 3 7 9 . 25 C a r o l y n R u t h Swift Lenz, Gayle G r e e n e a n d Ca ro l T h o m a s Neely, e d s . , " In t roduc t ion , " i n T h e W o m a n ' s P a r t : F e m i n i s t C r i t i c i sm of S h a k e s p e a r e . (Chicago: I l l inois UP, 1980) , 4 . 26 Caro l T h o m a s Neely, "Femin i s t M o d e s of S h a k e s p e a i r e a n Cr i t i c i sm: C o m p e n s a t o r y , J u s t i f i c a t o r y , T r a n s f o r m a t i o n a l . " W S 9 (1981), 6 -7 , 13-14 . 33 27 Neely, 7 . 28 Neely, 7, 14 . 29 Neely, 7. 30 Neely, 6 - 7 . 31 Neely, 6 , 1 3 . 32 Lenz, G r e e n e a n d Neely, 4 . 33 L isa Jc i rd ine , Sti l l H a r p i n g o n D a u g h t e r s : W^omen a n d D r a m a in t h e Age of S h a k e s p e a r e . ( S u s s e x : H a r v e s t e r , 1983), 1. 34 Coppe l i a K a h n , "Coming of Age in V e r o n a , " i n T h e AVoman's Par t . 172 . 35 David S u n d e l s o n , "Misogyny a n d r u l e i n M e a s u r e for M e a s u r e . " W S 9 (1981) . 8 3 . 36 S u e - E l l e n C a s e , "Class ic Drag : T h e G r e e k C r e a t i o n of F e m a l e P a r t s , " T h e a t e r J o u r n a l 3 7 (1985) . 3 1 8 . 37 I r e n e D a s h , Wooing . W e d d i n g , a n d Po^ver: W^omen i n S h a k e s p e a r e ' s P lavs . (New York: C o l u m b i a UP, 1981) , 8 5 . 38 R o b e r t O m s t e i n , "Bourgeo i s Mora l i ty a n d D r a m a t i c C o n v e n t i o n i n A W o m a n Killed ^vith K i n d n e s s . " E n g l i s h R e n a i s s a n c e D r a m a : E s s a y s i n H o n o r of Made l e ine D o r a n aind M a r k Ecc les . e d s . S t a n d i s h H e n n i n g , R o b e r t POmbrough, a n d R i c h a r d Knowles (Ca rbonda l e : S o u t h e r n Ill inois UP, 1976) , 130 . 39 S a r u p S ingh , T h e D o u b l e S t a n d a r d i n S h a k e s p e a r e a n d Re la t ed E s s a y s : C h a n g i n g S t a t u s of W o m e n i n 1 6 t h a n d 1 7 t h 34 C e n t u r y E n g l a n d . (Delhi: J u p i t e r - K o n a r k , 1988) , 9 2 . 40 Lou i s A d r i a n M o n t r o s e , ' T h e P lace of a B r o t h e r i n As You Like It: Soc ia l P r o c e s s a n d C o m i c F o r m , " SQ_ 3 2 (1981) , 2 9 . 41 G.M. Treve lyan , E n g l i s h Sociad His to ry : A S u r v e y of S ix C e n t u r i e s : C h a u c e r t o Q u e e n Victor ia . (London: L o n g m a n s , 1961), 312 42 C a s e , 3 1 9 . 43 C a s e , 3 1 8 . 44 Lenz , G r e e n e a n d Neely, 8 . 45 Mjrra G laze r Scho tz , ' T h e G r e a t U n w r i t t e n S to ry : M o t h e r s a n d D a u g h t e r s i n S h a k e s p e a r e , " i n T h e Los t T rad i t i on : M o t h e r s a n d D a u g h t e r s i n L i t e r a tu re . C.N. D a v i d s o n a n d E.M. Brone r , e d s . (New York: Unga r , 1980), 4 5 . 46 T h e o d o r a A. Jankow^ski , W o m e n i n PoAver i n t h e E a r l y M o d e m D r a m a . (Chicago: Ill inois UP. 1992) . 7 3 . 47 J a n k o w s k i , 7 3 . 48 Lenz , G r e e n e , a n d Neely, 6 . 49 M a d o n n e M. Miner , " 'Nei ther M o t h e r , Wife, n o r E n g l a n d ' s Q u e e n ' : T h e Ro les of W o m e n i n R i c h a r d III." i n T h e W o m a n ' s Pa r t . 3 6 . 50 J o n a t h a n Goldberg , "Fa the r ly A u t h o r i t y : T h e Pol i t ics of S t u a r t F a m i l y I m a g e s , " i n Rewr i t i ng t h e R e n a i s s a n c e : T h e D i s c o u r s e s of S e x u a l Difference i n Ea r ly M o d e m E u r o p e . Mcirgaret W. F e r g u s o n , M a u r e e n QuiQigan a n d N a n c y J . Vickers , 35 e d s . , ( C h i c a g o : U of C h i c a g o P , 1 9 8 6 ) , 3 2 . 51 Goldberg, 18. 52 G o l d b e r g , 3 . 53 Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers, eds., "Introduction," in Re^vriting the Renaissance, xx. 54 M e r r y E . W i e s n e r , " S p i n s t e r s a n d S e a m s t r e s s e s : W o m e n i n C l o t h a n d C l o t h i n g P r o d u c t i o n , " i n ReAvri t ing t h e R e n g d s s a n c e . 1 9 1 . 55 L e n z , G r e e n e a n d Nee ly , 4 . 56 L a w r e n c e S t o n e , T h e F a m i l y . S e x a n d M a r r i a g e i n E n g l a n d 1 5 0 0 - 1 8 0 0 . ( L o n d o n : W e i d e n f e l d . 1 9 7 7 ) , 6 7 7 . 57 S t o n e , 6 7 8 . 58 S t o n e , 2 0 2 - 2 0 3 . 59 S t o n e , 2 0 4 . 60 L e n z , G r e e n e a n d Nee ly , 8 . 61 Keith Thomas, "The Double Standard," Journal of the History of Ideas. 20 (New York: City College, 1959), 195. 62 C a s e , 3 1 8 . 63 C a s e , 3 1 8 . 64 S t o n e , 5 0 5 , 7 4 0 . 65 C . W a r r e n H o l l i s t e r a n d T h o m a s K. Kee fe , ' T ' h e M a k i n g of t h e A a g e v l n E m p i r e , " i n T h e J o u r n a l of B r i t i s h S t u d i e s . XII 2 ( M a y 1 9 7 3 ) , 5 . 66 C a s e , 3 2 0 . 36 C h a p t e r II: I m o g e n a n d R o s a l i n d : Life a t t h e C o s t of F r e e d o m I m o g e n ' s s t o r y i s p a r t l y b a s e d o n t h e a n o n y m o u s T h e R a r e T r i u m p h s of Love a n d F o r t u n e , p e r f o r m e d i n 1 5 8 2 , p u b l i s h e d i n 1 5 8 9 . T h e s t o r y f e a t u r e s t h e fa i th fu l p r i n c e s s F ide l i a , Avho s y m b o l i s e s t h e l imi ted c h o i c e s -women h a v e i n life. I m o g e n ' s cho ice t o l e a v e t h e t r a d i t i o n a l l y f e m a l e r e a l m , h o m e a n d h e a r t h , a n d v e n t u r e o u t i n t o t h e t r ad i t i ona l l y m a l e p u b l i c a r e n a , u n d e r l i n e s h e r v u l n e r a b i l i t y . T h e fac t t h a t s h e d r e s s e s i n b o y ' s c l o t h i n g s h o w s i n g e n u i t y , a n d i t a l s o i l l u s t r a t e s h e r knoAvledge a n d fea r of t h e d a n g e r s of t h e p u b l i c w o r l d . W h i l e i t i s t r u e t h a t I m o g e n i s a n I n d e p e n d e n t , s t r o n g w^oman, s h e c a n n o t c o n t r o l t h e a c t i o n s cind bel iefs of h e r f a t h e r a n d h u s b a n d . S h e n e v e r m a n a g e s to rise to a m o r e ac t i ve ro l e i n life; s h e s u c c e e d s o n l y i n r e p a i r i n g w^hat h a s b e e n u n d o n e b y o t h e r s . I m o g e n m u s t r e p a i r t h e u n f o u n d e d p e r c e p t i o n of h e r h u s b a n d t h a t h e r c h a s t i t y i s n o l o n g e r i n t a c t . W i t h o u t c h a s t i t y , I m o g e n VTIU c e a s e t o ex i s t a s a n a c c e p t a b l e vdfe, d a u g h t e r a n d Avoman in t h e soc ie ty of h e r d a y . H e r goad, the re fo re , i s t o p r e s e r v e h e r ro le , a n d s h e d o e s t h i s succes s fu l l y . Ul t imate ly , s h e s u c c e e d s on ly i n re -a f f i rming t h e e x i s t i n g soc ia l o r d e r a n d t h e s o c i e t a l b o u n d a r i e s t h a t c o n t r o l h e r life. S h e d o e s n o t e s c a p e t o a new^ w^orld o r a new^ w^ay of ex i s t ence . I m o g e n d o e s , how^ever, show^ a b r a v e s p i r i t , w^hen s h e s p o n t a n e o u s l y d e c i d e s t o d o n a m a n ' s c l o t h i n g a n d m a k e h e r c a t h a r t i c j o u r n e y t h r o u g h t h e w^oods. Whi le 37 no t emancipa ted from the old way of life, she proves herself capable of playing t h e sys tem to h e r be s t advantage ; s h e avoids a bloody d e a t h a n d wins h e r h u s b a n d back . S h e opts for life a t t he cost of freedom. Shcikespeare 's s tory unde r l ines t he t h e m e t h a t no t only a r e w^omen v u l n e r a b l e in t h e w^orld, b u t t h e y m a y a l so b e vu lnerab le to t h e very people w^ho profess to p ro tec t t h e m , the i r fa thers a n d h u s b a n d s . As long a s a w^oman is faithful to one mcin, s h e is a s s u r e d of he r own safety. Unfaithfulness, how^ever, equa ls a be t rayal of bo th h u s b a n d a n d father, a be t rayal of society, and, u l t imately , a be t raya l of t h e p a t r i a r c h a l sy s t em. H u s b a n d a n d fa ther c a n t h e n become h e r m o s t d a n g e r o u s foe. Imogen 's first conversa t ion ^vith Cymbeline is indicat ive of t h e t r e a t m e n t of a w^ajrward daugh te r , w^ho h a s dangerous ly s t rayed from t h e social cour se defined by m a n . Her crime is having c h o s e n a m a t e no t in concordance with he r father 's choice. For t h i s h e r fa ther bit terly be ra t e s her . The pa t r ia rch b u r s t s into a n explosive rage, Avhile t he accused daughte r resor ts to begging her father to calm himself: C3nnbeline: O disloyal th ing Tha t shou lds t repair m y youth , t h o u heap ' s t A yeair's age on me. Imogen: I beseech you, sir. H a r m n o t yourself wi th y o u r vexat ion. (I. i. 131-134) Not only does Cymbel ine expect h i s d a u g h t e r to t a k e 38 r e spons ib i l i t y for " repa i r ing" h i s y o u t h , h e now^ b l a m e s h e r u n a c c e p t a b l e mar r i age choice for add ing a year to h i s advanc ing age. Diane Elizabeth Dreher refers to the close connect ion between t h e f a t h e r - d a u g h t e r r e l a t ionsh ip , t h e dec l in ing fo r tunes of t h e pa t r i a r ch a n d eventua l dea th , i She po in t s to t h e fact t h a t twenty-one of Shakespea re ' s p lays deal with fa ther -daughter re la t ionships . Dreher sugges t s t h a t S h a k e s p e a r e m u s t have b e e n in t r igued wi th s u c h rela t ionships , having h a d tw^o d a u g h t e r s himself. S h e further sugges t s t h a t a father s u c h a s King Lear, or C3rmbellne, feels t he man t l e of old age coming on, and , sens ing h i s o^vn mortali ty, w^ants to mold h i s daugh te r , t h e first w^oman h e h a s ever b e e n able to dominate in h is life. Slgne Hammer suppor t s Dreher ' s vlew^: . . .at the h e a r t of t he fa ther -daughter re la t ionship lies the myst ique of perfect love. For her , it is the great love of he r independen t life. For him, a d a u g h t e r is, a t last, a controllable female, one h e c a n mold to h i s image of the ideal w^oman.2 Like Cymbellne, Capule t a n d Lear, Dreher con t inues , "the majority of Shakespea re ' s fa thers face midlife with imper ious a s s e i l i o n s of t h e i r p a t r i a r c h a l prerogat ives ."3 W h e n t h e y a r e c o n s e q u e n t l y "threatened by their daughte rs ' growing Independence and their own weaning powders, they become domineering tjrrants like Cjnnbeline or b u s y b o d l e s like Polonlus."4 The s ight of t h e younger , s t ronger offspring in t imida tes t h e older, w^eaker fa thers Avho a re closer to dea th . The aw^areness of their own mortal i ty c a u s e s Shakespea re ' s 39 insecure fa thers to impose d ras t i c m e a s u r e s in order to r e a s s u r e themselves of their own power. In addi t ion to th i s , fingincial cons idera t ions for Imogen's future m a s k Cymbeline 's t rue aim, Avhich is to control h i s daugh te r in order to e n s u r e t he cont inui ty of h i s genealogy a n d inher i tance: Cymbeline: Thou took'st a beggar, w^ouldst have made my th rone A sea t for ba senes s . (I. i, 141-142) To m a k e h i s p a t r i a r c h a l d i sp lay of pow^er comple te , Cymbel ine implies Imogen's subord ina t ion by accus ing h e r of being "mad" (I. i, 147) a n d of be ing "a foolish thing" (I. i, 150). He t h e n explicitly detai ls h i s mas te r - s lave re la t ionship vdth h i s daugh te r , giving t h e order: "Aw^ay with he r a n d p e n her u p " (I. i. 152). With Cymbeline. Shakespea re out l ines t he p h e n o m e n o n of ownership a n d control of women by men. As wife, too, Imogen is regarded a s property. P o s t h u m u s says "I pra ised h e r a s I r a ted her . So do I m y s tone" (I. iv. 81). In boas t ing of h i s wife to h i s friends, h e e q u a t e s h e r with, h i s r ing. Later, h e a t t e m p t s to have Imogen killed b e c a u s e of h e r supposed infidelity. Ironically, h e is respons ib le for h i s wife's con tac t ^vith lach imo. Fully aw^are of l ach imo ' s i n t en t ions t h r o u g h t h e w^ager they have m a d e , P o s t h u m u s is t h e d i shones t half of t h i s mar r i ed pa i r . He d u p e s t h e u n s u s p e c t i n g Imogen ^vlth h i s i n t roduc to ry letter, w^hich Imogen r eads aloud within hcctring of lachimo: He is one of the nobles t note , to whose 40 kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon him accordingly, as you value your trust— Leonatus. (I. vi. 22-25) It is not surprising that Imogen places her t rus t in lachimo ^vhen she is so directed by her husband. Neither is it surprising tha t Posthumus reacts violently towards Imogen when lachimo informs him of her infidelity. His violent reaction is not surprising because Posthumus is a man who, Avithout even questioning his Avife on the matter, accepts lachimo's w^ord as truth. Paramount to the issue, then, is the question: How^ can Pos thumus blame Imogen for a perceived infidelity Avhen he himself w^as the messenger of her downfall? He is partly to blame for duping her, and yet deigns to punish her by death Avhen she is so duped. Unlike Posthumus, Imogen does not have the freedom to move abroad, to have a vocation. Only under duress does she leave her home. The character of the homebound Imogen is in s tark contras t to t ha t of her w^orldly husband . In Act I, scene iv, Posthumus is portrayed as a man abroad on business, surrounded by fellow^s with Avhom he shares a healthy camaraderie. Imogen, on the other hand, is presented from the outset as a solitary figure, first arguing with a tjrrannical father, t hen conversing with lachimo, a m a n w^ho will cause her temporary fall from the patr iarchal circle. Even as Imogen reads her husband ' s note informing her of lachimo's integrity, her abuser is scheming against 41 her: lachlmo: (Aside) All of her that is out of door most rich! If she be furnished with a mind so rare. She is alone th' Arabian bird, and I Have lost the Avager. Boldness be my friend! Arm me, audacity, from head to foot. Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight— Rather, directly fly. (I. vl. 15-21) lachimo is correct in his ambiguous asser t ion tha t Imogen is alone. Indeed, she is singularly alone, even in her o^vn home. No one else in the play seems to have the aura of isolation that seems to doom her. First she is pitted against her father and step-mother w^ho both languish in the comfort of the kingdom. Then Cymbeline greets his stepson Avith more equanimity than he does his awn daughter: C5mibeline: A Avorthy felloAv, Albeit he comes on angry purpose now .^ But that 's no fault of his. (II. iii. 57-59). The credulous Imogen is freed to deliberate ^vith the unworthy Cloten early in the play. Cloten represents the same patriarchal att i tude tha t Cymbeline and the Queen adopt: "You sin against Obedience, which you ow e^ our father" (II. iii. 114). Thus Cloten and the patriarchy he represents counsel obedience, regcirdless of the exigency of Imogen's situation. Imogen remains alone and friendless until Act III scene iv w^hen Pisanio takes pity on her. When he suggests tha t Imogen disappear into the w^oods, she 42 qu ick ly s u m s u p h e r d e s p e r a t e fate: Imogen : W h y , good fellow. W h a t s h a l l I d o t h e w h i l e ? W h e r e b i d e ? H o w live? D e a d t o m y h u s b a n d . P i s a n i o : If you ' l l b a c k to t h e c o u r t -Imogen : No c o u r t , n o fa ther , n o r n o m o r e a d o W i t h t h a t h a r s h , n o b l e , s i m p l e n o t h i n g . T h a t C lo ten , w^hose love s u i t h a t h b e e n to m e A s fearful a s a s iege . (III. iv. 1 2 9 - 1 3 6 ) F e a r i n g for h e r a s a w^oman a l o n e i n t h e w^oods, P i s a n i o s u g g e s t s a d i s g u i s e , i n Avhich I m o g e n m u s t "forget t o b e a w^oman" (III. vi . 156). S h e m u s t forget a l l t h e s o c i a l a n d d o m e s t i c c u s t o m s of b e i n g a p r i n c e s s : P i san io : . . . C h a n g e c o m m a n d in to o b e d i e n c e , fear a n d n i c e n e s s — T h e h a n d m a i d s of all w^omen, o r m o r e t r u l y W o m a n i t p r e t t y se l f—in to a ^vaggish c o u r a g e ; R e a d y i n g ibes , quick-£inswered, s a u c y , a n d A s q u a r r e l o u s a s t h e w^easel. (III. iv. 156-161) O n c e a g a i n , o b e d i e n c e i s c o u n s e l l e d a s a s u r e o p t i o n for I m o g e n . I m o g e n l o s e s Avhat l i t t le pow^er s h e h a s , t h a t of b e i n g a c h a s t e p r i n c e s s i n h e r f a t h e r ' s p a t r i a r c h a l r e a l m , w^hen s h e l e a v e s t h e o p p r e s s i v e s a f e t y of h e r h o m e . T h e a l t e r n a t i v e i s s h a m e a n d p o s s i b l e d e a t h ; a h a r s h a n d c e r t a i n fate s h o u l d s h e r e t u r n t o h e r f a the r ' s k i n g d o m a s a n a d u l t e r o u s Avoman. T h e w o o d s r e p r e s e n t b o t h t h e d a n g e r s a n d t h e f reedom of t h e w^orld o u t s i d e t h e p a l a c e . T h e p o l i s h e d l a n g u a g e of t h e c o u r t i s now^ r e p l a c e d Avith t h e raw^ a n d n a t u r a l t o n e of t h e fo res t . It i s 43 h e r e , i n t h e v^^oods, t h a t t h e d e s i r e s of i n d i v i d u a l s a r e e x p r e s s e d . C l o t e n , noAv free of t h e c o n s t r a i n t s of C y m b e l l n e a n d h i s c o u r t , e x p o s e s h i s t r u e feelings tOAvard h i s s t e p - s i s t e r a n d P o s t h u m u s : Clo ten : P o s t h u m u s , t h y h e a d , w h i c h now^ i s g r o w i n g u p o n t h y s h o u l d e r s , s h a l l w i t h i n t h i s h o u r b e off, t h y m i s t r e s s enforced , t h y g a r m e n t s c u t to p i e c e s before h e r face; a n d all t h i s d o n e , s p u r n h e r h o m e to h e r fa ther , who m a y h a p l y b e a l i t t le a n g r y for m y s o r o u g h u s a g e ; b u t m y m o t h e r h a v i n g pow^er of h i s t e s t i n e s s , s h a l l t u r n a l l i n t o m y c o m m e n d a t i o n s . (IV. 1. 16-22) T h u s C y m b e l i n e ' s i n c o n g r u o u s l y g e n e r o u s t r e a t m e n t of C l o t e n a n d e q u a l l y i n c o n g r u o u s t r e a t m e n t of I m o g e n i n t h e e a r l y s c e n e s of t h e p l a y s e r v e s a s a c l ea r f o r e s h a d o w i n g of t h e m i s h a p betw^een C l o t e n a n d I m o g e n w h i c h follow^s. F o r al l c h a r a c t e r s invo lved t h e fo res t i s a l s o a g r e a t e q u a l i s e r of poAver. W h e n t h e d o o m e d C l o t e n d e m a n d s r e s p e c t for h i s s t a t i o n , G u l d e r l u s r e s p o n d s i n a n i ron ic t o n e : C lo t en : T h o u vi l la in b a s e , P^ow^'st m e n o t b y m y c l o t h e s ? G u l d e r l u s : No, n o r t h y ta i lor , r a s c a l . W h o i s t h y g r a n d f a t h e r . H e m a d e t h o s e c l o t h e s Avhich, a s i t s e e m s , m a k e t h e e . (IV. 11. 80-83) Ul t imate ly , c l o t h e s d o n o t m a k e t h e m a n , a s G u l d e r l u s a p t l y p o i n t s o u t , a n d I m o g e n m u s t b e s a v e d b y h e r b r o t h e r s , i n s p i t e of h e r d i sgu i se . 44 Once out of the Avoods, the ordered language and behaviour of the court resumes. Rogues, outcasts and runa^vays and the brutal customs of vdld animals do not exist at court. The woods w^ere simply a fantasy, a ^vindow^ in the w^orld of the patriarchy. They represent a possibility of what the Avorld -would be if the rules of bru te s t rength prevailed; Cymbeline's court represents the rigidly ordered w^orld that man has built, in w^hich men rule and w^omen serve. It is fitting that Imogen's final w^ords echo this reality: "My good master, I will yet do you service" (V. v. 403). Rosalind does not escape the enforced social reality of marriage at the end of her Journey; yet she does actively direct the main action of As You Like It. How^ever, she mus t assume a male identity in order to control the events of the play. This is because a w^oman, especially a talented w^oman, cannot be trusted. 'Those (Avomen) tha t (Fortune) makes fair, she sc£trce makes honest; and those that she makes honest, she makes very ill-favouredly" (I. i. 37-38). Rosalind's disguise seems to reflect the fact that w^omen's talents are actually a liability because they are Avomen. Otherwise, w^hy can she not accomplish her goals dressed as herself? The inference is tha t a w^oman does not possess any pow^er as a motivator of events. Moreover, Rosalind and Imogen both change their mode of dress not only because of their lack of credibility as females and their fear of danger in the public arena, bu t because 45 b o t h a r e os t rac i sed ; Imogen is o u t c a s t b e c a u s e of a perceived infidelity a n d Rosal ind b e c a u s e s h e is t h e d a u g h t e r of t h e rightful D u k e . And so polit ics, pOAver s t ruggles a n d family re la t ionsh ips form a centra l t heme of As You Like It. The t heme of t he untrustAvorthy Avoman c a n be found in m u c h of 17 th c e n t u r y l i t e ra tu re . The no t ion of w^oman a s t h e "Aveaker vessel" Avas b lamed on Eve's "audac ious behaviour in t he Garden of Eden . "5 S u c h theor i s t s "accepted t h e not ion of Avoman's mora l inferiority (and) s imply concent ra ted on the e te rna l vigilance necessa ry to keep the devil from tempt ing the Avoman a n d caus ing h e r to f a l l — y e t again ."6 It was n o t difficult for "ce r t a in propagcindists (who w^ere moved) tow^ards t h e not ion of w^oman a s i n h e r e n t l y evil"7 to conc lude t h a t a n y w^oman perceived to b e "fallen" h a d resor ted to witchcraft . While Rosa l ind m a y n o t be a c c u s e d of witchcraft , t h e t r ick of t h e d i sgu i se is a device t h a t S h a k e s p e a r e could n o t do wi thou t in order to achieve a degree of credibility. Good girls c a n n o t b e t a k e n ser ious ly a s leaders , a n d t a len ted or amb i t i ous girls a re evil, so t h e only r ecou r se w a s to choose disguise in the form of one Avho could be t a k e n ser iously a s a t rus ted leader: Man. True to pa t r i a rcha l s t r uc tu r e . As You Like It begins no t wath t he s tory of Rosal ind b u t wi th the s tory of a m a n , Or lando. Orlando lacks powder because of primogeniture; h e is for t h a t reason a marg ina l i sed cha rac t e r , n o t un l ike Rosa l ind . Or l ando ' s first 46 Avords speak of h i s d i sda in tOAvards h i s b ro the r Oliver: "He lets me feed with h i s h inds , b a r s mie t he place of a bro ther , and , a s m u c h a s in h im lies, m i n e s m y gentility Avith my educat ion" (L i . 18-20). Rosal ind, a w^oman, na tu ra l ly s u b o r d i n a t e s herself, focussing no t o n h e r own crisis , b u t on h e r fa ther 's . In h e r first exchange wi th Celia, s h e says : "Unless you could t each m e to forget a b a n i s h e d father, you m u s t no t l ea rn me how^ to r emember a n y ext raordinary p l ea su re" (I. ii. 3-5). T h u s w^omen a re t a u g h t t h a t to cen t re on their oAvn prob lems is selfish; to concern oneself wi th t he problems of o the r s is a n ac t of self lessness a n d therefore appropr ia te social b e h a v i o u r for a w^oman. T h a t s h e v icar ious ly d e a l s wi th h e r p rob lems by concerning herself with he r father shou ld satisfy a n y emotional needs she m a y have. The nega t ion of female ident i ty a n d female pow^er is Impor t an t to t h e e n t r e n c h m e n t of ma le pow^er. This nega t ion is achieved in a myr iad of w^ays. For example , a large por t ion of female pow^er lies in -woman's ability to give b i r th . W h a t bet ter Avay to eradicate liie pOAver of t he female t h a n to deny t h e impor tance of chi ldbearing by equa t ing it with death , to be feared. This equat ion is m a d e Avhen Char les says of Orlando: "Come, where is th i s young ga l lan t t h a t i s so d e s i r o u s to lie wi th h i s m o t h e r e a r t h ? " (I. ii. 190). Equa t ing t he female with b i r th a n d d e a t h t r ans fo rms bir th , w^hich is n a t u r a l a n d beautiful , into somiething evil, to be feared a n d certainly no t to be t rus ted . 47 Another w^ay of en t renching power In favour of one group Is to p r e a c h fanatical loyalty to t h a t g roup a t t he exclus ion of all o the r loyalties. Loyalty to one ' s o^vn beliefs m u s t b e sacrificed. C o n s t a n t a l l u s i ons to b o n d i n g toge the r a n d loyal t ies to one ' s family r a the r t h a n to the significance of t he individual r ecu r in Act I. T h e absence of a n y t h o u g h t s pe r ta in ing to individual ident i ty po in t s to t h e ru le t h a t par t ic ipat ion in s u c h ta lk is shamefu l a n d disloyal to one 's family. Cellar Is it possible on s u c h a s u d d e n you shou ld fall into so s t rong a liking wi th old Sir Row^land's youngest son? Rosalind: The Duke my father loved h i s father dearly. Cellar Doth it therefore e n s u e t h a t you shou ld love h i s son dearly? By th i s k ind of chase , I should h a t e him, for my father h a t e d h i s fa ther dearly; yet I h a t e no t Orlando. (I. ill. 26-33) Celia e x p r e s s e s t h e I m p o r t a n c e of i n d i v i d u a l cho ice , Avhile Rosalind expresses the socially acceptable wish to jo in a family o n the bas i s of loyalty to he r father, even if s h e m u s t nega te he r own identity. Similar ta lk of bonding a n d loyalties is employed by Duke Frederick to inform Rosal ind s h e is no longer w^elcome in h e r o\vn homer Rosalindr . . .your mi s t ru s t canno t m a k e me a trai tor . Tell me whereon the likelihoods depends . Duker Thou a r t thy father 's daughter , there ' s enough. Rosalindr So w^as 1 when your Highness took h i s di ikedom; So Avas 1 when your Highness ban i shed h im. (1. ill. 53-58) 48 R o s a l i n d s p e l l s o u t t h e u n f a i r n e s s of D u k e F r e d e r i c k ' s se lec t ive o s t r a c i s m b a s e d o n h i s pol i t ica l aff i l ia t ions: R o s a l i n d : T r e a s o n i s n o t i n h e r i t e d , m y lo rd . . . m i s t a k e m e n o t so m u c h To t h i n k m y p o v e r t y i s t r e a c h e r o u s . (I. iii. 5 9 . 62-63) T h u s R o s a l i n d q u e s t i o n s w h y s h e s h o u l d b e o u t c a s t b e c a u s e of h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p Avith h e r fa ther ; t h a t i s , ^vhy s h e s h o u l d b e p e r s e c u t e d b e c a u s e of h e r m i s f o r t u n e of b e i n g h e r f a t h e r ' s d a u g h t e r . S i n c e D u k e F r e d e r i c k view^s R o s a l i n d a s a n a d j u n c t of h e r f a t h e r a n d n o t a n i n d i v i d u a l , s h e i s c o n s i d e r e d a t r a i t o r b a s e d o n h e r f a t h e r ' s b e h a v i o u r . A n y good q u a l i t i e s of c h a r a c t e r s h e m a y p o s s e s s a r e d i s r ega rded . T h e fo res t p l o t i n AYLI p r o v i d e s a n e s c a p e f rom D u k e F r e d e r i c k ' s t h r e a t of e x e c u t i o n . T h e soc ia l c o n d i t i o n s of R o s a l i n d ' s life t a k e o n a s e n s e of a d v e n t u r e d u r i n g h e r t e n u r e i n t h e w^oods; a l a s , h e r f r e e d o m t o a g g r e s s i v e l y p u r s u e r o m a n c e a n d d i r e c t t h e s o c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s of o t h e r s i s a s s h o r t l ived a s h e r s t a y i n t h e F o r e s t of A r d e n . O n c e h e r a d v e n t u r e s i n t h e p u b l i c d o m a i n c o m e t o a n e n d , R o s a l i n d a s s u m e s t h e t r a d i t i o n a l ro le of wife £tnd r e s u m e s h e r ro le a s du t i fu l d a u g h t e r . S h a k e s p e a r e ' s u s e of t h e fores t a s p l a y w i t h i n a p l a y allow^s R o s a l i n d to enjoy s o m e t e m p o r a r y f reedom, ye t h e r t r a d i t i o n a l ro le i s s e c u r e b e c a u s e h e r s t i n t i n t h e fo re s t i s framed w i t h i n a f a n t a s y r e a l m . R o s a l i n d i s n o t l i t e ra l ly a l o n e a s i s I m o g e n . B u t e v e n 49 ^vith t he p resence of Cella In AYLI. the re Is a sense , especially after they en ter the forest, t h a t these are t^vo young vromen alone in t he w^orld. They a re a lone ideologically, b e c a u s e in leaving toge ther t h e y a r e s h u n n i n g D u k e Freder i ck ' s p a t r i a r c h a l d o m a i n a n d therefore t h e protect ion it affords -women. Rosal ind a n d Cella a re a lso physical ly a lone, ^vithout t h e pro tec t ion of m e n . Yet Cella convinces Rosa l ind t h e y shou ld r e m a i n toge ther : "Shall Ave b e sund ' red , shal l we par t , s^veet girl? No, let m y father seek ano the r heir" (I. ill. 96-97) . Cella's wil l ingness to forfeit h e r inhe r i t ance indicates he r loyalty to Rosalind, t h u s Rosalind c a n be a s su red s h e will no t be alone. In spite of Cella's camarader ie , Rosal ind is apprehens ive abou t the dangers of enter ing the forest: "Beauty provoketh thieves sooner t h a n gold" (1. ill. 108). For th i s r e a s o n a n d b e c a u s e she is "more t h a n common tall" (I. ill. 113) Rosalind decides to d ress a s a m a n . She believes he r in te rna l fear AVIU be h i d d e n a s w^ell a s h e r external body: "...In m y hea r t lie the re ^vhat h i d d e n w^oman's fear the re will, w e^'U have a s^vashing a n d a mar i t ia l outs ide . . . " (I. ill. 116-118). Once in t h e forest, Rosa l ind ' s first w^ords conce rn t h e fact t h a t c lo thes m a k e the m a n : "I could find in m y h e a r t to disgrace my m a n ' s appare l a n d to cry like a w^oman..." (II. Iv. 3-4). Rosa l ind s e e m s to be i ronical ly c o m m e n t i n g o n t h e idea t h a t w^omen a re n a t u r a l l y no t a s c o u r a g e o u s a s m e n ; m o r e likely. 50 h o w e v e r , S h a k e s p e a r e ' s c h a r a c t e r i s s i m p l y r e f l e c t i n g t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y a t t i t u d e to-wards w^omen. R o s a l i n d , of c o u r s e , r e m a i n s po^verful a n d i n d e p e n d e n t o n l y Avhile s h e i s i n t h e fores t . O n c e s h e i s o u t of t h e fores t , h e r Avords t a k e o n a s e l f - d e p r e c a t i n g t o n e : "I Avill Aveary y o u t h e n n o l o n g e r w i t h id le t a l k i n g " (V. ii. 5 1 - 5 2 ) . T h e fiery G a n y m e d e of t h e Avoods w h o w o u l d n o t give a s e c o n d t h o u g h t to s p e a k i n g h e r m i n d i s g o n e ; R o s a l i n d , ^vi thout a m a l e i d e n t i t y to v a l i d a t e h e r p o s s e s s i o n of a n o p i n i o n , d o e s n o t w^ant t o b o r e h e r a u d i e n c e \ ^ t h h e r id le f e m i n i n e c h a t t e r . I t s e e m s t h a t , vri th t h e m a r r i a g e s a t t h e e n d of A s You Like It. R o s a l i n d ' s e p i s o d i c c r o s s - d r e s s i n g c o m e s t o a n e n d , a s d o e s h e r i n d e p e n d e n c e a n d t h e r e f o r e a n y pow^er, o r p e r h a p s energy , to d o a n y t h i n g o t h e r t h a n -what w^ould s e e m to b e w i t h i n t h e r e a l m of n o r m a l c y . O n c e t h e m a r r i a g e s o c c u r , R o s a l i n d s a y s t o t h e D u k e "I'll h a v e n o f a the r , if y o u b e n o t h e " (To O r l a n d o ) "I'll h a v e n o h u s b a n d , if y o u b e n o t h e " (V. iv. 1 2 2 - 1 2 3 ) . W i t h t h e s e s t a t e m e n t s , R o s a l i n d r e c l a i m s h e r p o s i t i o n a s w^oman v^ithin t h e p a t r i a r c h a l c o n t e x t . If t h e fores t i s a m e t a p h o r for t h e e s c a p e to a new^ w^orld, t h e n t h e fores t i s a l s o a m e t a p h o r for t h e d a n g e r s t h e w^orld h o l d s for w^omen a s t h e y t r y t o i m p r o v e t h e i r c i r c u m s t a n c e . R o s a l i n d ' s comfor t ing w^ords to Cel ia a t t h e i r e n t r a n c e i n t o t h e F o r e s t of A r d e n i n d i c a t e t h a t s h e h a s s o m e r e a s o n t o fear for t h e f u t u r e : " C o u r a g e , good Al i ena" (II. iv. 7-8) . I n s p i t e of t h e i r c o u r a g e t h e s o j o u r n 51 t h r o u g h t h e forest does no t pe rmanen t l y change the i r circumstances. In fact, with the emergence from the w^oods at the end of As You Like It. Rosalind's -world is not transformed; instead her circumstances revert to those that existed before her father's ostracism by Duke Frederick. Shakespeare's aim seems to be something other than the discovery of better circumstances for Avomen. AVittingly or not, the sum of such plays as C y m b e l i n e and As You Like It is the reinforcement of a pa t r iarchal system tha t h a s provided a successful venue for this pla5nvright. At first glance, the use of the forest simply appears to be a device Shakespeare employs to mcike the plot more interesting to the audience. In the end, however, the forest in As You Like It provides only a temporary reprieve from the patriarchal Avorld. The endings of both As You Like It and Cymbeline signify many endings: The end of feminine venturings and the end of temporary feminine "independence." It is ironic because the tw o^ heroines do not experience any truly last ing achievement or independence from the patriarchal system v^hich imprisons them. They only succeed in reinforcing tha t system by partaking of the role t ha t "good" girls traditionally part icipate in, namely the marriage role. Economically and socially they have no other choice. There is a sense too tha t once the romantic goals are reached, there is no further goal necessary for Imogen or Rosalind 52 to achieve. Their mar r i age goals are the i r only life goals . T h u s these cha rac te r s a re any th ing b u t feminists: indeed they ul t imately reinforce a sys tem t h a t AVIU p ro tec t t h e m only if t hey a re "good" girls. Women only ven tu re into t he ^voods in the rea lm of fantasy: the i r opinions c a n b e respected a n d their lead foUow^ed only ^vhen there is a male m a s k to their identity. 53 NOTES CHAPTER TWO 1 Diane Elizabeth Dreher, Domination and Defiance: Fathers and Daughters in Shakespeare. (Lexington: Kentucky UP, 1986), 1. 2 Signe Hammer, Passionate Attachments. (New^ York: Rawson, 1982), 9. 3 Dreher, 6. 4 Dreher, 6. 5 Antonia Fraser, The Weaker Vessel: AVoman's Lot in 17th Century England. (London: Weidenfeld, 1984), 1. 6 Fraser, 2. 7 Fraser, 2. 54 Chapter III: Juliet and Cordelia: Freedom at the Cost of Life Individuality is the enemy of any routine system such as the one instated by patriarchal rule. Whether male or female, all have a preconceived part to play, according to the strict rules laid down by societal norms. The stifling of individuality also stifles any possibilities outside of marriage tha t a character like Juliet may aspire to. Juliet 's need for independence, ho^vever, is so great that she risks losing a reliable husband and a solid financial and social future. In fact, she sacrifices her life in order to assert her independence. The romantic notion tha t Jul iet r isks all simply because she favours one lover over another is an underestimation of her sense of self. Her need to assert her OAvn choice in the face of her family's and society's denial becomes more important than life itself. Thus the w^oman's role is alw^ays t ha t of seeking val idat ion \vithin the male s t r u c t u r e d society. Men are automatically validated by virtue of their gender; they can move beyond the role of searching for validation to achieving glory and power. But -with the poAver comes the responsibility of providing for the family. Juliet 's father is bound by the traditions of his culture to provide for his possession, his daughter Juliet. In his mind he may be providing a good match for Juliet, but he is also stifling any individuality of choice his daughter may wish to assert. Thus the 55 tAvo a re forever a t odds . The repress ion of Ju l i e t ' s individual free ^vill, of course , r esu l t s in tragedy. While w^omen m u s t prove themse lves w^orthy by be ing submiss ive , m e n have been t a u g h t to be aggressive in t h e n a m e of the communi ty . Their roles a s all powerful Avarriors a n d protectors h a s somehow^ become intertwined, so t h a t powder a n d sexuali ty are confused. Coppelia Kahn po in t s ou t t h a t t he m e n in Romeo a n d J u l i e t a r e requ i red to defend the i r families ' h o n o u r by fighting o the rs over t he sl ightest provocation.! Fur the rmore , t he feud also "provides a psycho-sexua l mora to r i um for t h e sons."2 Ins tead of cou r t sh ip leading to mar r i age a n d s epa ra t i on from t h e paternail house , t h e m e n "mus t prove themselves m e n by phallic violence on behalf of the i r fathers"3 T h u s sex is l inked Avith sexual aggress ion r a the r t h a n with p leasure a n d love.4 S h a k e s p e a r e es tab l i shes t he sex-as-po^ver i s sue a n d the concept of rticde camarader ie in the first scene of Romeo a n d Ju l i e t a s demons t r a t ed by the c rude b a n t e r of Gregory and Sampson: Sampson : A dog of t h a t h o u s e shal l move m e to s t and . I will t ake the w^all of a n y m a n or ma id of Montague 's . Gregory: Tha t show^s thee a w^eak slave; for t he w^eakest goes to t he w^all. Sampson : T is t rue ; a n d therefore Avomen, being the w^eaker vessels , a re ever t h r u s t to t he w^all. Therefore I will p u s h Montague ' s m e n from the w^all a n d t h r u s t h i s m a i d s to t he w^all (I. i. 12-20). 56 The unholy un ion of sex a n d po^ver is only one force u sed to eradicate individuality in favour of t he perceived greater good of t h e social cu l ture . Unfortunately, th i s communi ty is suppor t ed by r u l e s b a s e d in sex ism a n d violence: t h i s in t u r n p rese rves a t rad i t ion ^vhich is u l t imate ly self-destructive, r espons ib le for t h e d e a t h s of t he offspring t h a t Avould pe rpe tua te it. T h e I n s t i t u t i o n of m a r r i a g e h a s t r ad i t iona l ly forced w^omen to conform to a narroAvly defined role model . Al though acquiesc ing to marr iage b r ings a b o u t resolut ion a n d h a p p i n e s s a t t he end of comedies , it spells d i sas te r for those v^ho strive for free choice , a s does J u l i e t . J u l i e t e n t e r s in to h e r t r ag ic conflict i nnocen t of t h e consequences . Ho^vever, s h e quickly s e n s e s t h e ser ious import of he r s i tua t ion u p o n learning Romeo's identity: Jul ie t : My only love, s p r u n g from m y only ha te ! Too early seen unkno\vn, amd knoAvn too late! Prodigious b i r th of love it is to m e Tha t 1 m u s t love a loathed enemy. (1. v. 140-143) Ju l i e t appropriately real ises tha t , t hough Romeo m a y be a "loathed enemy," it is too late to simply avoid h im altogether. Their meet ing h a s already t aken place Eind their pass ion h a s a firm hold on them. Once J u l i e t m a r r i e s Romeo, s h e f inds herse l f in t h e d i lemma of being marr ied to he r father 's enemy a n d being bet rothed to a n o t h e r m a n ; it is th i s d i lemma t h a t leads h e r to h e r fatal p lan . Ju l i e t ' s d i lemma is a resul t of he r role a s a n i tem of possess ion; a s 57 Capu le t ' s d a u g h t e r s h e m u s t b e m a r r i e d off. Ult imately, h e r d i l emma r e su l t s from a combina t ion of h e r o^vn impuls iveness in marry ing Romeo a n d of having a n un-wanted marr iage foisted u p o n h e r by p a r e n t s w^ho selfishly t h i n k only of t h e con t i nuance of t he family line a n d financial considera t ions . Capulet : Doth she no t give u s t h a n k s ? Is s h e not p roud? Doth she not coun t he r blest , Unvrorthy a s s h e is, t h a t we have wrought So -worthy a gen t leman to be he r br ide? (111. v. 143-146) The p a t r i a r c h y p ro t ec t s only t h o s e w^ho a d h e r e to i t s r u l e s ; J u l i e t ' s d e a t h is proof of t h i s . Indeed , t h e t h r e a t of os t rac ism is no idle t h r e a t by Capule t b u t a d ic ta te of t h e cu l tura l n o r m s h e subsc r ibes to. Ju l i e t is excluded from mcLking decisions concern ing h e r own life. The r e a s o n s for t h i s a re o u t of Ju l i e t ' s control b u t a re Justifiable from the societal po in t of view^. Even t h o u g h Ju l i e t l acks power a n d credibility wi th in t h e male-defined cul ture she is forced to live in, she nonethe less empow^ers herself by h e r own n a t u r e . By locating or asser t ing t he pe rsona l pow^eT t h a t is avai lable to h e r b u t r e p r e s s e d by t h e cu l t u r e , s h e a t t e m p t s to overcome h e r pow^erlessness a s a n individual ^vithin t h e society. Capulet crow^s loudly abou t h i s expectat ion t h a t Ju l i e t will be ruled by him, a n d him alone: "I t h ink she will be ru led in all respec ts by me; n a y more, I d o u b t it not" (III. iv. 13-14). W h e n Ju l i e t su rp r i ses h im with, a n opposing point of view^, he a c c u s e s h e r of resor t ing to 58 "chopped logic" (III. v. 149) a n d t h r e a t e n s h e r -with os t r ac i sm: " . . .hang, beg, s tarve , die in t h e s t ree t s , for, b y m y soul , I'll ne 'er acknoAvledge thee , nor Avhat is mine shal l never do thee good" (III. V. 194-196). Ju l i e t ^^nll no t adhe re to t he ru l e s of t he pa t r ia rchy; Capulet will no t ackno^vledge Jul ie t ' s independence. The fa ther c o n t i n u e s to rail a t J u l i e t w^hen h e rea l i ses s h e is no t acqu iesc ing to h i s need for a su i t ab l e heir ; b u t h e sof tens w^hen s h e l a t e r s e e m s to s u b m i t : ' T h i s i s a s ' t s h o u l d be.. .My hea r t is w^ondrous light, s ince th i s s a m e w^ayw^ard girl is so reclaimed" (IV. ii. 29 , 46-47) . Capule t ' s Avords s eem to indica te t h a t h e is j05rful a t h i s daugh te r ' s ma tu r i ty in deciding to m a r r y t he r ight m a n , a m a n ^vho will g u a r a n t e e h e r a secu re financial a n d social future . There is, how^ever, no respec t in Capule t ' s ^vords for a n y decision Ju l i e t m a y have m a d e regarding h e r marr iage; there is only h i s relief t h a t t he bes t possible m a t c h h a s been m a d e . Only t h r o u g h a s s u m i n g a n appropr ia te heir c a n Capule t ' s genealogy b e assured. Tradit ionally, one w^ay of s i lencing w^omen h a s b e e n to criticise t hem: "Unw^orthy, disobedient , whining" (III. v. 144, 160, 184) are j u s t some of t he abusive w^ords t h a t a re applied to Ju l ie t . It is a choice of vocabulary t h a t clearly reveals Capule t ' s s trategy. His s e n s e of pow^er i s t h r e a t e n e d b y J u l i e t ' s o p p o s i t i o n ; consequent ly , h e t r ies to int imidate he r with a s t r ing of insu l t s : 59 Capulet: Out, you greensickness carrion! Out, you baggage! You tallow-face! Juliet: Good father, I beseech you on my knees, hear me with patience bu t to speak a w^ord. (III. v. 156. 158-59) Words such as carrion ctnd baggage indicate the father's attitude tow^ard his daughter. She is a burden w^hose only hope is to be married. Capulet demands Juliet 's acquiescence; Jul iet begs for her father's permission to speak. While the male-defined cultural norms allow^ for Capulet's open show^ of power, Juliet mus t cloak her assertlveness behind a mask of submission. She cannot openly display the decision she h a s already made to marry Romeo; asserting the pow^er of choice over her o^vn life is not acceptable because of her age Etnd gender. Seeing that no compromise ^vith her father is possible, Juliet has no choice bu t to collude ^vith the friar and elope with Romeo. She readily enters into a complex plan ^dth the friar: Friar: If, rather than to marry County Paris, Thou has t the strength of will to slay thyself ...I'll give thee remedy. (IV. i. 71-72, 76) Juliet 's decision to enlist the friar's help is not necessarily borne of spite toward her parents. The larger issue is her determination to be with Romeo at any cost. At her tender age, love appears to be the only thing w^orth fighting for. Juliet 's fight for Romeo is an 60 extension of her will to assert pow^er over her own life; yet having powder over her life does not necessarily entail hostility tow^ard her parents. Indeed, ingenuousness rather than hostility marks Juliet Avhen she clamours to die rather than marry Paris: Juliet: O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris, From off the battlements of any tow^er... Or bid me go into a new^-made grave And hide me with a dead maji in his shroud— Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble— And I ^vill do it without fear or doubt. To live an unstained wife to my s^veet love. (IV. 1. 71-78, 84-88) The economic and social role of w^omen in the patriarchy dictates that Juliet has no poAver to choose her o^vn future simply because she is female. Had she been respected to the extent that she could at least discuss choices with her parents, Juliet w^ould not have felt so desperate as to stage such an elaborate and fatal plain. Instead she is treated only as chattel by her father. Jul ie t ' s asser t ion of her own identity th rea tens her father's position and causes him to retaliate. Elizabeth Dreher sees Shakespea re ' s pai r ings of fa thers and d a u g h t e r s a s representing the daughters ' need to grow^ to matur i ty and the fathers ' need to impede th is process in order to retain their potency. 5 Juliet 's need to assert her Independence is obviously at odds w^lth he r father 's need to re ta in pow^er and youth . 61 "Shakespeare 's fathers are shocked and h u r t by w^hat they experience as personal rejection. "6 Thus the oppression of-women by men is represented by the conflict bet-ween Juliet and her father. Shakespeare begins I^ng Lear with a display of Cordelia's individuality: "I love your Majesty according to my bond, no more nor less" (I, i. 94-95). The tragedies of both father and daughter are foreshadow^ed ^vhen Lear responds not Avith empathy, but with a show^ of powder on his own behalf. Lear first tries to cajole Cordelia ^^rith a threat: "Mend your speech a little, lest you may mar your fortunes" (I, i, 96-97). Lear cannot or will not acknow^ledge Cordelia's independence. When she ^vill not acquiesce, he uses the pow^er of his position to destroy her future: "...Thy t ru th then be thy dowser!...Here I disclaim all my paternal care" (I, i, 110, 115). Le£tr attempts to entrench his own royal tradition by threatening to destroy Cordelia's individual rights. The King, noting the decline of his ov^ n:i fortunes, w^ants to assure himself of a Avorthy heir. Cordelia's failure to assure Lear of her loyalty is her downfall. Her choice of honesty over flattery is misconstrued by Lear as a show^ of disrespect. The daughter, in following her own ins t incts does not follow^ t radi t ions held sacrosanct by her father and his male-defined culture. Lear's sudden response suggests disgust 'with her attitude: By attacking Cordelia 's beliefs and reneging h is respons ib i l i ty as a n unders tanding father, he sets in motion a series of destructive 62 e v e n t s . King L e a r l i m i t s C o r d e l i a ' s ro le i n t h e Avorld. F i r s t , h e d e n i e s h e r r i g h t t o i n d i v i d u a l t h o u g h t . H i s d e n i a l i r r e v o c a b l y e r o d e s Corde l i a ' s c redib i l i ty i n t h e p u b l i c a r e n a of c o u r t life. Lea r ' s d i s a p p r o v a l r e s u l t s i n Corde l i a ' s soc ia l d i s g r a c e Avithin h e r c u l t u r e , Lea r h a s h a d a n d st i l l h a s po-wer i n t h e wor ld ; no-w, ho^vever, h e Is se l f ishly t r y i n g to k e e p Corde l i a from d e v e l o p i n g h e r own s e n s e of pOAver. Corde l i a ' s i nd iv idua l i t y show^s i n h e r l a n g u a g e , a c t i o n s a n d i d e a s : W h y h a v e m y s i s t e r s h u s b a n d s , if t h e y s a y t h e y love y o u a l l? Haply , w h e n I s h a l l ^ved, t h a t lord ^vhose h a n d m u s t t a k e m y p l igh t s h a l l c a r r y ha l f m y love v d t h h i m , ha l f m y catre aind d u t y . S u r e I s h a l l n e v e r m a n y l ike m y s i s t e r s , to love m y f a t h e r al l . (I. 1. 9 8 - 1 0 2 ) S h e e x p r e s s e s h e r s e l f a s a n i nd iv idua l : t h i s d i f f e ren t i a t e s h e r f rom h e r s i s t e r s , w^ho t r y t o o p e r a t e Avithin t h e p a t r i l i n e a r s y s t e m . Lea r ' s acknow^ledgemen t of C o r d e l i a w^ould h a v e allow^ed h e r t o OAvn h e r i n d i v i d u a l i t y w i t h p r i d e ; i n s t e a d h i s fear of d e a t h c a u s e s h i m to h o l d o n to a n y s e m b l a n c e of poAver p o s s i b l e a n d i n t h e p r o c e s s h e d e n i e s Cordel ia h e r m a t u r i t y a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e . L i n d a B a m b e r s u g g e s t s t h a t "in t h e t r a g e d i e s w^e r e s p o n d to t h e w^omen c h a r a c t e r s ve ry la rge ly o n t h e b a s i s of o u r i n t e r e s t i n t h e h e r o ; o u r v i s i o n of t h e f e m i n i n e i s m e d i a t e d b y o u r d e s i r e s o n b e h a l f of t h e men . "7 B a m b e r n o t e s , a s a n e x a m p l e , t h a t Ave feel 63 s t r o n g e s t a b o u t C o r d e l i a w h e n "we s e e h e r f ee l ings for Lea r . "8 I n s t e a d of h e r b e h a v i o u r b e i n g i m p o r t a n t b e c a u s e of h o w it affects h e r o w n f o r t u n e s , i t i s i m p o r t a n t on ly a s i t affects Lea r ' s . W h y i s t h e i m p o r t a n c e of C o r d e l i a ' s t r a g e d y t h u s d i m i n i s h e d b y t h i s a t t i t u d e i n King L e a r ? B e c a u s e t h e m a t u r i t y a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e of a w^oman i s s e c o n d a r y t o L e a r ' s t r a g e d y of m o r t a l i t y , C o r d e l i a ' s c h a r a c t e r i s s u b o r d i n a t e d to Lear ' s . F r o m t h e o u t s e t , L e a r e s t a b l i s h e s h i m s e l f a s t h e m a s t e r , a n d C o r d e l i a d o e s n o t o p e n l y c r i t i c i s e L e a r ' s h a r s h n e s s tow^ards h e r . Leair d o e s n o t s e e Corde l i a a s defer r ing ; r a t h e r , h e s e e s h e r a s m a k i n g a fool of h i m . H e t h r e a t e n s h e r t o ' m e n d h e r s p e e c h ' . E s c h e w i n g a r g u m e n t a n d sho^ving fierce loyal ty, Co rde l i a r e s p o n d s n o t w i t h a t h r e a t b u t ^vith de fe rence : Good m y lord. You h a v e bego t m e , b r e d m e , loved m e . I r e t u r n t h o s e d u t i e s b a c k a s a r e r i g h t fit. O b e y y o u , love you , a n d m o s t h o n o u r y o u . (I,i, 9 8 - 1 0 2 ) I n s p i t e of h e r a t t e m p t t o b e d e f e r e n t i a l , t h e K i n g i n s i s t s o n p a t r i l i n e a r a d h e r e n c e o r n o t h i n g . C o r d e l i a h a s a g o o d c o m m a n d of t h e l a n g u a g e a n d p r e s e n t s a r e a s o n a b l e a r g u m e n t . A n d ye t , Leair's r e s p o n s e to h e r e l o q u e n t s p e e c h l e a v e s h e r pow^erless; i n h i s r a g e , c o n f u s i o n a n d i g n o r a n c e , h e c h o o s e s to m i s c o n s t r u e h e r Avords: Lear: S o y o u n g , a n d s o u n t e n d e r ? Corde l ia : S o y o u n g , m y lord, aind t r u e (I, i, 108 , 109). C o r d e l i a ' s a s s e s s m e n t of t h e s i t u a t i o n m u s t s u r e l y b e t h a t s h e i s 64 being completely h o n e s t with h e r father, a n d therefore fair. Lear 's a s s e s s m e n t , from h i s pa t r i a rcha l perspective, is necessar i ly qui te different. He perceives he r a s h i s female offspring Avho is u s ing h i s own l anguage to m a k e a fool of h im. To Lear, Cordel ia fur ther d iminishes the royal po^ver by he r disrespectful a t t i tude . Te resa de Laure t i s ' s u m s u p t h e "w^oman problem" b y sugges t ing t h a t w^omen, n o m a t t e r how^ a r t i cu la te , m u s t forever defer to m e n . To i l lus t ra te th i s p h e n o m e n o n , s h e a l ludes to t he s tory of H u m p t y D u m p t y ' s mee t ing ^vith Alice in T h r o u g h t h e Looking- Glass: "When I u s e a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a r a the r scornful tone, "it m e a n s j u s t w^hat 1 choose it to m e a n -nei ther more nor less." 'The ques t ion is," sa id Alice, "^vhether you can make Avords m e a n so m a n y different things." "The ques t ion is," said H u m p t y Dumpty , "w^hich is to be m a s t e r — t h a t ' s all. "9 de Laure t i s po in t s ou t t h a t like all m a s t e r s , "Humpty D u m p t y is a r r o g a n t a n d very r u d e to Alice.. .yet s h e feels obliged to b e pol i te . "10 Cordelia a n d J u l i e t b o t h a t t e m p t to r e a s o n ^vlth the i r fa thers ; b o t h fall. The re la t ionsh ips of J u l i e t a n d Cordel ia with. t h e i r f a t h e r s exemplify t h e pow^er m e n ho ld over w^omen. Ultimately, no w^oman c a n ^vin an a r g u m e n t ^vith t h e pa t r i a r chy us ing the language developed by a cu l tu re t h a t excludes w^omen in importaint a reas s u c h a s politics a n d latnguage: 65 (Alice) tries to make conversation with no idea that her simple questions are taken by him as riddles: riddles, how^ever, to which he has all the ansv^ers, for precisely conversation, speech and language, is the terrain in Avhich his mastery is exercised. ^ Thus, a verbal gap exists betw^een men and w^omen. Just as a gap of communication exists betAveen King Lear and Cordelia, or Capulet and Juliet . This gap of communicat ion prevents change and preserves patriarchal rule. Even though she is initially ostracised by her father, Cordelia later show^s compassion in Lear's hour of need. Is she stUl deferring to him? In Cordelia's first interchginge with Lear, he selfishly chooses to defend his royal and paternal image, while Cordelia is opinionated, defiant. In their final interchange, w^hen Cordelia could have continued to show^ an independent attitude, she chooses empathy instead: "...Wast thou fain, poor father. To hovel thee Avith swine and rogues forlorn, in short and musty straw?" (IV. vU. 38-40). As is the norm in Shakespeare, Cordelia's acting out of the traditional role takes precedence over her o^vn needs and beliefs. Her magnanimous attitude tow^ard a father w^ho has been antagonistic tow^ard her independence all along show^s tha t since Lear cannot change, she must, in order to make peace: patriarchal rule and feminism cannot be reconciled. 66 Corde l ia ' s c o m p a s s i o n for h e r f a the r is a n acknoAvledgment of personal failure. Her empathy sho"ws the audience tha t a w^oman cannot be independent without being perceived as heartless. More important, Shakespeare's story sho^vs a w^oman making a choice is a direct threa t to the patriarchy. Cordelia, in the end, reunites with her father, w^ho now^ is more pow^erless than she ever was. Her choice to be caring tow^ard the djdng Lear rather than vindictive is not a tribute to ShalcespCcire the feminist; it is a tribute to Shakespeare the humanis t and his belief in h u m a n kindness over ambition. That one person can do another -wrong and yet receive a favour in re turn is the true spirit of Shakespeare ' s message . Tellingly, it seems a s though Shakespeare thought his audience could more easily accept empathy from a w^oman than a man, as it is Cordelia Avho mus t change her ideads in order for a reconciliation to take place. This may be the perspective Shakespeare dra^vs from the culture he helped to shape. Nevertheless, the limits of Shakespeare 's intent can be stretched in order to support the idea that men and Avomen can learn from the story of the dying patriarch and his lion-hearted daughter. Cordelia is explicitly referred to a s a n item of possession Avhen France says she is "herself a dowry" (I, 1, 243). But she contravenes the dictum that she not offend her father; she also breaks the rule of w^omen adhering to the private sphere. 67 Cordelia does emancipate herself from the traditional roles of Avomanhood, at least partially, by becoming a soldier In France. The reconciliation Avlth her father and her subsequent death dilute her strength a s an individual and reinstate her In her 'proper' position within the family. Death hardly seems a fitting end for one so daring and courageous. Yet once having broken the unspoken rule tha t w^omen remain at home, there seems to be no other position left for Cordelia to 'return' to. In Cordel ia tw^o u n m i s t a k a b l e t r a i t s co-exist : Independence of will and loyalty. Shakespeare 's use of language reflects both her loyalty and her Independence of will. She reconciles the early alienation of her father through her later loyalty to him, at a time Tvhen, as Lear himself points out, she has reason not to be loyal. Cordelia's simple, calm ansv^er: "No cause, no cause" (IV, vll, 75) provides a pow^erful moment in the play because her statement tells the audience that she has finally found reconciliation with the old king. Her early repudiat ion of her father's will sho^ved her Independence, her later reconciliation with Lear shoves her loyalty to him. The foreshadoAving of her return to Lear's inner sanctum is told In Act IV, scene vll, when Cordelia enquires about the state of her father's headth (12, 44). Lear, for h is part, expresses his regret at losing Cordelia and his hostility against her killers: "A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have saved her; 68 n o w s h e ' s g o n e for ever" (V, iii, 172 , 173). F r o m b e g i n n i n g t o e n d , C o r d e l i a o p p o s e s h e r f a t h e r ' s t r a d i t i o n s , s t a r t i n g ^vith h e r r e fu sa l t o foUow^ h e r s i s t e r s ' l e ad . H e r d e a t h i s h e r p u n i s h m e n t for m a k i n g h e r o^vn m a r r i a g e a n d c a r e e r c h o i c e s . I n d e e d , t h e a c t i o n s of J u l i e t a n d C o r d e l i a a r e v e r y u n u s u a l i n a c u l t u r e t h a t e x p e c t s Avomen, e s p e c i a l l y y o u n g d a u g h t e r s t o b e c o n t r o l l e d b y t h e p a t r i a r c h y . S o m e c r i t i c s feel S h a k e s p e a r e i s e s p o u s i n g f e m i n i s m b y p r e s e n t i n g t h e s e t^vo s t r o n g y o u n g Avomen. I n s t e a d , I be l ieve t h a t S h a k e s p e a r e r e i n f o r c e s t h e s o c i a l r e a l i t y of t h e p a t r i a r c h a l c u l t u r e b y i l l u s t r a t i n g t h e f a t a l d i l e m m a s J u l i e t a n d Corde l i a face Avhen t h e y t r y t o a p p l y t h e i r o w n answ^ers to t h e i r p r o b l e m s . In l e t t i n g t h e i r f a t h e r s m a k e t h e i r d e c i s i o n s for t h e m , w^omen sacr i f ice t h e i r o w n in t eg r i t y for a n i c h e t h a t i s c o n s t r u c t e d for t h e m from t h e t i m e t h e y a r e b o m . 69 NOTES CHAPTER THREE 1 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 173. 2 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 173. 3 Lenz, Greene a n d Neely, 173. 4 Lenz, Greene and Neely, 173. 5 Dreher, 5. 6 Dreher, 5. 7 Bamber , 109. 8 Bamber, 109. 9 Teresa de Lauretis , Alice Doesn't : Feminism. Semiotics. Cinema. (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984), 1. 10 de Lauret is , 1. 11 de Lauretis, 1. 70 Chapter IV: Conclusion What is it tha t father figures in tragedy seem to fear so much? They fear tha t Avhich is at the core of every tragedy: The inevitable decline and destruction of every one of us . No matter w^hat pinnacle of pow^er someone may achieve, w^ e all share the universal kno^vledge that we are all equal because w^ e have an ult imate fate in common. And yet, despite this cruel insight, tragedy is, in the end, comforting. It allow^s u s to w^atch the destruction of another, safe in the knowledge that our own time is not yet at hand; it confirms our OAvn sense of pow^er over another, no matter how^ fleeting, because ive are alive and they are dead. Life is the confirmation of pow^er; death is the confirmation of loss. Tragedy shows the loss and failure of humankind; comedy show^s u s the chance of hope. Perhaps w^hat it is that the fathers fear in the tragedies is this perceived loss and failure, a fear not necessarily caused by any tangible failure per se, but by the loss associated with mortality. Keeping subord ina tes dependent correlates ^vith the hold on power, with longevity, even immortality. Elizabeth Dreher states: Shakespeare's fathers and daughters cire caught in a generational struggle betAveen tw o^ conflicting paradigms: the fathers uphold traditional hierarchical order and 71 patriarchal authority, Avhile their daughters affirm the ncAv progressive bonds of individuEil t rust and cooperation, i PoAver is in su rance agains t mortal i ty because the patriarchal system deems it so. The declining fathers rail against their daughters , because the exposure of the daughter 's lack of credibility results in their own perceived supremacy. "Misogyny... (is) born of failure and self-doubt" s ta tes Linda Bamber.2 The fathers doubt their own powder; to them, eliminating or preventing someone else from having powder is an exercise in self preservation. The father plans to control Juliet 's fortunes this ^vay, bu t his plan backfires. Instead of adhering to her father's ^vishes, Juliet marries Romeo anyway and dies in he r ques t for empow^erment. Unfortunately for Capulet and his grandiose design, a dead child is equal in magnitude to a w^ayward child, because in both cases the child is now^ in a realm tha t the father does not control. Once every at tempt has been made to control others around him, the final blow^ to Capulet is the kno^vledge that death is penultimate, regardless of one's s tatus. Furthermore, Bsimber suggests Lear's outburst against Avomen is one of the clearest examples of the connection betw^een misogyny aind the declining fortunes of men: In Shakespeare's tragedy there is a firm connection between self-hatred, reversal of fortune, and misogyny. The hero's vlew^ of v^omen reaches bottom at the moment Avhen he is out of control of himself and his w^orld.3 72 Lear reflects all of h i s regre t a n d mise ry on to t h e image of t h e ^voman: "Down from the wais t they a re Cen tau r s . . .Benea th is all t he fiend's: there ' s hell, there ' s d a r k n e s s " (IV, vi, 123) a n d "there is t h e s u l p h u r o u s pi t—burning, scalding, s t ench , consumpt ion . . . i t smeUs of mortality" (IV, vi. 127-128, 132). Both of these s t a t e m e n t s show^ t h a t w^hat Lear fears is dea th , a n intangible ent i ty t h a t c a n only be p u t into w^ords th rough sillegory, in the body of w^oman. W h a t h a p p e n s to w^omen w^ho d a r e to d i sp lay the i r i ndependence , ^vho dis regard or t ry to change t h e b o u n d a r i e s of the i r ro les? Dea th is t h e r e s u l t for Cordelia. Cordelia, Ju l i e t , Imogen, a n d Rosalind are examples of young -women w^ho leave t he restrictive pa t r i a rcha l env i ronment for a n allegorical one in ^vhich they m u s t show^ their self-sufficiency a n d s t rength . Yet because the two envi ronments canno t be reconciled, they also s h a r e a symbolic or physical r e t u r n to t he patriarchad hierarchy. Cordelia a n d Ju l ie t experience no t only a physical r e t u r n b u t also a symbolic r e tu rn , a r e t u r n of finality in t he form of the i r d e a t h s . D u s i n b e r r e ' s c laim t h a t " S h a k e s p e a r e saw^ m e n a n d Avomen a s equal in a ^vorld Avhich declared t h e m unequal"^ canno t be s u b s t a n t i a t e d . At b e s t it is a n example of Avhat Carol T h o m a s Neely refers to a s Avishful th inking . 5 Mortality, patr iarchcd order, and a need to achieve some semblance of immortal i ty t h rough one's offspring are i s sues centra l to Shakespea re ' s vision; it is a vision, I th ink, far removed from feminist though t . Because of very specific 73 a n d rigid socie ta l a t t i t u d e s c o n c e r n i n g t h e role of w^omen in R e n a i s s a n c e England , J u l i e t ' s political real i ty in t h e pa t r i a r cha l o rde r is t h e major i s s u e t h a t k e e p s Romeo from be ing a good m a r r i a g e choice for he r . The Capu le t s have a family n a m e to p ro tec t a n d p e r p e t u a t e . Romeo is a n e n e m y a n d therefore a n impossible choice. Wi thou t Capule t ' s suppor t , hov^rever, the re c a n b e n o i n h e r i t a n c e for J u l i e t . Like King Lear, C a p u l e t fears insignificance a n d mortadity: Jul ie t , h i s only heir , m u s t provide a m a l e he i r to c o n t i n u e t h e l ine. J u l i e t ' s m a r r i a g e to Par i s is preferable b e c a u s e t he con t inuance of t h e Capu le t l ine bu i lds on t h e financial s t r eng th of bo th families. S h a k e s p e a r e ' s a im is n o t t h e equa l i ty of women , a s D u s i n b e r r e s u g g e s t s , b u t t h e v a l i d a t i o n of t h e p a t r i l i n e a r hierairchy. If their daugh t e r s are adequate ly provided for, old m e n die fulfilled; if not , they die in disgrace, the i r bid a t immorta l i ty t a i n t e d . T h e mor ta l i ty i s s u e , w^hich o c c u r s so f requent ly in Shakespea re , r ep resen t s the hierarchical d e m a n d for provision by t h e e lde r s for t h e ch i ld ren : Cymbel ine , D u k e Sen ior , D u k e Freder ick , Lear, Capu le t ; all h e a d famil ies , all m u s t suffer inevi table loss , sorroAv a n d u l t i m a t e d e a t h . Keeping s o m e o n e d e p e n d e n t u p o n them, a s expected by the ru l e s of t h e pa t r i l inear society, pos tpones their own inevitable decline. And if they succeed in provid ing for the i r offspring in a p e r m a n e n t w^ay, t h e y a r e somehow^ guaranteed a vicarious immortality. 74 Imogen and Rosalind may be malleable enough, marrying suitors that satisfy their fathers' need to provide, bu t Cordelia and Jul ie t pose a real obstacle for their poTver prone fathers. The stories of the t"wo tragic heroines, partly by virtue of their untimely deaths, provide a more complex exploration of the father-daughter relationship. Do their deaths teach u s tha t the patriarchal rules are destructive? Or do they act as a lesson to future offspring not to question political reality, a reality designed to preserve the pov^er of patriarchal authority and Avhich depends on the systemic devaluation of Avomen for Its survival? Should the latter be true, does it follow tha t the ability to access one's o^vn pOAver is available to each individual, bu t that the Interests of the culture eclipse the rights of the individual? If Shakespeare has Avrltten plays v^hlch reinforce the rules of his culture, he also provides a forum in ^vhlch these cind other issues have been and ^vlll continue to be challenged. Ultimately, I do not believe Shakespeare w^as a t tuned to feminist concerns as Dus inber re Implies. 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