. Marion Wynne-Davis agrees with this interpretation and comments that
Elizabeth‟s presence in the court unsettled
the concept of masculine and female spheres and
“questioned the legitimacy of absolute male power”
. In addition, the intense religiousatmosphere emanating from the reformation and consequential theological redefinition
inspired a renewed emphasis upon woman‟s innate inferiorit
y because of her origin in man
and Eve‟s central role in the fall of mankind.
This is evidenced by Henry Smith
God tooke a rib out of
side, and thereof built the woman. He is not saideto make man a wife, but to build him a wife
. Biblical focus on
woman‟s source also
emphatically implied that her purpose was wifehood and thus pressurised woman to conformto the institution of marriage. Society was therefore
reminded of woman‟s dependent
subjectivity, the necessity of suppression and the threat that the uncontrolled female like Eveor the Queen, posed to the stability of patriarchy.To demonstrate Shakespe
are‟s engagement with these issues
I will firstly analyse
Much Ado About Nothing,
in which the correlation and dissention of the stereotypical notionsof gender and specifically women is evident in the characters of Beatrice and Hero. Theconfident and assertive language adopted by Beatrice, creates a masculinised female who
s call for her physical and linguistic submission to the authority of patriarchy,
With a good leg and a good foot.... / such a man would win any woman in / the world...
The independent construction of Beatrice‟s self as distinct from man displayed here, dissentsfrom the Smith‟s emphasis above, on woman‟s dependency.
By her renunciation of men into
“Patriarchal Territories: The Body Enclosed”.
Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe
. Eds. Ferguson Margaret W et al. (Chicago: University of ChicagoPress, 1987) 131-132.
Queen’s Masque: Renaissance Women and the Seventeenth
Gloriana’s Face: Woman, Public and Private in the English Renasissance
. Eds.Cerasano S P andMarion Wynne-Davis (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992) 80.
A preparatiue to marriage
. (London: Thomas Orwin,1591: STC 22685) 8.
. “Much Ado About Nothing”.
The Norton Shakespeare
. Eds. Greenblatt, Stephen, et al.2
ed. (London and New York: Norton, 2008) 1.3.13-15.