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in the Jacobean period mirrors and contributes to the political debate over the nature of monarchical authority that was sparked by James I's power struggle with Parliament. She focuses on four plays -- The Maid's Tragedy, The Second Maid's Tragedy, Valentinian, and The Duchess of Malfi -- written and performed between 1610-1613, a particularly rancorous ran·cor n. Bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will. See Synonyms at enmity. [Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin, rancid smell, from Latin period of public debate about tyranny and anxiety over James's assertions of absolutism absolutism Political doctrine and practice of unlimited, centralized authority and absolute sovereignty, especially as vested in a monarch. Its essence is that the ruling power is not subject to regular challenge or check by any judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or . Devoting a chapter each to the stage tyrant, the revenger, the androgynous an·drog·y·nous adj. 1. Biology Having both female and male characteristics; hermaphroditic. 2. Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior. hero, and the authoritative heroine, Allman works through each of these roles in the three plays first mentioned, and then culminates in a reading of The Duchess of Malfi as a play that transcends the genre of revenge tragedy, yet confirms her analysis of the genre's cultural significance. Allman's analysis is sensitive and convincing on the gender implications of these roles, as well as on the self-reflexive quality of the genre, in which actors play characters who self-consciously play roles and attempt to create a social script in which their political and moral agenda prevails. Allman argues persuasively that the relationship between the tyrant and his male subjects is a homosocial one. The tyrant represents an extreme of misogyny misogyny /mi·sog·y·ny/ (mi-soj´i-ne) hatred of women. mi·sog·y·ny n. Hatred of women. mi·sog , asserting his power by casting his subjects in subordinate and therefore feminized roles: "The tyrant's power over his male subjects relies, in fact, on their mutual misogyny in understanding signifiers of femaleness as degrading to men" (41). The fear of tyranny sparked by James's absolutist pronouncements and his power struggle with Parliament is enacted in this figure, who represents not so much the reality of James's rule but what his opponents feared it might become. The revenger, in this analysis, counters this threat to his masculinity by creating a second persona for himself covered
Their authority derives from that of the heroine they choose to support in lieu of the tyrant. Of or characterized by a hatred of women. Revenger and tyrant remain locked in the homosocial rivalry for masculine control over the reviled feminine. the analysis of Jacobean misogynistic mi·sog·y·nis·tic also mi·sog·y·nous adj. And the authority of such heroines as the Lady in The Second Maid's Tragedy. The two characters who offer a way out of this impasse are the androgynous hero and the heroine who gains a measure of autonomy from male control. especially to make less naive and more worldly.tr. but need not be read as an affirmation of those politics. Of or characterized by a hatred of women. like the tyrant he opposes. so·phis·ti·cat·ed. sometimes of life) the role of mere text or counter that the tyrant and revenger strive to create for her. To cause to become less natural. A great strength of Allman's book is its combination of theoretical sophistication so·phis·ti·cate v. 1. an attempt. Allman characterizes the revenger's career as "a pathological retreat from the female. Adj. and ultimately the Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi is a spiritual self-affirmation that transcends the political and physical authority claimed by the tyrant. misogynist . Eudoxa and Lucina in Valeneinian. this spiritual selfaffirmation allows her to escape (albeit at great cost.by deception.hating women in particular misogynous ill-natured . . One who hates women. that challenges and seeks to overthrow the tyrant. so·phis·ti·cat·ing. to control the sexual Other through strategies of domination and appropriation" (85). so·phis·ti·cates v. refuting the seemingly natural polarity between male authority and female submission to support and even obey the authority of women" (102). offering just as easily a point of view from which to critique them. Androgynous heroes are the male characters who "avoid replicating the tyrant they oppose by rejecting the terms of his rivalry. misogynistic . Noun 1. As rival to the power that writes the dominant social script and chief manipulator of the play/s action.a misanthrope who dislikes women in particular woman hater terms of authority. 1. But by setting himself up as the opposite of the tyrant.having an irritable and unpleasant disposition politics in these four revenge tragedies is deep and telling. the re venger accepts his misogynist mi·sog·y·nist n. In Allman's view. he becomes a figure of the author. adj. While heroine affirms patriarchal authority in the social realm.
consisting of. re·ver·ber·ates v.intr. Of.both as female physical experience (female sexuality) and as representative of a general repression of the material world. And what Berry finds repressed above all in the discourse of Shakespearean tragedy is the female body -. Being subjected to or characterized by repression. 2. pat·ri·lin·e·al adj. based on. and James's authoritarian politics and misogynistic social policy were complicated by his matrilineal mat·ri·lin·e·al adj. Relating to. It is a densely written look into the cultural and psychological depths of Shakespeare's tragedies. a discourse which exists therefore only by figural fig·ur·al adj. but as a piece of reading it is tough going. re·ver·ber·at·ed. . To resound in a succession of echoes. or forming a pictorial composition of human or animal figures. by contrast. " behind its cultural affirmations. deconstructing the patriarchal discourse of the plays and finding in successive layers of imagery and cultural reference the echoes of the suppressed feminine that "resonate" or "reverberate re·ver·ber·ate v. or tracing ancestral descent through the paternal line. . this suggestive and clearly written study should be very valuable to a broad range of both scholars and students. or punning implication. re·ver·ber·at·ing. concise account of the way Elizabethan and Stuart dynastic politics served to confuse the standard alignment of the male gender with familial and political power: Elizabeth's patrilineal patrilineal /pa·tri·lin·e·al/ (pat?ri-lin´e-il) descended through the male line. or tracing ancestral descent through the maternal line. Berry's deconstructionist and cultural materialist analysis of death in Shakespearean tragedy is compelling and suggestive. Philippa Berry's Shakespeare's Feminine Endings. Relating to. it begs the question of how broadly her insights and conclusions can be extended to the Jacobean period in general and the genre of revenge tragedy as a whole. based on. But this broad perspective is not carried through. 1. relatively jargon-free prose. Her early chapters provide a useful. claim to power was complicated by her female gender. and while Allman's focus on 1610-1613 provides a sharp focus. with clear. Determined readers will find a complex meditation that tries to represent the discourse the plays (and their culture) have repressed re·pressed adj. is aimed at a much narrower audience of fellow literary critics. Nevertheless. Adj. claim to power and his notorious homosocial tendencies. fig ur·al·ly adv. reecho.2.
Erudition of editors—Hare. 2. perhaps. unearthing half-buried imagery. liminal barely perceptible. pulled with seeming effortlessness out of an impressive erudition er·u·di·tion n. pertaining to a threshold. Adj. Shakespeare's tragedies are quintessential works of the "liminal liminal /lim·i·nal/ (lim´i-n'l) barely perceptible. Deep. Focusing in particular on Juliet. but so complex it can be hard to follow. The analysis is rich. and in Juliet's life-in-death in the tomb. Tending to arouse such desire. she goes on to place these deaths in the context of Counter-Reformation saint imagery. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and . in Desdemona's repeated crossing of the border between life and death at the end of her life. Duisberg. Othello. Berry is convincing in her demonstration that the familiar connection of death with sexuality and the complex of imagery surrounding the heroines' deaths undercuts death's finality. preoccupation with the female backside or arse in the sexual imagery that surrounds the heroines. and King Lear respectively -. . the philosophical concept of the animus Animus . extensive learning. PhD Thesis U Washington 1986]. In each of the following chapters -.Berry performs a similar operation of teasing out wordplay. See Synonyms at knowledge. 1. " Renaissance period between the medieval "animist an·i·mism n. Noun 1. R. Of or concerning homosexual love and desire. and astrology. lim·i·nal adj. pertaining to a threshold. is her rather sketchy delineation of a homoerotic ho·mo·e·rot·ic adj.Berry's early chapter on "Double Dying and Other Tragic Inversions. Less convincing. uncovering layers of imagery. and bolstering her findings with connections made to a broad range of Renaissance cultural movements and works of art. 1." is representative of her approach.["Constraint-Based Animation: The Implementation of Temporal Constraints in the Animus System". Macbeth. medieval popular festival.on Hamlet. In it she explores the "inversion of death" implied in the flowery fertility rite of Ophelia's death. Relating to a threshold. According to Berry. with it the privileging of spirit over body. mundi. 1.
to cause permanent change in a person's body. by dominating. they provide a glimpse into a period of unstable transition that allowed for an upsurge of repressed cultural values. op·press·es 1. To break down into components. the quintessential work of literature. Would other texts -. I found myself wondering about the implications of this analysis to the broader range of literary works of the period. Both views are valuable. de·con·struct·ed. 2. The advantage of Berry's approach is that it demonstrates very clearly the ways in which dominant cultural values. Here again. de·con·structs 1. de·con·struct·ing. dismantle. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies. and while some of the connections Berry teases out can seem farfetched. as with All-man's book. " view of death and the modern rationalized one. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny. Berry's Shakespeare is inexhaustibly rich. op·press·ing. distort or "disfigure disfigure v. In lawsuits or claims due to injuries caused by another's negligence or intentional actions. and have been traditionally celebrated for affirming.phenomena. including the repressed aspects of that culture. .v. 2. endlessly fascinating.say of Webster. Allman's will reach a wider audience. As such. the great advantage of her approach is that it brings alive the complexity and openendedness of the Shakespearean text and its permeability with the larger culture in which it participates. at the same time it paradoxically confirms the traditional privileging of Shakespeare in the canon of Renaissance writers. Yet as much as Berry's reading works to deconstruct de·con·struct tr. to whose level all others aspire? Nevertheless. 2. always with more to tell us about ourselves as culturally produced and culture-producing creatures. op·pressed. or of Elizabeth Gary -yield similar results if subjected to the same level of analysis? Or does Shakespeare remain the special case. . the monolithic patriarchal order that Shakepeare's texts affirm on the surface. such scarring can add considerably to " the competing values they oppress op·press tr.v. 3. particularly by leaving visible scars which affect a person's appearance. and of the tragedies in the rest of the Shakespeare canon. This is a colder view of humanity than we get in Allman's look at the passionate attempt to shape political culture in the revenge tragedy of 1610-1613.
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