Distrusting Women In The Winter's Tale By Janet Adelman

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Janet Adelman’s work considers Shakespeare’s plays as a progression of maternal presence or absence, where each play can be considered as a repeated cycle of “doing and un doing”, written in response to the play before it. In the case of “The Winter’s Tale” Adelman infers that the drama’s initial focus on the results of distrusting women, as resembled by Leontes’ uncontrollable jealousy is a response to Shakespeare’s previous work Cymbeline, where male authority is recovered by distrusting women. Thus, by refuting the outcome of the previous play, Adelman shows that Shakespeare takes an alternate perspective with the role of the female in The Winter’s Tale. Adelman’s essay begins with a broad approach to Shakespeare’s dramas, by considering how the wider plot points from each play form a cyclic view of the role of the ‘mother’. Within the framework of a psychoanalytic and feminist perspective, Adelman considers how the role of the idealised mother has been recovered through The…show more content…
Despite her feminist critique, in the final paragraph Adelman admits to the limitations of a “patriarchal framework” in The Winter’s Tale that restores personal and political happiness to Leontes. She is also satirical of The Winter’s Tale by exclaiming that its female characters in the end are discovered to be “all good patriarchists all along”. In response, to the imagery of pregnancy that dominated the essay, Adelman stresses the point that Hermione only returns when she is past child bearing age and that the only female character throughout the work who expresses any rage is the “asexual” Paulina. Therefore, Adelman’s final analysis is a very thorough critique from the feminist perspective. Adelman’s work ends by reconnecting The Winter’s Tale to the canon of Shakespeare’s romances highlighting Shakespeare’s continuous paradox of “what it means to be a mother’s son”

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