Goodnight Desdemona: a Feminist Introspection of Shakespeare

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Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight Desdemona (Good morningJuliet) uses intertextuality to unveil the complete Shakespearean characters of Juliet and Desdemona to reveal the feminist narrative lurking between lines of Shakespeare’s plays. Only through the intertextual re-examination of the Shakespearean text itself via the interjection of genre and the reassigning of dialogue, within the metatheatre, is the true feminist representation of the female Shakespearian characters unveiled from behind the patriarchal preconceptions. From this understanding we may read Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) to be true feminist reworking of Shakespeare. Therefore the metatheatre’s intertextuality reinforces and supports the traits of the feminine. MacDonald’s main Character, Constance Ledbelly is searching for the missing link in Shakespeare’s Othello and Romeo and Juliet, the missing link from the original source works of his plays. Just as Constance explores from studying the Gustav manuscript that something is missing from Shakespere’s plays, we the reader can complete the information with Constance’s exploration to uncover the feminist narrative hidden within Shakespeare’s plays. MacDonald uses intertextuality and meta-theatre to dive into the mystery that is the source works of Shakespeare. The opening dumb show introduces us to the three different worlds that we are about to explore. This introduction to the meta-theatre, showing the ‘new’ narrative and play, that is the story of Constance, and the two familiar plays of Othello and Romeo and Juliet, invites the reader/viewer into the exploration of the inner workings of the texts. Constance is thrust into each play, creating the play within the play which is then manipulated by Con... ... middle of paper ... ... comedies rather than tragedies in their source form the original characters from the source plays are revealed. Strong, ‘masculine’ women of the source are only revealed through the intertextuality of genre and the reassigned direct quotes from Shakespeare’s iconic plays. The feminist perspective of Shakespeare’s plays, which was there all along, could only be revealed by the strong use of intertextuality in MacDonald’s play. MacDonald relies on the iconic meta-theatre and intertextuality to magnify the feminist perspective within the Shakespearean plays. When turned in upon itself, Shakespeare’s plays reveal their distinct feminist perspective that could not be uncovered without the extensive and brilliant use of intertextuality such as that of Ann Marie MacDonald. Therefore the metatheatre’s intertextuality reinforces and supports the traits of the feminine.

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