The Paradox of Patriarchy

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There is a notable absence of women in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that suggests woman is complicit in the scheme of Patriarchy, either as in denial of her power, or in fear of her power. This thesis engages an analysis of Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘Second Sex’ argument against Patriarchy and the consideration that Patriarchy is paradoxically flawed: if woman is deemed to be the opposite of man, she is in effect equal and cannot therefore be lesser or indeed, inferior. Published as a populist piece of ‘Penny Dreadful’ fiction during the zenith of the Victorian era in 1886, the novella is a gothic expose of the split psyche in a setting of Patriarchal conformity in which the protagonist Dr Jekyll abuses his privilege of scientific knowledge and social status to satisfy his desire to experience his alter ego. While the text has a strong theme of psychological conflict that offers Freudian and Lacanian interpretations, the issue of power and the fear and abuse of power for the sake of power, invites an analysis of the absence of women and the function of Patriarchy, first with respect to the power it endowed upon white, educated upper class men in the Victorian society and secondly, the role of women in supporting the status quo. Would Hyde have been enabled to run amok unchecked in a society where woman believed in her power as much as man feared it? Simone de Beauvoir argues not. Patriarchy is broadly defined as the dominance of men in society, but more importantly, it is an ideology and a way of thinking that transmits ideas about men and women to the rest of society and encourages those to be maintained, ensuring the self-propagation of male dominance. Patriarchy is not jus... ... middle of paper ... ...eele (audiobook) Extracts from Augustine of Hippo, Confessions EVIDENT EVIL, WOMAN AND OTHER Rhetoric, Poetics and Logic, Aristotle, audiobook The Republic, Plato, audiobook Simone De Beauvoir, Ladelle McWhorter, (Audiobook) Simone De Beauvoir, ‘The Second Sex’ (Norton 1406-1414). Beauvoir and the Second Sex, Margaret A Simons, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc, 1999) Edward Said, ‘Orientalism’ (Norton 1991-2011) Michel Foucault, 'The Perverse Implantation' (Norton 1648-59), HYPOCRISY OF GOOD AND EVIL Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’ (Norton 929-51) Eve Sedgwick, from Between Men (Norton 2434-8) Jean-Paul Sartre, John Compton, (audiobook) Simone De Beauvoir, Ladelle McWhorter, (Audiobook) Rhetoric, Poetics and Logic, Aristotle, audiobook Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, xx Georg H W Hegel, Philosophy of Right, New York, Cosimo Books, 2008, p 64
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