When men are approved of they are seen as embracing feminine principles whereas women are denied access to the male and are denigrated when they aspire to male qualities. Marilyn French suggests that Shakespeare divides experience into male (evil) and female (good) principles and his comedies and tragedies are interpreted as ‘either a synthesis of the principles or an examination of the kinds of worlds that result when one or other principle is abused, neglected, devalued or exiled’ .
Shakespeare’s plays invite the audience to make some connection between the events of the action and the for...
... middle of paper ...
...of the primal sin of lust, combining concerns about the threat to the family posed by female insubordination. However the text also dramatises the material conditions which lie behind assertions of power within the family, even as it expresses deep anxieties about the chaos which can ensue when that balance of power is altered.
Linda Bamber, Comic Women, Tragic Men: A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press)
Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Screen 16, no. 3, p. 13.
Jonathan Culler, Theory and Criticism after Structuralism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), pp. 43-63.
Raymond Williams, Modern Tragedy (London: Chatto, 1966), p. 45.
The True Chronicle History of King Leir, ed. Geoffrey Bullough, The Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, vol VII (London: Routledge, 1973)
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