Subversion And Perversion In Two Gentlemen Of Verona and The Jew Of Malta

Subversion And Perversion In Two Gentlemen Of Verona and The Jew Of Malta

Length: 1802 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Subversion and perversion are both prominently conveyed in both Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Jew of Malta through numerous mediums. Subversion entails the opposition to societal standards and authority whereas perversion occurs when morality and religious views are contradicted. The use of religiously symbolic objects, mockery, sexual innuendo, hypocrisy and irony are the focal matters used to express perversion and subversion in this essay. Often when a reader or the audience is shocked by themes and incidents occurring in plays, it is due to a feeling evoked when one is confronted with overt opposition to religion, morality, politics and society.
Two Gentlemen of Verona make use of the mockery of upper-class pretentiousness, crude and inappropriate sexual innuendo to subvert and perverse the topic of marriage. Launce continually speaks disrespectfully of his master, subverting the social class order of classical Europe by which servants must speak of their superiors with deference and hold them in highest regard. This subverts the social hierarchy by the utilisation of mockery that belittles his master’s class. My interpretations lead me to believe that the staff in this scene, may well be in fact a metaphorical staff. That is, the staff is code for Launce’s phallus. This is a subversion in that it is socially unacceptable to speak in such a manner, therefore it contradicts societies’ etiquette, and it also is a perversion because it is morally incorrect and sacrilege to use a typically religiously significant tool as a phallic symbol. When Launce declares: “My staff understands me”, he compares his masculinity in sexual terms to intelligence. He tells Speed that his sexual drive and desire understands what he is saying, ev...

... middle of paper ...

...The crucial element drawing these plays together is the mutual use of a symbolically significant object. That is, the staff. The staff is disgraced in the manner in which role it had been given in the plays. Although it is ambiguous, the staff appears to be a metaphorical phallic symbol in the Two Gentlemen of Verona used to convey to crudity of Launce’s views on marriage. Conversely, in The Jew of Malta, it is used in a most blasphemous sense – for the purpose of mocking the Christian faith. The faith is ridiculed when the staff is used satirically to ‘support’ the dead Friar and when Jacomo uses it with the intention to murder. This is explicitly ironic. Thus this essay has shown how irony, hypocrisy, mockery and sexual innuendo all serve the same purpose in these plays – to challenge the society by the subverting and perverting moral, religious and political codes.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Friendship and Love in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

- Throughout The Two Gentlemen of Verona, scenes featuring Lance and his dog, Crab are juxtaposed with (and perhaps reference) interactions between the friends and lovers central to the plot. The primarily comic scenes in which Lance and Crab are present often illuminate problems in the relationships between the other characters in the play. Although Crab never speaks and is in fact a dog, his interactions with Lance as Lance explains them, mock the celebrated love between male friends and the much afflicting Petrarchan love that threatens it....   [tags: The Two Gentlemen of Verona]

Free Essays
896 words (2.6 pages)

The Violence of Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta Essay

- The Violence of Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta      Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta is a violent, bloody, destructive play that literally jars the senses.  Part of this is due to the modern reader's background:  we see the characters through modern eyes, with distinct views of "low class" and "high class."  It would be easy, as such, to discount The Jew of Malta as only appealing to the base interests of its time, and it would be only slightly less easy to protest that it has meaning beyond any crude first glance, and that the extreme acts presented are merely metaphors for deeper social commentary.  Steane writes:   There is a general feeling that this is a pla...   [tags: Jew of Malta Essays]

Powerful Essays
2427 words (6.9 pages)

Perversion Essay

- Dermott O'Flanagan Sexual Ethics Paper The issues of sexual ethics in relation to morality and perversion have been addressed in depth by each of the gentleman at this table. Sexual activity as described by Solomon and Nagle is comprised of a moral standard and ‘naturalness’ aspect. So, in claiming an act is perverted we must first examine it through a moral framework and understand how this interacts with the ‘naturalness’ of a particular act. Solomon makes the distinction as follows “Perversion is an insidious concept…To describe an activity as perverse is not yet a full blown moral condemnation, for it need not entail that one ought not to indulge in such activities.” Along with the exa...   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
2702 words (7.7 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Macbeth - Subversion of Reason by Ambition

- Macbeth:  Subversion of Reason by Ambition   Throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the reasoning of the central characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, is completely subverted by their insatiable ambition.  At first, Macbeth is reasonable enough to keep his ambition under control.  However, his ambition gradually becomes stronger and eventually overpowers Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is controlled by ambition from the very beginning.  After the decision is made to kill Duncan, all rational thought is abandoned.  Once the murder is planned, there is no serious questioning of the misleading predictions of the three witches.  Macbeth even goes as far as to ask for the witches’ advice...   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Powerful Essays
1220 words (3.5 pages)

Father-Daughter Relationships in Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

- Father-Daughter Relationships in Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice Justification for the subjugation of females to males during the sixteenth century came from a variety of sources. Ranging from the view that God gave Adam authority over Eve as penalty for the fall, to a belief in the superiority of a husbands’ physical strength over that of his wife, attempts at rationalization of the restricted freedom of women came from every direction.1 Puritan reformers also believed that Eve was God’s gift, given to Adam ‘to consummate and make up his happinesse.’[1] From this perspective, we can easily make the mental...   [tags: Sidney Countess Marlowe Malta Merchant Essays]

Powerful Essays
3195 words (9.1 pages)

Essay on Perversion and the Internet

- Perversion and the Internet The Internet. An information super-highway to hate, violence, and child pornography. Sure it was ok when the nudie pictures came out, but teaching children racism and bigotry and exploiting innocent children in a sexual manner is taking things a little too far. Buckle your seatbelts and strap on those eyeglasses; we are about to take a ride on the “Informational Highway”. The First Amendment has been stretched, ripped, and torn into little pieces of propaganda, conveniently located on the “World-Wide-Web” for the viewing pleasures of all; young and old....   [tags: Internet Web Cyberspace Essays]

Powerful Essays
1077 words (3.1 pages)

Perversion of Society Essay

- Perversion of Society In today’s society a person is shaped by family, friends, and past events, but in Aldous Huxley’s classic novel, Brave New World, there is no such thing as family, history and “true” friends. The government controls every aspect of an individual from their creation in the hatcheries to their conditioning for their thoughts and careers. In this brave new world the ideas of stability and community reign supreme, and the concept of individualism is foreign and suppressed, “Everyone belongs to everyone else, after all,” (47)....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1154 words (3.3 pages)

Subversion of Women in A Scandal in Bohemia Essay example

- Subversion of Women in A Scandal in Bohemia Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia" follows the story of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes on his adventures to retrieve a damaging photograph. In the society Watson describes, the apparent role of women is miniscule for emphasis focuses on one woman who is the object of Holmes' detective inquiries. In "A Scandal in Bohemia," society places women at a subordinate level pushing them to the background therefore never allowing us, the reader, to know them....   [tags: Scandal in Bohemia Essays]

Free Essays
819 words (2.3 pages)

Barabas' Role In The Jew Of Malta Essay

- Barabas’ role in the Jew of Malta. Christopher Marlow was born in 1564, as William Shakespeare. This play was probably written in 1589; however, it was not actually published until 1633, after Marlowe's death in 1593 when he was just 29 years old. This play was performed for many years and had a great influence on Shakespeare’s The Venice Merchant. • 1. Summary of the play The play is set on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Calymath (the Turkish prince) arrives to exact Malta's tribute which has been accumulated to a considerable sum....   [tags: Christopher Marlowe]

Free Essays
1933 words (5.5 pages)

No Gentlemen Admitted Essay examples

- "No gentlemen were admitted" writes Louisa May Alcott in Little Women to describe the all-female private revue the March sisters perform. And as the novel progresses, one cannot help but wonder if this same sentiment does indeed echo throughout the novel, as male characters are conspicuously absent while all the pivotal parts are played by the women characters. This gender imbalance -- in that there are more female characters than male in Little Women -- is especially obvious when male authority figures such as Mr March and Mr Lawrence are markedly absent for most of the novel....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1789 words (5.1 pages)