Character Analysis The Duchess. Probably the most important thing to know about the Duchess when you begin reading this play is her very special snowflake social position. In Renaissance Europea woman was, in almost every conceivable situation, under the power of some man in her life: Usually an adult son steps in.
M muhammad Khazalah Al Ahmad 1 Muhammad Al Ahmad The empowerment and Female Agency and its consequences In The Duchess of Malfi" by John Webster" Women in England and in other parts of Europe in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries were restricted and governed by religious, social and cultural conventions.
Women are not allowed to write and act, but sometimes they go to the theatre to watch a performed play for the purpose of moral commentators and for the pleasure to go outside the home.
The society is a patriarchal one that is dominated by religious beliefs and masculinity. Thus, they are characterized with passiveness and objectivity as Callaghan asserts they are constructed by the discourse of female characters and by their own silences and utterances Callaghan, As a result of this miserable situation, women were fighting to express themselves in a patriarchal system that refused to grant them their rights.
They were forced to domestic activities that encouraged the stability of their husbands and their families. They were also treated in dehumanized ways and sometimes they were imprisoned for their thoughts and views.
According to Alison Findlay "In professional theatre companies the actors were male, not by law but by a custom. Simone De Beauvoir- a feminist - asserts that Males extends out into the society and world to impose his will on it and this applied to Duchess's brothers who try to govern her life by social and cultural restrains.
Although she is restricted by social and cultural norms, but she takes some actions towards the restrictions of her brother by Al Ahmad 2 marrying her steward Antonio in secret and having sons.
Despite the fact she knows and is convinced by the threats of her Aragonian brothers, but she faces them with Antonio's words "She's exposed unto the worst torture, pain and fear" II, ii, She rebels against her brothers and the society in general.
This paper argues that when women are treated as objects and suffered in their society, they take actions for their liberties despite the consequences. The duchess's empowerment and agency through a feminist perspective is my argument in this paper since the Duchess as a powerful character plays an essential.
Feminism according to which emerged in the last nineteenth century is a movement to define and defend the rights of women. It focuses on the women's issues and their problems in different societies and how to solve these problems.
Many critics such as, Simone De Beauvoir, Sandra Gilbert and Gubar, wrote many articles and books discussing the feminist issues. Simone De Beauvoir's book "The Second Sex" is a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a fundamental tract of contemporary feminism. De Beauvoir states that "while it is natural for humans to understand themselves in opposition to others, this process is flawed when applied to the genders.
In defining woman exclusively as Other, man is effectively denying her humanity". She then moves to history to trace the appearance of male superiority in societies, from nomadic hunter-gatherers through the French Revolution and recent times.
De Beauvoir discusses various mythical representations of women and demonstrates how these myths have imprinted human consciousness, often to the disservice.
The Duchess seems that she denies the social and cultural conventions at that time. She rebels against the norm by achieving her will to love and marry.
She shifts the gender role when it is necessary to achieve her needs. Women In renaissance drama cross the boundaries of the masculine code and the patriarchal society through several ways.
They refuse the submission to the male dominance, imposing Al Ahmad 3 the gender role and taking control over their life. The duchess is presented by certain features that show her strong character. When the play is performed, the audiences have an advanced knowledge of the character of the Duchess as Antonio speaks of "Her days are practiced in such noble virtue that, sure her nights, nay more, her very sleeps, are more in heaven than other ladies' shrift" I, i, He also describes her when he talks to his best friend Delio "I'll case the picture up only thus much: She stains the time past, lights the time come" I, i, She is a wealthy and powerful woman who gets married of.
By doing this, the Duchess has the authority to breaks the norms and furthermore for choosing a husband from the middle class is considered a crime.
By achieving her will, the duchess stands in front of certain customs and traditions. By saying "We now are man and wife, and tis the church that must but echo this" I, i, She plays the role priest of the church because at that time only the priest who has the power to establish a marriage.
It is very obvious the shifting of gender roles in the act of marriage. Typically, the groom is the one who asks the bride to marry him and his is the one who gives the ring while in the Duchess's case the situation is different and that is a signal of her resistance of the society's conventions.
Taking this action which is a risky one might be considered committing suicide according to the social. They see her as a noble and innocent woman who can take care of herself and the people around her. The two brothers try to prevent the duchess's marriage by any means necessary.
They say bad things about marriage as it is the "entrance into some prison" I, I, and "Those lustful pleasures, are like heavy sleeps" I, I, But since she is convinced that they studied this speech with each other, she determines to finish this marriage regardless Al Ahmad 4 its consequences "Through frights and threatenings, will assay this dangerous venture" I, I, This action of the secret marriage of Antonio is not seen as something of childish or sexual desire by the audiences, but as a need for woman who wants to be loved and compassioned "Tis not a figure cut in.LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Duchess of Malfi, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Ginsburg, Jacob. "The Duchess of Malfi Act 2, Scene 5." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 19 Apr Web. 14 Sep Ginsburg, Jacob. "The Duchess of Malfi Act 2, Scene 5. Everything you ever wanted to know about The Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi, written by masters of this stuff just for you.
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Duchess of Malfi, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love and Male Authority appears in each Scene of The Duchess of Malfi. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis. The Duchess of Malfi’s Agency The Duchess of Malfi is a sadistic drama about love, betrayal, and revenge.
After her brothers forbid her to marry, the Duchess rebels against her submissive role, her patriarchal society, and her oppressive situation and marries—to a man beneath station—regardless.
Al Ahmad 1 Muhammad Al Ahmad The empowerment and Female Agency and its consequences In The Duchess of Malfi" by John Webster" Women in England and in other parts of Europe in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries were restricted and governed by religious, social and cultural conventions.