Fantasies of Female Evil: The Dynamics of Gender and Power in Shakespearean Tragedy

University of Delaware Press
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Cristina Leon Alfar. In light of cultural materialist, psychoanalytic, and feminist theoretical investigations of literature, history, and culture, Cristina Leon Alfar examines what has been left out of a western scholarly tradition on William Shakesepare's evil women. She argues that by attending to the sociopolitical basis of the tragedies, the women characters traditionally identified as evil might instead be read as pressing against early modern popular beliefs about female nature.
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Publisher
University of Delaware Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2003
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Pages
254
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ISBN
9780874137811
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / Shakespeare
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare
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In the Alexander Lectures for 1965-66 at the University of Toronto, Dr. Frye describes the basis of the tragic vision as "being in time," in which death as "the essential event that gives shape and form to life ... defines the individual, and marks him off from the continuity of life that flows indefinitely between the past and the future."

In Dr. Frye's view, three general types can be distinguished in Shakespearean tragedy, the tragedy of order, the tragedy of passion, and the tragedy of isolation, in all of which a pattern of "being in time" shapes the action. In the first type, of which Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Hamlet are examples, a strong ruler is killed, replaced by a rebel-figure, and avenged by a nemesis-figure; in the second, represented by Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Troilus and Cressida, authority is split and the hero is destroyed by a conflict between social and personal loyalties; and in the third, Othello, King Lear, and Timon of Athens, the central figure is cut off from his world, largely as a result of his failure to comprehend the dynamics of that world. What all these plays show us, Dr. Frye maintains, is "the impact of heroic energy on the human situation" with the result that the "heroic is normally destroyed ... and the human situation goes on surviving."

Fools of Time will be welcomed not only by many scholars who are familiar with Dr. Frye's keen critical insight but also by undergraduates, graduates, high-school and university teachers who have long valued his work as a means toward a firmer grasp and deeper understanding of English literature.

In his earlier work on King Lear, Mr. Heilman combined a number of critical procedures to form a new and important approach to Shakespearian criticism. His study of Othello displays the maturity of insight and skill in analysis the years have brought him in developing his critical method. Mr. Heilman takes account of stage effects; he traces out literal and symbolic meanings; he analyzes plot relationships; he examines characters in terms of both their psychological and their moral situations, and style in relation to both character and meaning. He traces some effects due to historical meanings which have now been lost by certain words, and he tries to measure the impact of the drama upon, and its significance for, the modern consciousness.

Mr. Heilman argues that Othello is at once "a play about love" and "a poem about love," and endeavors to find out how the poetry modifies and even helps determine the nature of the whole. He looks at numerous aspects of "action" (physical activity, psychological movement, intellectual operations) and "language" (speech habits, image types, recurrency in both literal and figurative language), and examines the essentially "dramatic" function of all of these. He finds the dramatis personae interwoven in relationships which may be seen, from one point of view, as "plot" and, from another, as the embodiment of complex themes. He treats Othello and Iago as figures that are not only fitted to a given stage but also represent permanent aspects of humanity-Iago with his "strategies against the spiritual order" and Othello with his "readiness in the victim."

How does a woman become a whore? What are the discursive dynamics making a woman a whore? And, more importantly, what are the discursive mechanics of unmaking? In Women and Shakespeare’s Cuckoldry Plays: Shifting Narratives of Marital Betrayal, Cristina León Alfar pursues these questions to tease out familiar cultural stories about female sexuality that recur in the form of a slander narrative throughout William Shakespeare’s work. She argues that the plays stage a structure of accusation and defense that unravels the authority of husbands to make and unmake wives. While men’s accusations are built on a foundation of political, religious, legal, and domestic discourses about men’s superiority to, and rule over, women, whose weaker natures render them perpetually suspect, women’s bonds with other women animate defenses of virtue and obedience, fidelity and love, work loose the fabric of patrilineal power that undergirds masculine privileges in marriage, and signify a discursive shift that constitutes the site of agency within a system of oppression that ought to prohibit such agency. That women’s agency in the early modern period must be tied to the formations of power that officially demand their subjection need not undermine their acts. In what Alfar calls Shakespeare’s cuckoldry plays, women’s rhetoric of defense is both subject to the discourse of sexual honor and finds a ground on which to “shift it” as women take control of and replace sexual slander with their own narratives of marital betrayal.
Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth — the works of William Shakespeare still resonate in our imaginations four centuries after they were written. The timeless characters and themes of the Bard’s plays fascinate us with their joys, struggles, and triumphs, and now they are available in a single volume for Shakespeare fans. This edition of William Shakespeare's works includes all of his poems and plays in an elegant manner which makes it the perfect gift for any lover of literature — a book to read and treasure! Whether for a Shakespeare devotee or someone just discovering him, this is the perfect place to experience the drama of Shakespeare's words. It is one of the most authoritative editions of Shakespeare's Complete Works.

This ebook contains Shakespeare's complete plays and complete poems in a new, easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate format. This is the most reader-friendly introduction to Shakespeare available today. 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare' collects all thirty-seven of the immortal Bard's comedies, tragedies, and historical plays in a Collectible Edition. This volume also features Shakespeare's complete poetry, including the sonnets. With this beautiful Collectible Edition, you can enjoy Shakespeare's enduring literary legacy again and again.

This collection features the following works:
THE PLAYS
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
All’s Well that Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Julius Caesar
King Henry the Eighth
King Henry the Fifth
King Henry the Fourth, the First Part
King Henry the Fourth, the Second Part
King Henry the Sixth, the First Part
King Henry the Sixth, the Second Part
King Henry the Sixth, the Third Part
King John
King Lear
King Richard the Second
King Richard the Third
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello, the Moor of Venice
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

SONNETS AND POEMS
The Sonnets
A Lover’s Complaint
The Passionate Pilgrim
The Phoenix and the Turtle
The Rape of Lucrece
Venus and Adonis


(The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare, 9789380914831)
For more than two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written his plays. Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what is generally agreed to be the finest body of work by a writer in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. Among the doubters have been such writers and thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, and Helen Keller. It is a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants, ciphers and codes, conspiracy theories—and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination.

As Contested Will makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeare’s plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays are fundamental questions about literary genius, specifically about the relationship of life and art. Are the plays (and poems) of Shakespeare a sort of hidden autobiography? Do Hamlet, Macbeth, and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them?

Shapiro is the first Shakespeare scholar to examine the authorship controversy and its history in this way, explaining what it means, why it matters, and how it has persisted despite abundant evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him. This is a brilliant historical investigation that will delight anyone interested in Shakespeare and the literary imagination.
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