This essay shall determine whether or not tragedy invariably conforms to a conservative perspective on gender relations, or whether it can work towards bringing these into question. It shall draw mostly on Shakespeare’s King Lear and Marlow’s Dr. Faustus to provide more specific examples and insights. …
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engnether (1996) discusses that in the play King Lear, the relinquishment of the father’s authority also caused the unveiling of the destructive dominance and impact of female power and chaos, as seen in the acts of the sisters Goneril and Regan. Both sisters were not provided treatment as good examples of tragic female heroes; still their characters as powerful women should be considered without focusing on the existing 16th century stereotypes (Callaghan, 1989). An assessment of Goneril indicates how she is viewed in relation to her sister with Shakespeare wanting to prepare the sisters to be one evil entity (Liu, 2010). This theory can easily be founded in Regan’s own words when she expresses that she is made up of the same qualities as her sister, with the same prize and weight attributed to them both. Regan was the second child and as such has a different role compared to Goneril; she also has to work towards protecting her position as a ‘loving’ daughter (Liu, 2010). There are differences in these two sisters as Goneril is more intelligent than her sister, and that she wants Regan to simply follow or fall behind her. Shakespeare often applies the style of creating double roles or dual identities for his characters, having them connected and also contrasting with each other. Their differences are also observed by Dusinberre (1989) with the initial interactions between the sisters supporting such difference. As Goneril is more inclined to act on something, Regan is still trying to think on something. In effect, Goneril is the more dominant character in King Lear. She is the one who plotted to relinquish their father of his power. Goneril is also telling her servant to inform their father that she does not desire to see him. Goneril also detests the fact the...
This paper stresses that Shakespeare and Marlowe provide tragic plays which seem to portray differing perspectives on gender relations. In King Lear, Shakespeare presents strong women who take on masculine qualities in order to appear powerful. The perspective of Goneril is however very much unfavourable. She is presented in a very unfavourable, greedy, and evil light. It is interesting to note however that if she were a man showing such qualities on his way to power, he would actually be viewed with much respect. Based on Marlowe’s depiction of women and gender differences, women are considered in a more favourable perspective in terms of leadership and of being intelligent women, able to bring men to their knees. In relation to King Lear, tragedy seems to support a conservative perspective on gender relations, as the play shows how women seeking power are evil and are to be viewed in a negative light.
This report makes a conclusion that tragedy can trigger different reactions from different people regardless of gender. In some ways though, the differences are observed in terms of whether tragedy matches the conservative expectations relating to gender relations. The central issue in this case is based on family relations. This point is however very much debatable. ...
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