king lear paper

king lear paper - 1 Changing Patriarchy the Female Driving...

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Changing Patriarchy – the Female Driving Forces Shakespearean plays are written within the patriarchal ideologies of the Elizabethan era. Women were considered to be subordinate to men. This inferiority was clearly projected in the portrayal and representation of women and their sexuality. However, in “King Lear,” the fact that the daughters of King Lear have been living all their lives in a patriarchy, ruled over both politically and familiarly by Lear, is never directly touched on in the text. This male supremacy remains until it is disrupted and all power is bestowed to the two eldest daughters, Gonreil and Regan. Here, female rebellion is inhibited due to years of oppression and society is virtually turned upside down by this reversal of gender roles in control. I believe that by examining the events that occur, from kingdom reversal into daughter dominance to the submissive and weakened ‘feminine’ characteristics of Lear, one is able to understand what patriarchic society is established in “King Lear” and how women in power completely disrupts this system. Throughout history, women have always been at a disadvantage socially, economically, and politically. Shakespeare realized this and sought to bring the controversy that comes with feminine issues to life. Through strong female characters and the implications of disguises, Shakespeare exposes gender issues. In “King Lear,” all three daughters exemplify this but in different ways, contrasting good and evil and womanly dominance over female repression. I feel some supposition can be made, however, about their history of access to power, both personal and political. From their early behavior in the play we can guess that Goneril and Regan have had little access to direct influence of any kind. People assured in their own power do not usually resort to 1
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blatant hypocrisy, as these daughters do during Lear's division of the kingdom. Cordelia, on the other hand, is the acknowledged joy of King Lear, and so would have had greater access to personal authority through her influence over the king. Correspondingly, she has a much greater degree of forthrightness and assurance during the same division of the kingdom scene. Gender and power relations in society during that modern period of history
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king lear paper - 1 Changing Patriarchy the Female Driving...

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