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PRIMITIVE ARCHER MAGAZINE
Hunting Through
Medieval Literature

 
INTERDISCIPLINARY HUMANITIES
Peter Pan


HORSE & RIDER MAGAZINE
A Whisper and a Prayer


COURSE CURRICULUM ARTICLE
Christine de Pizan


GODDESSES IN WORLD CULTURE
The Maiden with a
Thousand Slippers


CONFERENCE PAPER
Hostages in the Rose Garden

 

 


        

"If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many, it's research."  Wilson Mizner, 1876-1933, American Author
(Please use appropriate citations)

INTERIOR DISGUISES:
The Masculine Intellect of Courtly Women in Shakespeare's Romances

by Doré Ripley, ©2006-22

SHAKESPEARE'S LAST PLAYS—Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest—explore the effect of masked female intelligence on patriarchal filial relationships, the dowry wars, and a woman's ability to run an estate. Tantamount to the health of the realm is the king's duty to pass on his noble blood to an heir, preferably male. The monarch's desire for platonic relationships creates daughters whose minds resemble princes while disguised as noble, chaste, and, hopefully, obedient princesses. But feminine intellect creates an unforeseen consequence, where once-compliant daughters act out as dissatisfied individuals. The verisimilitude of Shakespeare's feminine portrayals reflects the new Renaissance education courtly Elizabethan females received, creating the first truly modern women. Even while their accomplishments proved a profitable boost to family fortunes these intelligent women were viewed as second-class citizens. In Shakespeare's final dramatic romances or tragicomedies, the wife/daughter is perceived to betray her husband/father due to the male paranoia over female chastity, with the patriarch effectively destroying courtly women only to repent and resurrect them by the close of the play. But, these female restorations only create future ambiguity, thereby starting the father/daughter, husband/wife cycle all over again.

     The rest of this essay will soon be available in Reflections of an Age on the Early Modern Stage available on Amazon.com.