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Cymbeline+Amsnd

  • Date Submitted: 01/08/2013 04:40 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.3 
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Both Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (AMND) are both set in a patriarchal environment where both genders grapple for control. Valerie Traub defines the distinction between gender sex and gender behavior as “Sex refers to the . . . biological distinctions between male and female bodies. Gender refers to those meanings derived from the division of male and female . . . the attributes considered appropriate to each: ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine.’”   Patriarchy indirectly opposes this source of the meaning with male leaders moderating their control with their own male qualities. However, this thinking needed a stern control over the attribution of suitable behavior for each sex, signifying that gendered meanings “exist primarily as constructions of particular societies.”2 One display of this control contained in both plays is the orderly arrangement of female sexuality, a classification distinguished from the sexual characteristics of connecting explicitly to “erotic desires and activities.”3 Margreta de Grazia claimed “nothing threatens a patriarchal and hierarchic social formation more than a promiscuous womb,”4 and pivotally, both plays examine the supposed risk of unrestrained
1 Valerie Traub, “Gender and Sexuality in Shakespeare,” in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare, ed. Margreta de Grazia and Stanley Wells (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 129.
2 Ibid., 129.
3 Ibid., 129.
4 Margreta de Grazia, “The Scandal of Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” in Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Critical Essays, Valley Humanities Review Spring 2011 2
ed. James Schiffer (New York: Garland Publishing Inc, 1994, 1999), 106.
5 Louis Montrose, The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 176.
6 William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al., 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008), Act 1, Scene 1, 42, 97. [subsequent...

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