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The Role of Female Stereotyping in Seven Elizabethan Tragedies

Description: During the Elizabethan period, certain stereotypes existed concerning women. Seven tragedies were examined to discover the role played by those stereotypes in the dramas. These include "The Spanish Tragedy," "Edward II," "Bussy D'Ambois," "The Changeling," "A Woman Killed with Kindness," "Othello," and "The Duchess of Malfi." Female stereotyping was found to be used in three important ways: in characterization, in motivation, and as a substitute for motivation. Some of the plays rely on stereotyping as a substitute for motivation while others use stereotyping only for characterization or subtly blend the existence of stereotyping into the overall plot. A heavy reliance on stereotype for motivation seems to reflect a lack of skill rather than an attempt to perpetuate those stereotypes.
Date: August 1976
Creator: Mosely, Hazel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sharing the Light: Feminine Power in Tudor and Stuart Comedy

Description: Studies of the English Renaissance reveal a patriarchal structure that informed its politics and its literature; and the drama especially demonstrates a patriarchal response to what society perceived to be the problem of women's efforts to grow beyond the traditional medieval view of "good" women as chaste, silent, and obedient. Thirteen comedies, whose creation spans roughly the same time frame as the pamphlet wars of the so-called "woman controversy," from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, feature women who have no public power, but who find opportunities for varying degrees of power in the private or domestic setting.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Tanner, Jane Hinkle
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reforming Ritual: Protestantism, Women, and Ritual on the Renaissance Stage

Description: My dissertation focuses on representations of women and ritual on the Renaissance stage, situating such examples within the context of the Protestant Reformation. The renegotiation of the value, place, and power of ritual is a central characteristic of the Protestant Reformation in early modern England. The effort to eliminate or redirect ritual was a crucial point of interest for reformers, for most of whom the corruption of religion seemed bound to its ostentatious and idolatrous outer trappings. Despite the opinions of theologians, however, receptivity toward the structure, routine, and familiarity of traditional Catholicism did not disappear with the advent of Protestantism. Reformers worked to modify those rituals that were especially difficult to eradicate, maintaining some sense of meaning without portraying confidence in ceremony itself. I am interested in how early Protestantism dealt with the presence of elements (in worship, daily practice, literary or dramatic representation) that it derogatorily dubbed popish, and how women had a particular place of importance in this dialogue. Through the drama of Shakespeare, Webster, and Middleton, along with contemporary religious and popular sources, I explore how theatrical representations of ritual involving women create specific sites of cultural and theological negotiation. These representations both reflect and resist emerging attitudes toward women and ritual fashioned by Reformation thought, granting women a particular authority in the spiritual realm.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Reynolds, Paige Martin
Partner: UNT Libraries