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Explore the ways the theme of patriarchy is presented and developed in Romeo and Juliet and My Last Duchess

mapping connections
by

Mr Cobb

on 20 October 2015

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Transcript of Explore the ways the theme of patriarchy is presented and developed in Romeo and Juliet and My Last Duchess

photo (cc) Malte Sörensen @ flickr
Nexus
Romeo and Juliet
My Last Duchess
contexts/setting
Possession
& Power
Both Duke and Capulet confide in men and agreements are made concerning women as third parties.

'The Count thy master's known munificence ...'

I think that she will be rul'd in all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not' (3.4, line 13-14)
in all respects? Very different from his earlier 'my will to her consent is but a part' (1.2 line 17)
What's changed?
‘Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object.’
Who'd stoop to blame this sort of trifling?
The language of belittlement...and in Capulet's case, abuse!
Both men use language which shows that in their mindset or value system, women are of less importance, lower rank or power than men.
'chop'd logic
Mistress minion you' (3.5, line 149-151)
...A whining mammet' (line 184)
God
men
women
beasts
trifle - small, insignificant
Both men have felt it necessary to
act
to put a stop to .... or to protect their....
what?
... small
love
power
status
lineage
(cc) photo by medhead on Flickr
Oh come on sweetie! I was laughing at poor Pandolf – he’s such an old flatterer….
Yes I smile at them too… but it means nothing, just a passing courtesy.
Look … I just don’t like the way you …
Couldn’t you just….?
Don’t you realise that …?
'I choose never to stoop'
Women are at a lower level
Both men are unable or unwilling to talk to women as equals.
There is a kind of talking that can happen between men, and which cannot happen between the men and 'their' women.
Even had you skill
In speech - (which I have not) - to make your
will

Quite clear to such an one, and say, 'just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark'
The chain of being
Value system:
lineage
inheritance
dowry
honour
status
They are possessions or chattels
Both the Duke and Capulet place a high value on lineage (of the patriarchal variety); women are integral but passive 'elements' within this system.
'will' - the power to decide what to do; who should have this power?
And when Juliet "falls into line"
In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not' (3.4, line 12-14)
Conveys a sense of eagerness to seal the deal! A sense of complacency.
'I'll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning
'Why, I am glad on't, this is well, stand up. This is as it should be' (4.2, line 28-29)
i.e. women obeying their fathers!
Social order restored -
Everything in its rightful place!
Pardon, I beseech you! Henceforward I am ever rul'd by you (4.2; line 21-22)
Upstanding = honourable, decent, respectable
now
she can stand up!
Go thou to Juliet, help to deck up her' (4.2, line 39-40)
'I warrant thee, wife:
How now wife, have you delivered to her our decree?
legal terms - denoting power, control, authority, granting official permission
The Duke
Capulet
900 years
my nine-hundred-years-old-name
me
Both men are unable to accept a woman who can make up her own mind; that a woman has will or control over her own destiny.
A peevish self-willed harlotry it is...
How now, my headstrong, where have you been gadding?
words suggest inappropriate freedom for a woman - gadding is being on the loose, going around looking for pleasure. (Lady Capulet suggests that Capulet has done his fair share of gadding!)
I gave
commands
... then all smiles stopped together

Paris nearly leaves, but Capulet calls him back:
Capulet:

I will make a desperate tender
Of my child's love:
I think
she will be rul'd
will
is part of male discourse
Capulet may feel that the match is threatened, so he decides to act, to weigh in and do something. Perhaps he feels this is what patriarchs are supposed to do! But is he acting in Juliet's best interests or his own?
Duke and Capulet's language constructs women as relative entities, given roles and identities only in relation to men
I
Me
I'm the one with the name!
She should count herself honoured and fortunate!
doth she not count her blest,
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bride?
'My Last Duchess'
'How now, wife'
does she bring
me
honour?
A fitting woman to carry
my
name?
Does she respect
me
?
Take me with you, wife.
'...you child'
Struct
ure
I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object.
What does this statement tell us about the Duke's attitude towards women?
- has he changed or learned anything?
-is the structure significant? (i.e. it's almost as if he adds that the Count's daughter is the main thing he wants after dealing with the issue of the dowry - an afterthought, or a sudden guilty realisation that he may appear greedy, crass and materialistic?)
his fair daughter's self
His!
Count
Duke
messenger
Next Duchess
rocks
2010
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
Both Duke and Capulet
-and their attitudes towards women -
are constructs, made using language.
Do not forget this!
Look at the ways in which both Browning and Shakespeare manipulate iambic pentameter
both writers use various forms of disruption to the normal rhythm and flow of iambic pentameter
- Can you find a place where this happens?
- Can you make a reasonable point about why the writer might have done this?
According to EMW Tillyard, Elizabethans were troubled by threat of change or disruption of the social order
At that time, social order is patriarchal
women seen as threat to social order?
Capulet:
How now, a conduit, girl? What, still in tears?
Evermore show'ring? In one little body
Thou counterfeits a bark, a sea, a wind:
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is,
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs,
Who, raging with thy tears and they with them,
Without a sudden calm, will overset
Thy tempest-tossed body.
In Shakespeare, tempests accompany some kind of upheaval or revolution within social hierarchy (think of The Tempest).
Explore the way women and love are presented in My Last Duchess and Romeo and Juliet
punctuation
word choices
language
form
imagery
My Last Duchess:
a monologue. Why?
What expectations might this arouse in the reader?
What does this form enable Browning to do/say/show?
Romeo and Juliet:
Tragedy in blank verse.
Audience expectations?
Is that why Shakespeare has to make Capulet such an extreme caricature of a patriarch? (or archetype?)
Act 1 scene 2
Act 3 scene 5
Compare
(cc) image by anemoneprojectors on Flickr
'She's the hopeful lady of my earth.
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part;
And she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.'
gentle, lilting iambic pentameter with rhyming couplets sounds comforting and calm, helping to construct Capulet as a gentle, caring, father, putting his daughter's interests first.
'How how, how how, chopt-logic? What is this?
'Proud', and I thank you', and I thank you not',
And yet 'not proud', mistress minion you?...
Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!'
Look at the punctuation! Short, explosive bursts of phrasing; gone is the gentle swing of the iambic rhythm. How does this support the new construction of Capulet's attitude?
Deliberately stark, extreme contrast.
Why?
How do the writers establish the voices of the duke and Capulet?
How do the writers make the characters' voices change or develop through the text?
Why? What do they want to show us? What is the significance of the development?
Capulet is constructed early on as a caring, patient father?
How does Shakespeare make him develop of change?
My last Duchess
possessive
rhythm
meter
Look for disrupted sentence structures and halting. Look at hyphens and parenthesis
The Duke's language becomes troubled and hesitant as he struggles to explain his relationship with his last duchess. Why
Romeo and Juliet
Patriarchy
woman
'I choose never to stoop'
Women are at a lower level
Her
(Man)
Both texts present youthful, 'genuine' love and relationships as being defeated by the pragmatic interests and values of powerful (and older) men.
Capulet:
what do we think 'relationships' are?
Accepting someone for what they are?
compromise?
fundamentally...
& daughter Juliet
Full transcript