MALE TRANSGRESSIVE BEHAVIOURS TOWARDS FEMALE SEXUALITY
A STUDY OF BRITISH RENAISSANCE DRAMAS 'TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE, THE DUCHESS OF MALFI AND MEASURE FOR MEASURE
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ACK N O W L E DG M E N T S
First of all, I am grateful to Mrs. Mylène Lacroix for her guidance during this research work.
I thank you for answering my questions and help me out with the issues of this work. I really appreciated your support.
I would also like to thank all the professors during this first year of a master's degree whose courses inspired me and enabled me to open my mind to further domains.
I owe my deepest gratitude to my partner, Arthur, for his proofreading and counsels, but most of all, for his unfailing support along this year.
I am grateful to my parents, who have provided me through moral and emotional support and without whom I could not have accomplish these years of higher education.
MOTS-CLÉS : William Shakespeare – John Ford – John Webster – sexualité - théâtre – femmes – hommes – transgressions – moralité
RÉ SUM ÉDans le Théâtre de la Renaissance britannique peu de femmes étaient reconnues comme dramaturges et aucune ne pouvait être actrice. La majorité des pièces de théâtre de cette période furent écrites par des hommes, désormais reconnus pour leurs œuvres, nous pouvons ainsi citer William Shakespeare ou Christopher Marlowe par exemple. Si les femmes n'avaient pas voix dans l'écriture des pièces, elles n'en avaient pas plus sur scène, le théâtre étant interdit à la gent féminine.
Pourtant, les pièces de théâtre mettant en scène des personnages féminins comme héroïnes principales furent nombreuses à la Renaissance, nous pouvons citer par exemple La Duchesse de Malfi de John Webster ou bien Comme il vous plaira de William Shakespeare. Malgré la controverse et la censure qui animent ce sujet, la représentation de la sexualité humaine a été une inspiration majeure pour le théâtre de la Renaissance mais également un sujet délicat à aborder de par les différentes instances religieuses qui désapprouvait l'art théâtral. Pour les auteurs tels que William Shakespeare, John Webster et John Ford, la sexualité, et tout particulièrement la sexualité féminine, est abordée de différentes manières, mais à chaque fois ouvertement. Ils analysent dans leurs écrits les concepts qui régissent les relations sociales sans tenir compte des bonnes mœurs. Le traitement qu’accordent ces auteurs à la sexualité féminine peut être vu comme une dénonciation des restrictions sexuelles et de l'obligation de conformité aux conventions de ce temps.
Le désir n’était pas considéré comme naturel et seule les actes sexuels ayant pour but la procréation était acceptés, dans le seul cadre légal du mariage. Les autres formes de sexualité étaient considérées comme de la luxure et condamnées par la religion, aussi bien que par la société. La perception de la sexualité féminine est donc un point qui m'est apparu intéressant à étudier. Quels regards étaient portés sur la femme par les personnages masculins présents dans ces œuvres mais également comment les auteurs et le public d'hier et d'aujourd'hui percevaient ces personnages féminins. Par le biais d'une étude sur le comportement masculin à la Renaissance, à l'aide de différents travaux d'auteurs contemporains et d'un travail de lecture personnelle nous analyserons le regard porté sur la sexualité féminine et les transgressions qui y sont associées.
KEYWORDS: William Shakespeare – John Ford – John Webster – sexuality - theatre – women – men – transgressions – morality
AB ST R ACT
The English Renaissance Drama accepted only few women as playwrights and none was recognised as actress. During that period most of plays were written by men which were renowned for their works, such as William Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe. If women had not their say in the writing of plays, they had not their say on stage either. Theatrical performances were completely forbidden to womankind.
However, in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, there were plenty of plays which dealt with female characters as their main characters, such as The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster or As You Like It by William Shakespeare. In spite of the controversy and censorship which led this topic, the representation of the human sexuality had been a major inspiration for Renaissance Drama. Yet, it was a complex subject to deal with in the theatre due to the different religious bodies which disapproved the theatrical art. For authors such as William Shakespeare, John Webster and John Ford, sexuality, and female sexuality in particular, is broached in different ways but openly. In their plays they analyse the concepts which determine social relationships without taking account of good moral standards. How these authors deal with female sexuality can be considered as a denunciation of the sexual restrictions and the obligation to comply with the norms of this period. Desire was not considered as natural and only the sexual activities that led to procreation were acceptable, and only through the bonds of matrimony. Other forms of sexuality were considered as lust and condemned by religion, as well as by society. The perceptions of female sexuality in Jacobean plays seemed interesting to study. How male characters understood female characters' sexuality in these plays, also how the authors and the past and present audiences and readers understood the female characters. Through a study on the male behaviour in the Renaissance, by way of different works written by modern-day authors and critics, and a personal study of the plays under study, we will analyse the male understanding of female sexuality and the transgressive behaviours associated.
GENERAL INTRODUCTION ...1
1. WOMEN IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY THEATRE. ...5
1.1. SEXUAL PRACTICES IN ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN CONTEXT ...5
1.2. WOMEN'S BODIES AS A SOCIAL ISSUE. ...9
1.3. BIASED REPRESENTATIONS OF WOMEN'S SEXUALITY ONSTAGE. ...13
2. MALE UNDERSTANDING OF WOMEN'S SEXUALITY. ...17
2.1. SOCIAL ORDER LEADING TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE. ...17
2.2. MORAL UNDERSTANDING OF WOMEN'S SEXUALITY. ...26
2.3. CHALLENGING MALE POWER. ...33
3. AN AMBIGUOUS FEMALE SEXUALITY. ...39
3.1. WOMEN'S BODIES. ...39
3.2. WHORES AND SAINTS ...46
3.3. EDUCATED AND FEMININE. ...51
4. THE MODERNITY OF THE PLAYS. ...55
4.1. ORIGINAL PLAYS...55
4.2. FEMINIST PLAYS ...61
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ...70
TABLE OF CONTENTS ...83
All quotes are taken exclusively from the following editions, if another edition is used it will be specified:
- FORD John. ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Other Plays. OUP Oxford, 2008.
- SHAKESPEARE William. Measure for Measure: The Oxford Shakespeare. Reissue, OUP Oxford, 2008.
- WEBSTER John. The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays. Reissue, OUP Oxford, 2009.
"Who Could not say, 'Tis Pity she's a Whore"
John Ford, 'Tis Pity she's a Whore
This statement comes from John Ford's 'Tis Pity she's a Whore, first published in 1633. It puts women in the centre of the evils of humanity. This sentence deals with the female oppression and the social construction of femininity.
In the following work, I chose to deal with the notion of female sexuality through the male perspective because I wanted to understand the female social construction that occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in England. To what extent male transgressive behaviours towards female sexuality existed in the Renaissance drama, and how this vision of femininity can be considered as the reflection of the Renaissance society, which was based on a patriarchal model.
The title of my work puts the focal point on women through male transgressive behaviours. The verb "to transgress" means "to go beyond the limit of what is morally or legally acceptable"1. This definition is blurred because of the notion of morality. Indeed,
"morality" designates the principles that concern right and wrong or good and bad behaviours2. Morals are strictly personal and concern personal point of view. However, common beliefs can be shared by society concerning what women's behaviours should be.
In the beginning, my researches were based on the understanding of the female position in the Renaissance society. The significant changes that took place in the Renaissance period also concerned women. According to Lawrence Stone this period was the source of the fragmentation of cultural norms3. But how does it affect men and women's behaviours towards female sexuality?
The female gender represents half of the society. Yet, they are frequently represented – even nowadays – as inferior to men. Female sexuality is widely under control because of many factors including the patriarchal system, the religious communities and beliefs,
1 "Tran.gress", Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2010, p.1645.
2 "Mor.al.ity", Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2010, p.994.
3 L. STONE, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800. Penguin Books, 1977, p.23.
although they are still underrepresented in each domain of society. Joan Kelly-Gadol even asked "Did women have a Renaissance?" in 1977, answering herself that the response was
Therefore, I wanted to study the importance of women in the Early Modern period through theatre. The theatrical art seemed to be the most appropriate genre of literature to work with as it was the most widespread and flourishing art of the Renaissance. It could be used as a medium to see through the Renaissance patriarchal point of view towards women's sexuality.
So, I chose to work on three plays which are Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster and 'Tis Pity she's a Whore written by John Ford.
Measure for Measure is a famous problem play by William Shakespeare circa 1603 which deals with the themes of morality and purity, amongst others. His play was considered as a problem play because it was classified as a comedy in spite of his dramatic themes. The common thread of the play centres around Angelo – the Deputy who rules Vienna in the absence of the Duke – who has proclaimed the closing of the brothels and has decreed sexual activities outside marriage unlawful. Thus, he offers to Isabella to exchange her virginity to save her brother who has been arrested for fornication. Isabella tries to keep her virginity with the help of the Duke and Mariana, Angelo's former fiancé. They organise a "bed-trick"
in which Angelo has a sexual intercourse with Mariana, believing it is Isabella. After the
"bed-trick", Angelo does not pardon Claudio and orders his execution. The Duke secretly exchanges the prisoners and saves Claudio. When the Duke returns and finally reveals the second identity he has had during the whole play, the masks come off and every character has to be honest, and receives what they deserve: Claudio and Julietta can marry, Angelo confesses his misdeeds and has to marry Mariana, and the Duke proposes to Isabella.
The Duchess of Malfi was written by John Webster in 1612-13. It is a revenge tragedy, which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "a drama based on a quest for vengeance"5. This play tells the story of the Duchess of Malfi, a widow, who remarries with Antonio, her steward. Her two brothers – the Cardinal and Ferdinand – forbid her to remarry
4 S.M. STAHL, Social Commentary and the Feminine center in John Webster, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2007, p.3.
5 Team 18, LL516-Editorial. ‘How Was Female Sexuality Presented in Seventeenth Century Drama?’, Folio, updated 29 May 2015, https://folio.brighton.ac.uk/group/ll516-editorial-team- 18/untitled. Accessed 30 Jan. 2019.
because of the disgrace she would bring to her family by doing so. However, the play deals with characters who act hypocritically. The Duchess' twin brother, Ferdinand, has an incestuous desire towards her. Bosola, a spy who works for her brothers discovers she is pregnant and becomes the key element in her death, he eventually tries to avenge the Duchess and her family. This play is about the corruption that can engulf a society, the abuse of power, and the cruelty which torments mankind.
'Tis Pity she's a Whore written by John Ford, was published in 1633, but first performed circa 1626. It deals with the controversial subject of the incestuous relationships.
Two young lovers, Giovanni and his sister Annabella, have sexual intercourses resulting in the pregnancy of the young woman. Soon, their love is discovered by Annabella's new husband, Soranzo. The tragic consequences that follow this discovery are all linked with this incestuous, but deep, love. The murder of Annabella by her own brother and lover, Putana's – Annabella's tutoress, who encourages her in the incestuous relationship – death, and the fight that takes place in the fifth act, leading to a massacre. All these tragic consequences seem to be Annabella's fault, as the Cardinal finally states "Who could not say, 'Tis pity she's a whore?".
These plays use female characters as protagonists, however, according to Somer Mary Stahl "the feminine center serves only as a glimpse into the abundant social commentary with which each play is truly concerned"6.
Ann Thompson writes that "'Sexuality' is a fashionable and controversial topic today;
not just in literature studies but throughout the whole range of the humanities and social and behavioural sciences"7. But in the Renaissance period, sexuality was already a literary theme8. Women were forced to act as the society expected them to act. Kate Millett in Sexual Politics affirms that "the social and cultural dimension of sexuality is linked with a political aspect because society and culture are "political" in an etymological sense"9. This would mean that the representation of sexuality – especially the female sexuality – relates to political and cultural matters.
6 S.M. STAHL, op. cit., p.1.
7 A. THOMPSON, "Shakespeare and Sexuality" in C. M.S ALEXANDER and S.WELLS (eds.), Shakespeare and Sexuality, p.1.
8 A. KOWALSKA, Entre Affirmation et Répression. Honoré Champion, 2015, p.19.
9 A. KOWALSKA, op. cit., p.16.
In the Oxford English Dictionary the oldest examples employing the term "sexuality"
dated back to 180010. According to Aleksandra Kowalska, the substantive "sexuality"
appeared in the medical books during the second half of the nineteenthcentury and probably had been invented to repress women's sexual activities11. In the seventeenth century, the term sexuality had not the same meaning than today. The word "sex" was only used to describe the reproductive activity, but it did not seem necessary, at this period, to name it with other words12.
I chose to work with modern-day authors who dealt with the subject before, firstly because of the information and different points of view that they can provide, both on the matter of the Renaissance period and on the three plays. But also because few critical works on the plays were made at the relevant period. The most known papers about women were written by men, and were often misogynistic, because of the common beliefs on women.
The importance of critical works and books about female sexuality in the early modern period, is also more significant in the last fifty years because of the worldwide rise of feminism and the request for equality between male and female. The critical works that I have worked with, deal with the feminist side of the three plays, even though this word is anachronistic for the Early Modern period. They state that women have a leading influence in the theatre plays.
The starting point of this dissertation will be the historical facts that determine the female sexuality in the English Renaissance period, in order to comprehend the sexual practices as well as to understand how the female bodies were seen through social issues and their representation on the theatrical stage. The second part will focus on the three plays to study the male understanding of women's sexuality, to show that sexuality is linked with sexual violence as well as a moral judgement of women's sexuality which leads to the defiance of male power by the female characters. The third part will show the female assertiveness in society through their sexuality throughout the three plays, with the presence of their bodies, the dichotomy between whores and saints which is seen through men's eyes, and the difficulty for the female characters to be both educated and feminine. The fourth part in this dissertation will try to understand the modernity that lies in the three plays, to what extent these plays diverge from the usual plays of this period through their inspirations, the
10 Ibid, p.18.
11 A. KOWALSKA, op.cit., p.16.
12 Ibid, p.18.
reflection that they bring about their time and to study the influence they have on the theatrical art, to eventually understand how these plays have a feminist essence, through the self-assertion of the female characters.
1. WOMEN IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY THEATRE.
The English Renaissance period had known a time of crisis as well as a process of cultural changes13. One of these cultural changes concerns the theatrical art which became the most profitable14 genre of the seventeenth century literature, as well as the most public and popular form of literature as it was accessible for most people, rich or poor15. Despite the popularity of the theatre, the city magistrates as well as Puritans preachers tried to close the places where actors performed owing to moral reasons and for public order and health16. They considered theatre to be sinful and that it allowed the public to despise the life they lived and to meditate over life to come17. Thus, it seems important to understand what the sexual practices were in the period, as well as the misrepresentations of the female sexuality and the female body as a social issue.
1.1. SEXUAL PRACTICES IN ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN CONTEXT.
1.1.1. A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY.
Although Elizabethan and Jacobean times were periods of great changes in society's way of thinking as well as transformations in the society18, it was still a patriarchal system which governed communities. In her book The Expense of Spirit: Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama, Mary Beth Rose states that “it would seem that traditional Renaissance sexual values—polarization of sexual roles, the subordination of women, and
13 M.B. ROSE, The Expense of Spirit: Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama.
Cornell University Press, 1988, p.9.
14 A. KOWALSKA, op.cit., p.36.
15 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.1.
16 F.P WILSON, "Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama" in R.J KAUFMANN (ed), Elizabethan Drama. Oxford University Press, ed. Ralph J. Kaufmann, 1970, p.8.
17 Ibid, p.7.
18 M. ABITEBOUL, Le Monde de Shakespeare. Ed. du temps, 2005, p.15.
marriage based on a balance of affection and property—constitute the norm against which the play’s biting satire operate"19, showing that patriarchy seemed to be a natural system for the English Renaissance. In the introduction of In Another Country: Feminist perspectives on Renaissance Drama, Dorothea Kehler and Susan Baker add that it is in “the direct interest of patriarchal power to believe […] that the particular conditions our society has developed for managing sexual drives, child rearing, and the economics of sustenance and inheritance are normal and natural and inevitable”20.
It was through the “idealised sexual norm of gender polarisation and male dominance”21 that persisted the normalisation of male control over female sexuality. Women never owned their own desire as they lived under a “transfer of authority”22 whereby the respectful daughter [would] be the obedient wife”23. Joseph Swetnam's pamphlet The Arraignment of Lewd, idle, forward, and unconstant women or the vanity of them, choose you whether, With a Commendation of wise, virtuous, and honest Women, Pleasant for married Men, profitable for young Men, and hurtful to none is a good example to understand the principle of male dominance and the misogynistic thoughts that could reinforced the idea of the female inferiority. He conveyed misogynistic ideas: “This first Chapter showeth to what use Women were made”24. For instance, he argues that “every married man knows this, that a woman will never be quiet if her mind be set upon a thing till she have it”25.
Even though misogynistic pamphlets existed in the seventeenth century, Mary Beth Rose explains that “The Elizabethan and Jacobean periods witnessed major transformations in the social construction of gender, the conceptualisation of the position of women, and the ideology of the family”26.
19 M.B. ROSE, op. cit., p.58.
20 D.KEHLER, S. BAKER, In Another Country : Feminist perspectives on Renaissance Drama, p.3
21 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.76.
22 M. ABITEBOUL, Le Monde de Shakespeare. Ed. du temps, 2005, p.53.
23 trad. “la fille respectueuse deviendra la femme obéissante" in M. Abiteboul. Le Monde de Shakespeare. Ed. du temps, 2005, p.53.
24 J. SWETNAM, The Arraignment of Lewd, idle, forward, and unconstant women or the vanity of them, choose you whether, With a Commendation of wise, virtuous, and honest Women, Pleasant for married Men, profitable for young Men, and hurtful to none, 1615, p.2.
25 Ibid., p.5.
26 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.2.
1.1.2. MARRIAGE IN THE JACOBEAN ERA.
In The Expense of Spirit: Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama, Mary Beth Rose reports that “studies […] have been primarily concerned to examine the interlocking connections between literary expression and configurations of political power, placing their emphasis on the relation of sexuality to public life.”27. “Public life” refers directly to the society and how sexuality is viewed and presented. Firstly, it is important to remember that before the Reformation in the sixteenth century, celibacy was the most
“prestigious form of sexual behaviour”28, because it preserved chastity, mainly for young women. Celibacy enabled the people who stayed chaste to protect their souls towards sexual sins. However, Protestantism tended to replace celibacy as the idealised sexuality by “the glorification of marriage”29, while keeping the female chastity and virgin virtue above the preoccupation of the Renaissance literary life, mostly to legitimise children and insure inheritance through marriage and its consumption30. Coppélia Kahn asserts that
"independent women without male guardians […] [were] represented as anomalies, freaks, or deviants"31.
In the seventeenth century, marriages were usually meant to provide alliances between families and avoid fornication32. In most cases for a marriage to be valid, the two parties have to establish an oral promise before a witness and then, consume it33. This practice was called per verba de praesenti, and it can be translated by "words of the present tense", and it engages an immediate effective marriage which could not be dissolved. This type of union appears in the theatre play The Duchess of Malfi written by John Webster. In Act I, scene 1 when the Duchess and Antonio get married, Cariola acts as the witness: "Be not amazed, this woman's of my counsel. I have heard lawyers say, a contract in a chamber, per verba de praesenti is absolute marriage"34. Per verba de praesenti differed from the formula per verba de futuro inasmuch as it was the permanent commitment whereas the latter was more a promise of marriage. As per verba de praesenti can be translated by "words
27 Ibid, p.9.
28 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.15.
29 Ibid, p.3.
30 Ibid, p.17.
31 C.KAHN, "Whores and Wives in Jacobean Drama" in D. Kehler and S. Baker In Another Country: Feminist Perspectives, p.246.
32 Ibid. p.15.
33 L. STONE, op. cit., p.30.
34 J. WEBSTER, The Duchess of Malfi, Act I, Scene 1, p.123
of the future tense", it only concerned a promise of a future marriage, one that could be dissolved. For instance, it is the case for Angelo and Mariana in Measure for Measure35. However, in the Early Modern period, women who married still stayed under male authority, that of their husband.
In the seventeenth century, widows had more power than married women. This power could appear as a threat to men because of the financial and personal autonomy they had at that time, compared to married women36. On the other hand, widows could be considered as whores if they decided to remarry37 without the consent of their families38. When they did so, they challenged the patriarchal system39. Rachel Prusko states that "[the]
patriarchal fear of young widows' propensity for lecherous, wanton, loose, idle, and foolish behaviour pervades the writing of the period and is often used as justification for pressing them into remarriage"40.
1.1.3. FEMALE SEXUAL DESIRE.
The patriarchal society was based on hearsay about sexuality and mostly female sexuality. Before the nineteenth century, the English language did not have words to describe the sexual activity beyond the reproductive act, and only the gender was called "sex". In Entre affirmation et répression Aleksandra Kowalska asserts that the Renaissance society did not speak much about sexuality or at least not in the same way41. Sociologically this statement could appear as true because in the seventeenth century it seemed that there were two conceptions of sexual love: it could be "idealised beyond physical existence" or "derided as lust"42. According to Mary Beth Rose, Puritans even had a "distrust of sexual desire"43,
35 D. LEMONNIER-TEXIER, G. WINTER, Lectures de Measure for Measure. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012, p.38.
36 G.A. SULLIVAN, P. CHENEY and A. HADFIELD, Early modern English drama. Oxford University Press, 2006, p.273.
37 D. KEHLER, and S. BAKER, op. cit., p.79.
38 M. ABITEBOUL, Le Monde de Shakespeare. Ed. du temps, 2005, p.52.
39 P. DROUET. and W.C. CARROLL (dir.), et al., The Duchess of Malfi: Webster's Tragedy of Blood. Belin éducation, 2018, p.98.
40 P. DROUET. and W.C. CARROLL (dir.), et al., op.cit., p.100.
41 A. KOWALSKA. op.cit., p.18.
42 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.13.
43 Ibid, p.31.
she even speaks about "perils and evils of sexuality"44. Thus, the female sexuality and sexual desire was a sin: "the female entrance into the sexual world […] is equivalent to sin"45.
In the theatrical art, sexuality and love were subjected to the analysis of satire and tragedy. According to Mary Beth Rose, the Jacobean satire "highlights sexual tensions"46 and expounds the dramatic form to show the struggle of women for independence47, whereas Jacobean tragedy points out destruction and protest of the current sexual discourse48 as well as a "harsh repression of sexual desire"49.
Besides, a woman could not entirely own her body, through her youth when her father had power over her future, when she married and that she had to be "one flesh" with her husband, or even when she was pregnant and that she bore a foetus, her body "[is] never fully autonomous"50. The only time a woman could give her desire free rein was when she was a widow. That was one of the reasons why widows appeared so threatening from the male perspective, because they controlled their own sexuality.
However, at that time both women and men suffered from sexual issues in a medical way, women in particular could have "gynaecological disorders [such as] vaginal ulcers, tumors, inflammatory or haemorrhages, which often made sexual intercourse disagreeable, painful or impossible"51 which tended to prevent even more women from having blooming sexual intercourses.
1.2. WOMEN'S BODIES AS A SOCIAL ISSUE.
1.2.1. WOMEN WITH DEFINED ROLES.
In order to study female sexuality in the Renaissance drama it is important to reflect on what it was like to be a woman in that period. Firstly, it is important to separate the rich from the poor women as their notion of life, love and sexuality would not be the same in some ways. Yet, they had one thing in common: they could not choose for their own life no matter their social status, they had no possibility to make decisions for their lives no matter
44 Ibid, p.18.
46 Ibid, p.42.
47 Ibid, p.47.
48 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.6.
49 Ibid, p.42.
50 G.A. SULLIVAN, P. CHENEY and A. HADFIELD, op.cit., p.276.
51 L. STONE, op.cit., p.306.
if they were nobles, servants or from the peasantry. As they were destined for marriages they had no other possibilities in the choice of career52. From birth to death they had to obey male power and "the training of the well-born girl was directed […] toward fitting her to become a wife"53.
In the corpus of this dissertation we will see women in touch with marriage matters.
From the moment women are married, they tended to have duties towards their families.
First of all, it included that they should have children to perpetuate the lineage54, preferably sons than daughters because girls could not inherit after the father's death. In the seventeenth century it was common for fathers to pay dowry to marry their daughters55 which could cost a lot. Furthermore, women did not have power over the state matters and even little over domestic ones, as the society was still built on the concept of the nuclear family based around the father figure.
Moreover, from the male perspective, women who became widows had to be remarried with the consent of their family, for fathers, brothers or other male kin to control them. The term "control" indicates that widows had more power than married women56 because they could inherit in case they did not have children. In the male perspective females were not considered as wise as males about their choices of partners. The male authority thought that the women could marry someone who would like to take advantage of their new fortune as rich widows, because they could be more valuable than single women57. Yet, unmarried widows seemed to be "threatening figures in the [male] cultural imaginary"58. In her self-published book Women in English Society 1500-1800, Mary Prior describes the female angle about remarriage. The fear of losing legal rights discouraged women from marrying again59, because it meant that the money and other privileges gained when their husband died would immediately go to their new husband.
To speak in detail about the female sexuality we can say that women did not own their sexuality. Chastity was one of the conditions for young women who wanted to marry60,
52 Ibid, p.127.
53 R. KELSO. Doctrine for the Lady of the Renaissance. First Edition edition, University of Illinois Press, 1996, p.78.
54 R. KELSO, op. cit., p.69.
55 Ibid, p.87.
56 G.A. SULLIVAN, P. CHENEY and A. HADFIELD, op. cit., p.276.
57 L. STONE, op. cit., p.72.
58 G.A. SULLIVAN, P. CHENEY and A. HADFIELD, op. cit., p.274.
59 M.PRIOR (ed.), Women in English Society 1500-1800. Repr., Routledge, 1996, p.79.
60 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.17.
purity was one of the most appealing traits from a male perspective. It was due to the absence or rareness of sexual protection and the link with the duty for perpetuating a lineage. Purity could also prevent men from raising bastards without knowing it, which was something that could happened and was dishonourable for men.
1.2.2. RELIGIOUS TRADITION.
Nowadays, anthropology studies social issues such as the sexual behaviours and the gender studies which try to understand what were societies' behaviours towards women throughout the history61. Social construction can be seen through the place of women in a particular society and even though "Elizabethan and Jacobean period witnessed major transformations in the social construction of gender"62, controversy about the female sexuality was still predominant in that patriarchal system.
In Entre Affirmation et Répression, Aleksandra Kowalska reminds the readers that the Early modern Europe was influenced by Greco-Roman antiquity. This period had been rediscovered in the Renaissance era, but also through Christian beliefs and religious convictions, for which women were considered as inferior to men63. This debate is experienced in the plays of the Renaissance period64. Ruth Kelso, with Doctrine for the Lady of the Renaissance, investigates principles that the young ladies of the Renaissance period were supposed to follow in society. She deals with the religious and moral education for women which was an important part in the period as it "would keep her safely concerned only with [domestics affairs]"65. This book shows that religious education for girls was not as profound as the boys'. Therefore, it was only another tool to teach women how to be obedient and good wives.
In the Renaissance period, women seemed to have a different role and approach regarding the sexual behaviour, they were more likely to be punished for fornication and as sexual sinners66. They also were not likely to have lovers, unlike their husband. Coppélia Kahn states that "Only a husband can be cuckolded"67 which means that men who cheated
61 J-F CHAPPUIT, Measure for measure, Shakespeare. ed. Atlante, 2012, p.358.
62 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.2.
63 A. KOWALSKA, op.cit., p.15.
64 Ibid. p.2.
65 R. KELSO, op. cit., p.4.
66A. KOWALSKA. op.cit., p.62.
67 In D. KEHLER and S. BAKER, op. cit., p.251.
on their wives were not considered to actually be unfaithful, whereas women would be accused of fornication outside marriage. Moreover, in the religious model of Christianity, but also in Puritanism, the patriarchy could not be challenged68. Even in sexual discourse, men dominated the tone as Lawrence Stone writes:
"sexual activity in the Early Modern Period has been described as 'man on top, women on bottom, little foreplay, rapid ejaculation, masculine unconcern for feminine orgasm'. As such it was a mirror of prevailing social relationships, where the patriarchal power of the husband for long remained in full force"69.
The submission of women in society as well as in the privacy of the bedroom is well shown in this passage. At this period female sexuality could only be associated with male sexuality70 because of the great emerging influence of Protestantism and more precisely of the idealisation that Puritans had towards holy matrimony71 which replaced Christians' praise of virginity.
Furthermore, through scholastic tradition came the inevitable antifeminists against feminists issue which was not as widespread as nowadays. Though, it put women as part of men's bodies through the story of Adam and the birth of Eve with one of Adam's ribs.
Because of it, women stayed inferior to male, they are the "imperfect version of man"72. 1.2.3. SEXUALITY AND POLITICS IN ENGLISH SOCIETY.
Women's bodies were still part of the political debate and could be viewed as a social issue on its own in this period although the patriarchal system tended to define women from the male perspective, which is an issue we will study later in this dissertation.
Sexuality was also part of the political matters, especially when we talk about the 'body politic', which was a term used in the medieval time to speak about the King, or Queen which united the nation through his/her immortal political power, in opposition with the body natural or private which was the real body of the ruler, the one who lived and died73. For instance, Queen Elizabeth I had been criticised by antifeminist thinkers such as John
68 L. STONE, op. cit., p.109.
69 Ibid, p.307.
70 A. KOWALSKA, op.cit., p.24.
71 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.4.
72 D. KEHLER, and S. BAKER, op. cit., p.83.
73 ‘The King’s Two Bodies’. Shakespeare’s Henriad and the Archives, http://shakespeareshenriad.weebly.com/the-kings-two-bodies.html. Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.
Knox or Joseph Swetnam because they did not accept to be ruled by a woman. She also had been criticised over her refusal to marry, and because of this she remains, in the popular culture, the Virgin Queen. Her accession to the throne had been possible thanks to the law of primogeniture (from the latin primo "first" and genitura, gignere "engender"), also called birth-right, which was applied in all stratums of society. It primarily concerned only the firstborn male heir, but then was implicitly changed for allowing firstborn female heir to inherit, until the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 which replaced male-preference primogeniture with absolute primogeniture.
Furthermore, if we focus on nobility or higher stratum of society, controlling marriage was also controlling sexuality and union between different families which was also a political issue. In an arranged marriage both men and women had nothing to say because it was a "collective decision of family and kin"74. It firstly concerned social order75 and sexuality was considered only as a social function, separated from love76 because it did not have to concern self-fulfilment but the continuity of two families. Because of that way of thinking, women of higher sphere who remarry beneath their condition can be accused of
"gross sexual appetite"77 because love was not considered as a reasonable condition for marriage in the Renaissance nobility and was highly disapproved of.
1.3. BIASED REPRESENTATIONS OF WOMEN'S SEXUALITY ONSTAGE.
1.3.1. THEATRE CONVENTIONS.
The early modern theatre had seen the emergence of "private houses"78, where companies which were not approved by the King, could play. However, it was more expensive for the audiences to go in these theatres and there were still public theatres such as The Globe which "attract[ed] fashionable audiences"79. When James I became king, companies had to have the royal patronage to have the right to play in public. Thus, Lord Chamberlain's Men – which became the King's Men in 1603 – was the most prolific
74 L. STONE, op. cit., p.70.
75 P. DROUET and W.C. CARROLL (dir.), et al., op. cit. , p.101.
76 C. KAHN, op. cit., p.248.
77 G.A. SULLIVAN, P. CHENEY and A. HADFIELD, op. cit., p.272.
78 S. TRUSSLER, The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre, p.92.
79 Ibid, p.94.
company in the seventeenth century as it was the King's official theatre company. William Shakespeare used to work there for most of his career as an actor and playwright80. The satirical playwrights who used their plays to strongly criticise the King and came too closely upon his susceptibility had seen their royal patronage removed81. Because drama plays were still performed in public events with its own influence over society, it could not express too much of a disapproval directly of the monarchy.
In the seventeenth century, theatre conventions were based either on moral purposes or used to deal with the struggling aspect of the English culture82. In the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, society was represented through the prism of Italian courts to "exploit their audience's prejudices against papistry […] but also [to speak] of an endemic corruption that could not safely be identified nearer home"83. The playwrights also wanted to represent the human nature of the era84 . In Théâtre et spiritualité au temps de Shakespeare, Maurice Abiteboul even tells that the "mythical Italy" was an "object of fascination, which constitute[d] one of the greatest obsession of the Renaissance English drama."85.
1.3.2. WOMEN OUT OF FAVOUR WITH RENAISSANCE THEATRE.
If we consider the female sexuality represented onstage, it was "more confusing as female roles were played by boy actors"86 and as women could not be actresses, they supposedly brought misfortune. This caused a problem as women started wearing men's clothing and King James I outrageously protested against it87. For Aleksandra Kowalska the women did not have their place in theatre, because of the moral damage that it would do to them:
"la liberté intellectuelle affichée par le fait d'être auteur était liée à la liberté sexuelle; parler de soi en public était semblable à se donner en spectacle
80 ‘Lord Chamberlain’s Men | English Theatrical Company’. Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lord-Chamberlains-Men. Accessed 28 Feb. 2019.
81 J.L STYAN, The Elements of Drama. Cambridge university Press, 1976, p. 92.
82 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.1
83 J.L STYAN, op. cit., p. 90.
84 M. ABITEBOUL, Dames de cœur et Femmes de tête, l'Harmattan, 2008, p.205.
85 trad. " une "Italie mythique", objet de fascination, qui constitue l'une des grandes obsessions du drame anglais de la Renaissance.", p.3.
86 A. RIGAUD, and F. PALLEAU-PAPIN, An introduction to Anglophone theatre. Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015, p.53.
87 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.69.
en tant qu'actrice, ce qui constituait, en quelque sorte, une perte de chasteté et suggérait un lien entre une femme écrivain et une prostituée"88.
Women could not, in the patriarchal society, strive after celebrity and professional recognition89. It can be questioned whether or not female roles were written for female actresses or directly for boy actors90.
Besides, the seventeenth century theatre was the target of Puritans who were opposed to it. This meant the "decrease in the play-going public"91 because Puritans would assert that
"the cause of the plagues [was] sin, if you look to it well: and the cause of sin [were] plays:
therefore the cause of plagues [were] plays"92. Stuart tragedy was accused of decadence93, because of the Early Modern society's fascination and representation of Italians' values which were considered as not morals. But also with the place of women, sometimes not represented as obedient and docile as patriarchal society wanted them to be. For instance, in The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, the Duchess challenged the male authority to remarry, which was something poorly regarded at that time94. Thus, in the Jacobean drama women were categorised either as angels or devils in roles such as wives, servants or prostitutes and witches for instance with no in-between as it can be seen in Swetnam's pamphlet The Arraignment of Women95. This pamphlet was a misogynistic and anti-feminist tract which provoked a controversy in the English society around 1615. The author had been contested, mostly, by three female writers among whom Rachel Speght, Esther Sowernam (who used a pseudonym which referred to the word 'Swetnam') and Constantia Munda, who also used a pseudonym.
The dangers of the female sexuality were also exploited in the seventeenth century drama, with the representation of the remarried widows which were "subject[s] for comedy in early England"96. Even marriage was one of the main dramatic themes of the Stuart tragedy97. In In Another Country, Coppélia Kahn states that whores are women who sleep
88 A. KOWALSKA. op.cit., p.20.
89 Ibid, p.20-21.
90 S. TRUSSLER, op. cit., p.96.
91 A. NICOLL, British Drama. G;G Harrap & Co, 1964, p.97.
92 R.J KAUFMANN (ed.), Elizabethan Drama. Oxford University Press, ed. Ralph J.
Kaufmann, 1970, p.8.
93 M. LAEL MIKESELL "The Formative Power of Marriage in Stuart Tragedy" in D.
KEHLER, and S. BAKER. In Another Country. Scarecrow Press, 1991, p.242.
94 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.79.
95 D. KEHLER, and S. Baker, op. cit., p.79.
96 M. PRIOR (ed.), op. cit., p.54.
97 M. LAEL MIKESELL, op. cit., p.234.
with other men than their husband, even if they are not married98. She later adds that "A virgin, is in fact, a whore"99. These statements show that in the patriarchal society women are considered as whores even if they do not have sexual intercourses, because men were afraid of not controlling the female sexuality100. They also tended to be moralistic with women through the female victimisation or the "distress virtue" theme, which was the idea that women needed help to protect their virtue. These moralistic behaviours were made to warn women against the dangers of sexuality.
1.3.3. CELEBRATED WOMEN.
Even though they were considered sometimes as whores, virtuous women were still praised in writings of the seventeenth century, and into the Renaissance imagination101. However, some playwrights such as William Shakespeare did not have the same patriarchal view towards female characters. Thus, "a great diversity of female characters" had been created in the Shakespearean theatre102. Playwrights also challenged the moral conventions103 such as in The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster in which a woman is in charge of her own home and is not willing to give power to her brothers. In the Jacobean plays, female characters can be celebrated even though they have a sexuality and are not afraid of unveiling it. Through the theatre, playwrights wanted to show the society's struggles such as sexual emancipation and sexual freedom. According to Christy Desmet "The Jacobean Drama also celebrates women who cross conventional lines between virtue and vice"104, such as the virgin Isabella who plays on her own sexuality and virtue to play a trick on Angelo.
However, apart from appearing in drama as written characters and even if their presence onstage had been forbidden, some women were part of the theatre landscape beginning with Elizabeth I, whose reign had seen the blooming of different arts and
98 C. KAHN, op.cit., p.252.
99 C.KAHN, op. cit., p.255.
100 Ibid, p.252.
101 M.B ROSE, op. cit., p.17.
102 M. ABITEBOUL, Théâtre et spiritualité au temps de Shakespeare. éd. de l’Association de recherches internationales sur les arts du spectacle, 1995, p.7.
103 P. DROUET and W.C. CARROLL (dir.), et al., op.cit., p.98.
104 C. DESMET, "Neither Maid, Widow, nor Wife": Rhetoric of the Woman controversy in Measure for Measure and The Duchess of Malfi" in D. KEHLER and S. BAKER, In Another Country, Scarecrow Press, 1991, p.71
especially drama. However, after her death, when James I became king, women did not seem to be in an anti-feminist fight against the Court, as they still had some prominent positions in it as well as in art105. Even if they could not perform directly on stage women could still be part of the theatre game being patrons when playwrights were refused by important men or when they wanted to have female patrons. In his commentary "Women as patrons of Renaissance Drama", David M. Bergeron states that he has identified fourteen women that were patrons of drama mostly rich women from the courts of Europe106. Because of that we can wonder if female patrons influenced women's cause through their patronage and if they had their say on what the playwright was writing.
Also, in the commentary of Jean E. Howard, there is a reference to Andrew Gurr's study Playgoing in Shakespeare's London. Through this study it appears that women were in "significant number" in the theatre audience, not only the aristocracy or the women of the Court but also citizen's wives107 who came from England's emerging middle-class108.
2. MALE UNDERSTANDING OF WOMEN'S SEXUALITY.
2.1. SOCIAL ORDER LEADING TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE.
In "Performing violence in The Duchess of Malfi: From page to stage"109 Estelle Rivier-Arnaud mentions the introduction to the 2018 Royal Shakespeare Company representation of The Duchess of Malfi at the Swan Theatre110. It heralds: "Please note The Duchess of Malfi contains violence, scenes that some people may find distressing, and a lot of blood". This announcement shows well how the interpretations of plays such as The Duchess of Malfi can have bloody and violent connotations nowadays. Something that was not unusual in the seventeenth century as Estelle Rivier-Arnaud affirms that "the succession of murders would not, however, have shocked the public in 1614 when the play was performed at the Blackfriars. People were used to seeing (fake) blood on stage"111. The
105 S.P CERASANO, and M. WYNNE-DAVIES, Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama.
Routledge, 1998, p.69.
106 Ibid, pp.71-78.
107 Ibid, p.83.
108 A. KOWALSKA, op.cit., p.36.
109 E. RIVIER-ARNAUD, "Performing violence in The Duchess of Malfi: From page to stage" in P. DROUET and W.C. CAROLL (dir.), et al., op.cit., pp.247-259.
110 Ibid, p.247.
111 Ibid, p.247-248.
violence, and mostly the violence against women, spreads through the three plays under study in different ways.
2.1.1. VIOLENT WORDS.
The emphasis given to words is important, as the plays are played in front of an audience, avoiding censorship is essential so it is important for playwrights to carefully choose the words they use. That is why violent vocabulary is significant in these plays. Some entire dialogues have violent connotations. Some sort of violence seemed to be everywhere in the Renaissance society, as "People saw it every day, on the scaffolds and gibbet, especially in the midst of sectarian strife"112.
In the Early Modern period, many tools, such as pamphlets, polemics and even poetry, were used to express discontentment and to intensify popular violence113. As the theatre is inspired by what happens in the society, it is not surprising that the violence was used as a main theme in the theatre of the time.
To enter more deeply into the analysis of the plays it is essential to deal with the treatment given to women, and more particularly, how they are seen and how the male characters talk about them. The main observation is about the change of behaviours towards women throughout the plays. At first, the male characters welcome the main female characters (Isabella, Annabella and the Duchess) as they are not a threat and they are obedient and kind. They do not see any wickedness in them, for instance in Measure for Measure, after their first encounter Angelo calls Isabella a "virtuous maid" (2.3.133). In 'Tis pity she's a whore, Act I Scene 2 as Soranzo – through the intervention of his servant Vasques – and Grimaldi fight for the love of Annabella, she is the centre of male desires, a status that she does not assume anymore at the end of the play. Concerning the Duchess, at the very beginning her brother Ferdinand does not consider her as able to make her own decision as it is shown in Act I Scene 1 when he talks with Bosola about the Duchess possible remarriage:
"I give you that
To i'th' court, here, and observe the Duchess:
To note all the particulars of her 'haviour, What suitors do solicit her for marriage
112 Review by R.W BUSHNELL of ‘Horrid Spectacle: Violation in the Theater of Early Modern England by Deborah G. Burks’. Renaissance Studies, vol. 20, no. 3, June 2006, p.437.
113 Ibid, p.437.
And whom she best affects: she's a young widow, I would not have her marry again." (1.1.116)
In this scene, Ferdinand is obsessed with his desire to control his sister, under the pretext of protecting her, he tries to control the Duchess' relationships. He even does not want her to marry again and his jealousy makes him hire Bosola to spy on his sister. As for Antonio, her future husband and current master of household, he considers her of "such noble virtue", naming her "the right noble Duchess" (1.1.114).
Nonetheless, male characters who see no threat in female characters at first sight are the ones who finally treat them violently when women do not follow the male expectations.
It can clearly be observed with the word "whore" that appears eight times during the argument between Soranzo and Annabella in Act IV scene 3 of 'Tis pity she's a whore, amongst other insults such as "strumpet" or "damnable monster". This scene is very relevant concerning the verbal violence that women endure as Soranzo threatens Annabella to death such as in "Thus will / I pull thy hair, and thus I'll drag / Thy lust-belepered body through the dust" (4.3.219). The violence of this statement is characterised by the use of the word
"belepered" that refers to the leprosy disease. As it is combined with the word "lust", Soranzo puts the lust and the leprosy in the same level of infection. According to him, Annabella is infected by lust and can possibly transmit it to him. Thus, the lust becomes a disease, that she has caught by having a sexual intercourse, and which contrasts with the purity expected from her as a young bride. Moreover, in the Old Testament of the Bible, leprosy is also a disease that requires people infected to be excluded from the community114. It can also be viewed as a sin-cursed disease because of Adam's and Eve's sins115. And as it is related to death, this may be a prediction of Annabella's death, a death related to her own lust.
The last sentence pronounced by the Cardinal is just as hard because he judges Annabella's behaviour only: "Who could not say, 'Tis pity she's a whore?" as if she is the only person to blame for the deaths and the chaos of the play.
In Measure for Measure the verbal violence seems to be reduced as the threat of death is not directly led towards Isabella but towards her brother, against whom Angelo
114 Cline, Austin, et al. ‘What Does the Bible Say About Leprosy and Lepers?’ Learn Religions, https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-leprosy-248632. Accessed 15 May 2019.
115 Gillen, Allan L., ‘Biblical Leprosy: Shedding Light on the Disease That Shuns’. Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/biology/disease/biblical-leprosy-shedding-light-on-the- disease-that-shuns/. Accessed 21 May 2019.
never ceased his threatening, repeating over and over sentences such as "he must die", "he cannot live", "he must die tomorrow".
The Duchess of Malfi is the play that identifies the most the verbal violence as the
"linguistic violence is a characteristic trait of Ferdinand's and the Cardinal's vocabulary"116. And each time they discuss together, the violence is shown such as in Act II Scene 5 when they talk about the future of their sister "Cursed creature!", "witches" (2.5.138), "I could kill her now" (2.5.139). In the case of the Duchess, she is called "whore" when she talks with Ferdinand in Act I scene 1:
"Duchess – Diamonds are of most value,
They say, that have passed through most jewellers' hands.
Ferdinand – Whores, by that rule, are precious." (1.1.117)
In that scene, Ferdinand already threatens his sister about a possible remarriage without his consent. If she remarries she exposes herself to be relegated to a prostitute level.
Furthermore, the word 'death' deals with the entire plays and the violence that is linked to it appears like the sword of Damocles above the head of women. Female behaviours towards desire lead to men's violence and the threat of death. There is a link between death and desire117. The terms used to talk about someone who has an orgasm is "the little death", which reinforces the connection between death and sexuality. Thus, in the three plays, to enjoy sexuality exposes the characters to a death sentence, for instance Claudio who is condemned to death by Angelo for his sexual intercourse with Julietta.
Moreover, this link can be easily seen in The Duchess of Malfi with the image of the fire used by Ferdinand. He uses this image to talk about or to the Duchess, associating the fire with sexuality:
" FERDINAND – Go to, mistress!
'Tis not your whore's milk that shall quench my wild-fire, But your whore's blood." (2.5.138)
Ferdinand reveals that he knows about the Duchess' children by using a comparison with the "whore's milk" and the blood. However, this connection between milk and blood announces the near death of the Duchess due to her marriage and pregnancies. There is also a double-entendre with "wild-fire" which might allude both to his anger and to his sexual
116 P. DROUET and W.C. CAROLL (dir.), and al; op.cit., p.249.
117 C. SILVERSTONE, "New directions: Fatal Attraction, Desire, Anatomy and Death in Tis Pity she's a whore" in C. LUCKYJ. The Duchess of Malfi. Bloomsbury, 2011, p.87.
desire for his sister. Ferdinand sort of admits his sexual desire towards his sister, confessing that he could imagine her making love:
"Talk to me somewhat, quickly, Or my imagination will carry me
To see her in the shameful act of sin" (2.5.138)
In this scene, he does not consider his own action – which is to imagine his sister having sexual intercourse – as shameful. He only emphasises the fact that the sexual intercourses that the Duchess has are shameful.
2.1.2. VIOLENT ACTS.
The verbal violence is related to violent deeds. As Lionel Charles Knights states about Measure for Measure: "La source de toute l'action est l'instinct sexuel"118. Most actions in the three plays are related to the female sexuality or desire and how men want to control it. In 'Tis pity she's a whore, Bergetto's death happens because Grimaldi is Annabella's suitor and Grimaldi wants to avenge himself by killing Soranzo who has married her. Soranzo's wrath appears because he discovers Annabella's pregnancy. Hippolita's death occurs because Soranzo has seduced her and has broke his promises. Thus, she manages to seduce Soranzo's servant, Vasques, and plans to poison Soranzo. However, Hippolita is betrayed by Vasques and is finally poisoned: "Vasques – Know now, mistress she−devil, your own mischievous treachery hath kill'd you; I must not marry you." (4.1.215). In this sentence, Vasques insults Hippolita by calling her a "she-devil". She is punished because she tries to avenge herself and because of that she is considered as a bad woman and a devil.
In The Duchess of Malfi Ferdinand is the main character who uses violence against his sister's sexuality, and kills the Duchess because of her remarriage. The violence also comes from characters such as the Cardinal who plans to kill his mistress to whom he has revealed the role he has played in the death of the Duchess and her children. Julia dies because of her affair with the Cardinal, she is also punished because of her lust.
In Measure for Measure, Angelo surely condemns Claudio to death because Isabella refuses to give him her virginity. Women have to use sex to get what they want, thus, men
118 J-F CHAPPUIT, op .cit., p.264.