Thematic Concepts Of Women And Justice In "The Revenger's Tragedy"

1754 words - 7 pages

The use of thematic concepts such as women and justice within the play The Revenger’s Tragedy represents the social and literary context of England in the early 1600’s. In this way, it also ‘holds the mirror up to nature’ (Hamlet, Act III, Scene ii). The playwright, Tourneur , has used features and devices within the text to aid the representation of these themes, and apply them to its social and literary context.
The Revenger’s Tragedy was written during the Elizabethan Era, specifically the Jacobean Period. This was the time of the revenge tragedy, and many other plays such as Hamlet by Shakespeare have evidently influenced Tourneur’s work. Hamlet was written in 1601, five years before The Revenger’s Tragedy was first performed. Both were written according to the idea of a Senecan tragedy, so many links can be drawn between these two texts.
One of the most prominent and clear themes Tourneur uses is the role of women. The audience is able to gain a view of Tourneur’s thoughts of women within the context of the early 1600’s in England, through the use of strong statements that would be considered sexist in our contemporary society. Certain stereotypical traits are evident, such as the idea that women are gullible - ‘their sex is easy in belief’ (Act I, Scene i, l. 107); untrustworthy – ‘Tell but some woman a secret over night, Your doctor may find it in the urinal i’th’morning’ (I iii ll. 84-85); and sinful – ‘there’s no pleasure sweet, but it is sinful’ (Act III, Scene v, l. 203). The use of sexual innuendo in these lines adds to the entertainment value of the performance and makes it appropriate for the English audience, while the oxymoronic phrase from Act III Scene v represents the two paths the Duchess can take, and is symbolic of options individuals in every day situations are presented with. These derogatory phrases refer to the nature of women in general, however they can not to be applied to all women.
A dichotomy exists within the play of the corrupt, which represents the majority of women in society, and the virtuous, reflecting a minority of women. Gratiana is considered corrupt after she gave ‘aim to her own daughter!’ (Act IV, Scene iv, l. 41), while the Duchess’s advances on Spurio her step son, give her an ‘incestuous’ and ‘sinful’ (Act III, Scene v) name. In comparison, Gloriana and Antonio’s wife both died to protect their family honour, while Castiza by her own admission, sees the power women possess: ‘If maidens would, men’s words could have no power; A virgin honour is a crystal tower’ (Act IV, Scene iv, ll. 151-152). This rhyming couplet highlights the didactic function of the play for the audience in creating a moral society. By definition, those virtuous characters are ‘chaste’ and ‘morally upright’. In this play, the audience gains a representation of Tourneur’s thoughts on society; that the majority of women are corrupt, however a minority of individuals exist that are virtuous. This dichotomy does not...

Find Another Essay On Thematic Concepts of Women and Justice in "The Revenger's Tragedy"

The criminal justice system has been important in defining, explaining and controlling behaviors understood as deviant. Discuss two sociological responses to concepts of criminal deviance.

645 words - 3 pages and cultural phenomena are stressed in both sociological responses, considering social systems, structures and processes for the plight of criminal deviance. The underlying limitation of all sociological theories is that they ignore the role of personal choice to engage in deviant acts though despite the criticisms and limitations of the sociology of deviance, the theories still remain as a useful tool to analyze the functions of the criminal justice system.van Krieken R. et al., Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, 2000

The Tragedy of Justice in Billy Budd by Charles A. Reich

1279 words - 5 pages of Justice in Billy Budd” as well as Robert K. Martin’s “Is Vere a Hero?” Both essays argue whether Vere was the hero or the Villain. They also both question the fine line between law and humanity. Just because a law is made a law it doesn’t necessarily mean it is humane. When comparing the two essay’s the points made in Reich’s “The Tragedy of Justice in Billy Budd” are stronger than those made in Martin’s essay and therefore is more persuasive

Thematic Complexity of Love in Romeo and Juliet

2287 words - 9 pages patient and not done in haste. If so, then it is ultimately doomed to fail, as is the case of Romeo and Juliet. Being as that their love revolves around time it cannot be natural and open and take a natural course. The timing of each action influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. Time is a big issue when it comes to their love, because time almost

The Concepts Of Morality And Sin In The Scarlet Letter

1250 words - 5 pages The Concepts of Morality and Sin in the Scarlet Letter Many interpret The Scarlet Letter as a story based on love and passion. In his Criticism "The Scarlet Letter as a Love Story" Ernest Sandeen writes about the "erotic passion" and "courtly love" displayed in the novel, and he calls it "Hawthorne's own version of the traditional story of passion." It is clear that the Scarlet Letter includes passion and love, but are we

The USe of Secrets as a Thematic Device in Bartleby.

1541 words - 6 pages in conjunction with, him about his feelings on Bartleby. He wants reassurance from his employees that he is right about Bartleby's behavior being odd, "He begins, as it were, vaguely to surmise that, wonderful as it may be, all the justice and all the reason are on the other side. Accordingly, if any disinterested persons are present, he turns to them for some reinforcement for his own faltering mind" (1186). Each of the other employees gives

The Thematic Application of Music In "Twelfth Night"

1051 words - 4 pages "If music be the food of love, play on…" With these words as the play's beginning, it comes as no surprise that the correlation between love and music turns out to be a significant motif of Twelfth Night, exploited often by Shakespeare and on several occasions. His incorporation of song and instrumentation in the midst of prose emphasizes the atmosphere of melancholy and comedy that the dialogue creates, playing off of the action and

Women as Instigators of Tragedy in the Works of William Shakespeare

1350 words - 5 pages Women as Instigators of Tragedy in the Works of Shakespeare   It is the very error of the moon; She comes more nearer earth than she was wont, And makes men mad. (Othello 5.2.112-14)             The moon is often seen in literature as an allegory for love, virtue, and chastity. In Shakespeare's comedies, especially, the moon is personified as Diana, the Roman goddess of chastity. In these comedies, the foolish antics

Discuss The Thematic And Symbolic Importance Of Animals In The Works Of Theodore Roethke, James Dickey And Other Authors Studied

523 words - 2 pages Discuss the thematic and symbolic importance of animals in the works of Theodore Roethke, James Dickey and other authors we studied.Theodore Roethke and James Dickey use animals and the theme of nature throughout their works. Roethke was known for his use of nature, "greenhouses", and for the animal-like characteristics that he gave plants. In Cuttings, Roethke animates the plants with "stem-fur dries" and "tendrilous horn". In

Manipulators in Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" and "The Tragedy of Othello"

531 words - 2 pages William Shakespeare made two great plays: The tragedy of Julius Caesar and The tragedy of Othello (The Moor of Venice). In those plays there were methods of manipulation used by one of the characters in each play. Before I go far, allow me to provide you some feedback on both. Julius Caesar is an exceedingly determined political leader in Rome and his endeavor is to become an autocrat. A soothsayer presaged him that he should “beware the

Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society

1454 words - 6 pages Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society *No Works Cited The life of Renaissance women was not one that was conducive to independence, or much else, outside of their obligations to her husband and the running of the household in general. Women, viewed as property in Renaissance culture, were valued for their class, position, and the wealth (or lack thereof) that they would bring into a marriage. This being said, the role

The Causes of the Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet

1270 words - 5 pages The Causes of the Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet There are many causes to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet and throughout the play Shakespeare's use of language hints to the eventual outcome. One of the most important causes is the feud between the two families, Capulet and Montague. It is a major cause because if the feud had not existed then there would be more chance of Romeo and Juliet being able to marry. Its

Similar Essays

Revenge In Hamlet And The Revenger's Tragedy

3210 words - 13 pages sensuality). So Hamlet's priority is to free himself from this 'foul and pestilent congregation of vapours' by his own death, and not the deaths of others. Hamlet's perception of women as sexually dangerous links well with the motives for revenge in The Revenger's Tragedy, i.e. Vindice's disappointment at his mother's vulnerability to bribery: 'I blush to think what for your sakes I'll do,' she says [2.1,24]. My emphasis so far has been on the

The Excellence Of Women In Shakespearean Tragedy

1830 words - 7 pages ... beauty, wit, and virtue." [Doran 135] Doran's article "The Idea of Excellence In Shakespeare" is a detailed work, which engages itself in the wide scope of Shakespearean sonnets and all his theatrical work concerning excellence. Doran says very frankly that due to Shakespeare?s representation of women, through his plays, it is very clear that he prides himself with excellence in general. Although Doran brings to our attention the importance

Representation Of Women & Ideas Of Morality In The Revenger’s Tragedy

1388 words - 6 pages The Revenger’s Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton (1607), has many themes and ideas which, through thematic and structural value, effectively “hold a mirror up to nature”. Through the representation of women and the ideas of morality presented, The Revengers Tragedy presents a significant commentary on society. There are many layers to Middleton’s work, and the deeper one looks, the more complex and subversive ideas begin to develop, particularly

An Thematic Analyisis Of The Catcher In The Rye And Of Mice And Men

1238 words - 5 pages Most people don't know what it feels like not to know themselves, but more specifically, what they're supposed to do with their life. The feeling disconnects them from their present life, and when they realize it they are messed up and don't know where they are or why they are there. The question most people ask is how to get out of the funk, they ask themselves how they got this way. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden attempts to answer these