Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster

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What of the Duchess herself? According to Clifford Leech and James L. Calderwood, in studies of the play produced in the s and s, she is portrayed in accordance with the stereotypes of the highly sexed widow voiced by her brothers, and her marriage to Antonio is depicted as wilful, wanton and irresponsible Rabkin,pp.

Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster

Do you agree? It seems unlikely, then, Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster the play would invite us to endorse their views. A more credible argument would be that the play is seeking to discredit misogynistic attitudes to women by putting them in the mouths of its least appealing characters.

The Duchess is certainly violating norms of femininity in the final episode of Act 1, as she adopts the active role in the marriage, courting and effectively proposing marriage to Antonio. This contrast between nature and representation suggests that the Duchess is neither lascivious, as her brothers would have it, nor the inhuman paragon of loyalty and chastity — the alabaster figure, the holy relic — that men would like her, and women generally, to be.

She expresses her own sexuality in a manner that makes it sound healthy and natural, in opposition to a patriarchal mindset predisposed to see women in terms of the binary oppositions of angel and whore. The expression of love and desire is necessarily muted at the start, as the Duchess keeps up the pretence that she has sent for Antonio to help her in the preparation of her will. There are moments when her nerves seem to get the better of her, as when she forgets what she just asked Antonio to do and needs to be reminded 1.

But their mutual attraction is evident throughout, and in the theatre a director would need to decide just how openly flirtatious or guarded their initial interaction should be. And both parties waste no time in bringing the discussion around to the topic of marriage, Antonio revealing, when pressed, a touching desire for parenthood:.

Say a man never marry, nor have children, What takes that from him? Only the bare name Of being a father, or the weak delight To see the little wanton ride a-cock-horse Upon a painted stick, or hear him chatter Like a taught starling. If you will know where breathes a complete man — I speak it without flattery — turn your eyes And progress through yourself.

The marriage itself is represented in terms of harmony and mutuality. Would it have been a problem that the marriage was clandestine? To portray the relationship between the Duchess and Antonio as devoid of affection, as some productions do, is to ignore the copious textual evidence that Webster depicts it as a love match.

It is certainly true, however, that Webster never lets us forget the power differential between the bride and groom. The staging of the courtship stresses how much this marriage turns conventional gender roles on their he. Visually, this underscores her powerful position. The fact that we know what the Duchess is up to, while Antonio remains in the dark until the Duchess slips the ring onto his finger, intensifies our awareness of his inferior position. The point is not that Antonio feels no love for the Duchess, but that his motives for marrying are mixed.

We have just heard both Ferdinand and the Cardinal make thinly veiled threats to their sister, the language of which suggests that a secret, unauthorised second marriage will be met with severe punishment. These statements serve as prolepses gesturing towards the violent treatment awaiting the Duchess and setting up strong verbal links between marriage for love on the one hand and suffering and death on the other. Webster continues to provide verbal clues as to the fate of this forbidden union during the courtship and marriage. How would you characterise the mood of this passage?

I would say that the mood of the speech is extraordinarily defiant. We have just heard Ferdinand and the Cardinal threaten to punish a second marriage, but as soon as the Duchess is alone onstage, she dismisses them with withering contempt:. As in the opening lines of the speech, the Duchess acknowledges the problem but determines to use it to her advantage, just as men in battle sometimes do, facing danger and thereby transforming their fear into courage and valour.

Do not think of them. All discord, without this circumference, Is only to be pitied and not feared. This is a pattern that will be repeated throughout Acts 2 and 3 in moments of danger, as the Duchess seeks to reassure her husband, who consistently feels helpless and overwhelmed by the course of events. So the play, while staging a cross-class marriage, never loses sight of the class differences of the couple and the way this skews traditional gender roles.

This brings us to the vexed question of why she places Cariola behind the arras prior to wooing Antonio. Does Webster, then, reveal in his heroine traces of the kind of manipulative bullying we see as well in her brothers, suggesting that using people is part and parcel of being a member of the ruling class? Perhaps, but other critics have argued for a reading of this episode that is more flattering to the Duchess. For example, William Empson suggests that she hides Cariola precisely in order to leave Antonio free to decline her proposal, an insult he may have felt disinclined to deliver in the presence of her waiting woman Rabkin,p.

Whether the spirit of greatness or of woman Reign most in her, I know not, but it shows A fearful madness. I owe her much of pity. She does this not only in the speech we considered earlier but also when she says to Cariola. She is moving knowingly into uncharted waters, beyond the bounds of socially accepted behaviour where there will be no clear path to guide her.

It is in the absence of models to imitate that she identifies herself with the notion of masculine heroism so integral to her class. Cariola, too, is uncertain how to describe an aristocratic woman who is flouting the requirements of her rank and gender. It is against the backdrop of this poisonous courtly milieu that the marriage between the Duchess and Antonio takes on such positive meanings, and becomes a vehicle for upholding a view of marriage based on mutual love and compatibility and the right of a woman to determine her own sexual destiny, independently of her male relations.

Yet to a very real extent, Webster draws on the conventions of stage comedy in Act 1 of The Duchesspresenting us with an obstacle to true love, in the form of familial disapproval, and inviting sympathy for the lovers who defy that authority. Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University.

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Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster

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Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster

Course content Course content. Love and marriage: the Duchess What of the Duchess herself? Adrian Noble Manchester Royal Exchange, Photo: Photostage. Long description. Figure 4 Emblem of loving palms as a symbol of a good marriage, in Cats, J. Discussion I would say that the mood of the speech is extraordinarily defiant.

Love and marriage: Antonio the steward. Next Act 2: discovery. Print Print. Take your learning further Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. OpenLearn Search website Back to top.

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Beautiful wife wants real sex Webster

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