Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The writers presentation of conflict and power between men and women Essay Example for Free
The writers presentation of conflict and power between men and women Essay In Thomas HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ and William ShakespeareÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , the writers portray the lives of women and men during their time. One could argue male characters are generally seen to be stronger and powerful than female characters in each of the texts. In Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , we are introduced to LearÃ¢â¬â¢s three daughters, Ã¢â¬Å"the eldestÃ¢â¬ Goneril, Ã¢â¬Å"dearestÃ¢â¬ Regan and Ã¢â¬Å"more opulentÃ¢â¬ Cordelia. In the story, Lear is seen to break natural order by dividing the kingdom into three for each of his daughters. He orders them to Ã¢â¬Å"say doth love us mostÃ¢â¬ , making Goneril speak first. Our reaction to GonerilÃ¢â¬â¢s speech is one of strong dislike, which is caused by her desire for power. The blend of power and femininity demonstrated in this speech from the Jacobean society is one of the main contributing factors to our disdain for Goneril. This is an idea which holds true today. It is interesting that for a male character this trait is not be so offensive. This is due to the gender differences and expectations in society. Similarly in the novel Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , we clearly see the treatment of women in Victorian society. The novel begins with Henchard auctioning off his wife to the highest bidder at Weydon Fair, Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢d sell mine this minute if anybody would buy herÃ¢â¬ , showing how in early nineteenth century England country women of this class, were viewed as nothing. They could be disposed of if their Ã¢â¬ËownersÃ¢â¬â¢, namely their husbands or fathers, wished, Ã¢â¬Å"it has been done elsewhereÃ¢â¬ , illustrating just how common these auctions were. This is similar to Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , where Lear has the power to order his daughters to speak. Equally in the novel Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , Hardy portrays the way in which men dominate women, presenting their greater control and power in society. Alec, for example, recognises how morally corrupt he is for seducing Tess for his own brief pleasure. This displays his power over her and his ability to take advantage of it. In reverse, TessÃ¢â¬â¢ parents ask her to work in the DÃ¢â¬â¢Urbervilles and she refuses. When her mother asks why she replies, Id rather not tell you why, mother; indeed, I dont quite know why. This shows us how aware Tess is of the differences in gender. She tries to use her power, even though it does not do much good. Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ is in the form of a play, where speech is a main aspect. Notably the daughters speeches to Lear, particularly those of Goneril and Regan, present authority and greed, Ã¢â¬Å"I am made of that self-mettleÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ proving to Lear, Regan is Ã¢â¬Å"madeÃ¢â¬ of gold or silver, as she begs Lear with her Ã¢â¬Å"highnessÃ¢â¬â¢ loveÃ¢â¬ . Proving to Lear she wants money and wealth, Cordelia on the other hand refuses, Ã¢â¬Å"Nothing, my lord.Ã¢â¬ , as well as mocking her sisters explaining how she loves her father Ã¢â¬Å"no more nor lessÃ¢â¬ , presenting Cordelia to be a fair and reasonable character. Likewise in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , Susan has no control over Henchard and his rash decision making, Ã¢â¬Å"dropping her eyes again, and saying nothingÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ . The word Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ here is different to Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , as the meaning of nothing here means no hope or words to fight back. However in Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , the word Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ is used metaphorically as no money or no love. The word Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ is used in another sense in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"look here; I wonÃ¢â¬â¢t walk another inch with you if you say any jokes about himÃ¢â¬ , confirming TessÃ¢â¬â¢ loyalty towards her father, she proves Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ in another meaning. Tess depicts how she will exclude herself from the group if they talk bad about her father, presenting female characters in the novel to be faithful and independent. Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , as a play, has no direct description of the settings and environment. Although we see the action taking place, we are also guided through the stage directions, Ã¢â¬Å"SennetÃ¢â¬ meaning a ceremonial entrance as well as Ã¢â¬Å"one bearing a coronetÃ¢â¬ , presenting a formal mood to the act. We are also aware of the Ã¢â¬Å"attendantsÃ¢â¬ who are involved in this large event. The female roles in this royal occasion are classified as the KingÃ¢â¬â¢s daughters, giving them a higher status than other women in the time. Hardy begins the novel in the Ã¢â¬Å"late summerÃ¢â¬ with the Ã¢â¬Å"valleys and woodsÃ¢â¬ and the Ã¢â¬Å"sight of several horsesÃ¢â¬ . He displays how women have a connection to nature, Ã¢â¬Å"she becomes part and parcel of outdoor natureÃ¢â¬ , that men cannot share as they are more involved with business Ã¢â¬Å"than of the systematized religion taught their race at later dateÃ¢â¬ . Hardy portrays how men are more linked with a Ã¢â¬Å"systematisedÃ¢â¬ world and the development taking place in the Victorian time. Similarly, Hardy uses natural imagery in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"a swallowÃ¢â¬ ¦flew to and fro in quick curves above their headsÃ¢â¬ , presenting a strong symbolic image. Swallows were often the first to land on a ship that had been out to sea for long periods of time, which relates to the buyer of HenchardÃ¢â¬â¢s wife, Newson who was a sailor. Foreshadowing the future, Hardy relates the swallow to Susan. One of Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬â¢sÃ¢â¬ recurring themes focuses on sight, where Lear has a lack of insight, as we see Ã¢â¬Å"how full of changes his age isÃ¢â¬ suggesting he is too old and making bad decisions. Unlike the female characters such as Goneril and Regan where they have strong insight towards LearÃ¢â¬â¢s actions, Ã¢â¬Å"he hath ever but slenderly known himself.Ã¢â¬ , this shows how generally male characters are have greater power over women however one could argue the female characters have a greater insight to the people and actions around them, such as Goneril and Regan recognising LearÃ¢â¬â¢s doom. Similarly in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , Tess has a large amount of insight to the world around her, this may possibly be connected to the daughters of Lear. However, TessÃ¢â¬â¢ misfortunes and fate create tragedyÃ¢â¬â¢s which eventually destroy her insight Ã¢â¬Å"Why it was that upon this beautiful feminine tissueÃ¢â¬ ¦ been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receiveÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ . As Tess is raped, Hardy uses the word Ã¢â¬Å"doomedÃ¢â¬ , where one could suggest it is TessÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬Å"doomÃ¢â¬ or Ã¢â¬Å"fateÃ¢â¬ to be raped. The meaning of Ã¢â¬Å"doomÃ¢â¬ is slightly different to Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ as we see TessÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬Å"doomÃ¢â¬ from the beginning whereas we see LearÃ¢â¬â¢s by a gradual build up. Differently Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , the word Ã¢â¬Å"doomedÃ¢â¬ could be placed in another sense as one could say Henchard shares the same characteristics to Lear with his rash decision making and again his lack of insight, causing the village and the people who are around him to be Ã¢â¬Å"doomedÃ¢â¬ . However the female characters such as Susan can see clearer into HenchardÃ¢â¬â¢s wrong actions and goes with Newson the sailor, Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢ll try my luck elsewhere.Ã¢â¬ A justifiable opinion could be SusanÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"luckÃ¢â¬ is far from Ã¢â¬Å"doomÃ¢â¬ by going with Newson, as one visualises HenchardÃ¢â¬â¢s personality from the beginning of the novel. In Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ one could argue Lear does not notice his own faults, Ã¢â¬Å"I am a man more sinned against than sinningÃ¢â¬ presenting Lear to self-pity himself as he displays himself to be the victim. However on the other hand LearÃ¢â¬â¢s favouritism for Cordelia makes Goneril and Regan despise Lear Ã¢â¬Å"He always loved our sister mostÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ showing how Lear could possibly be Ã¢â¬Å"sinned againstÃ¢â¬ by his daughters. This portrays how women who are more Ã¢â¬Å"opulentÃ¢â¬ have more chances of being liked. Similarly in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Tess was now carried along upon the wings of the hours, without the sense of a will.Ã¢â¬ As Hardy relates back to the theme of Ã¢â¬Å"timeÃ¢â¬ in the novel, Tess has waits Ã¢â¬Å"passivelyÃ¢â¬ for the wedding to take place as it is not under her responsibility anymore. One could say Tess is Ã¢â¬Å"more sinned againstÃ¢â¬ as Hardy uses another theme of fate and free will as a symbolism for TessÃ¢â¬â¢ life. She uses her free will to choose or determine her own actions; however these actions she makes, seems like fate always brings her down. In comparison Henchard in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ could possibly be seen as Ã¢â¬Å"more sinned againstÃ¢â¬ as well as Ã¢â¬Å"sinningÃ¢â¬ . Henchard had sold his wife displaying him Ã¢â¬Å"sinningÃ¢â¬ , however on the other hand one could possibly argue how it was not his fault as it was his fate and he cannot change his actions, making him Ã¢â¬Å"more sinned againstÃ¢â¬ . This could create sympathy for Henchard although he has done wrong, where usually the sympathy is for the female characters. In Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy by using a storm in Act 3 to conclude LearÃ¢â¬â¢s insightful decisions. The storm is presented as a microcosm of LearÃ¢â¬â¢s madness, as he encourages the storm to continue he shouts Ã¢â¬Å"Blow winds and crack your cheeks!Ã¢â¬ . Lear personifies the wind as he asks the elements to destroy him, Ã¢â¬Å"his little world of manÃ¢â¬ as he sees no importance of man or nature after his death. This shows how the word Ã¢â¬Å"manÃ¢â¬ is the centre of importance and how the power of the storm is imagined to be originating from Lear, a male character. The Ã¢â¬Å"fretful elementsÃ¢â¬ are metaphors for Goneril and Regan where Lear is contending with his family. Kent being disguised gives the knight Ã¢â¬Å"a ringÃ¢â¬ for Cordelia, being symbolic as the shape of a circle is seen with the Ã¢â¬Å"one bearing a coronetÃ¢â¬ . This could also be seen with Edmund using a dramatic device, holding a Ã¢â¬Å"letterÃ¢â¬ . This follows a theme of a cyclical story with the letter being passed around as well as the circular shape from the theme of fate and destiny. Likewise Hardy uses the Ring in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ to be a Roman amphitheatre, where he invites Susan to meet. Hardy uses this setting as there were ghosts of the past rumoured to be a wife and her husband, where a woman Ã¢â¬Å"murdered her husband was half-strangled and then burnt Ã¢â¬ ¦ of ten thousand spectators.Ã¢â¬ The ghosts of the past were metaphors for Susan and Henchard, who both have the past haunting them. This shows how although the woman was seen to be powerful to be able to murder her own husband, men are still seen to be stronger as she was Ã¢â¬Å"half-strangledÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"burntÃ¢â¬ for what she had done. In contrast Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ Hardy uses the past and compares it to the present Ã¢â¬Å"Phases of her childhood lurked in her aspect still.Ã¢â¬ , one could argue Hardy uses the past and the present similarly to Shakespeare and Ã¢â¬Å"Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ as the circular shape is used not visually but literally. Hardy describes Tess as an image of femininity Ã¢â¬Å"As she walked along to-day, for all her bouncing handsome womanliness, you could sometimes see her twelfth year in her cheeksÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ Similar to Lear with CordeliaÃ¢â¬â¢s looks being Ã¢â¬Å"opulentÃ¢â¬ , Hardy presents his female characters to be feminine and attractive. Hardy uses TessÃ¢â¬â¢s appearance to be the only powerful aspect of her, similar to Cordelia in Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ . The power which is usually seen in male characters could be seen as Ã¢â¬Å"defeatedÃ¢â¬ , as in Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , Shakespeare uses hyperbole to make the event seem larger than it is as Lear tragically says to the storm Ã¢â¬Å"I stand your slaveÃ¢â¬ where we see Lear as a Ã¢â¬Å"weakÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"poorÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"old manÃ¢â¬ . Ironically Lear says Ã¢â¬Å"I will say nothingÃ¢â¬ which could suggest Lear thinking of Cordelia as well as continuing this theme of Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ . One could say LearÃ¢â¬â¢s power has been destroyed from himself Ã¢â¬Å"sinningÃ¢â¬ and becoming Ã¢â¬Å"nothingÃ¢â¬ . LearÃ¢â¬â¢s daughters had more power than Lear from Act 1 however it is seen clearer in Act 3. Similarly the idea of being a Ã¢â¬Å"slaveÃ¢â¬ continues in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor or CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ where Ã¢â¬Å"His old feeling of supercilious pity for womankind in general was intensifiedÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ . Henchard is seen to be a tall and strong, male figure, as he tends to feel more dominant and controlling over women. Since women are physically weaker, he feels a Ã¢â¬Å"pityÃ¢â¬ for Ã¢â¬Å"womankindÃ¢â¬ because of their weakness. This could possibly be argued how women were portrayed as Ã¢â¬Å"slavesÃ¢â¬ as men have the physical and stereotypical power to rule against them. In contrast Tess in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ could be seen as a Ã¢â¬Å"slaveÃ¢â¬ to her own family, as she goes to work in the DÃ¢â¬â¢Urberville household to collect money for her family at home, Ã¢â¬Å"she ought to make her way with en, if she plays her trump card aright. And if he dont marry her afore he will after.. TessÃ¢â¬â¢ mother sends Tess away for work, however she realises AlecÃ¢â¬â¢s love for Tess and hopes for marriage. One could suggest her mother wants her to be married to Alec for the money which could present Tess to be a Ã¢â¬Å"slaveÃ¢â¬ in another meaning. However she includes Ã¢â¬Å"if she plays her trump card aright.Ã¢â¬ , which is ironic for Tess as it seems as if she has no Ã¢â¬Å"trumpÃ¢â¬ card in her pack. In Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ , Shakespeare relates grown men to compare with Ã¢â¬Å"babesÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ ¦to shake all cares and business from our age; conferring them on younger strengths, while we unburthenÃ¢â¬â¢d crawl toward deathÃ¢â¬ . It seems as if Lear is ready to retire, as he adopts the Ã¢â¬Å"royal weÃ¢â¬ making the event seem important. Shakespeare has displayed Lear as a Ã¢â¬Å"weakÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"old manÃ¢â¬ , however he gives another mental image of Lear Ã¢â¬Å"crawling toward deathÃ¢â¬ like a baby. One could argue old age is similar to being a baby as it leaves you Ã¢â¬Å"weakÃ¢â¬ and powerless. Goneril and ReganÃ¢â¬â¢s distaste to Lear humiliates him as they say Ã¢â¬Å"O, sir, you are oldÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ showing how they as female characters have greater power and order over Lear. The image of a baby in seen in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ , however it is used in another sense. TessÃ¢â¬â¢ baby could be seen as a symbolic feature for TessÃ¢â¬â¢ bad luck which Tess could not control. The baby could symbolise innocence like Tess as she has done nothing wrong however she is still punished by society, for an act she could not control. This is ironic as a baby could suggest new beginning, purity and usually visualised with a mother figure. In comparison a baby is presented in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , where Elizabeth-Jane is the step daughter of Henchard, as the previous baby died, Ã¢â¬Å"the little one too Ã¢â¬â the more the merrier!Ã¢â¬ The baby could symbolise the past and change, as when she died another baby was born Ã¢â¬â Elizabeth- Jane which could suggest a new beginning. Hardy used Elizabeth-JaneÃ¢â¬â¢s hair colour to foreshadow the future how she was not HenchardÃ¢â¬â¢s legitimate daughter. As HardyÃ¢â¬â¢s novels were in the form of serialisation the theme of Ã¢â¬Å"foreshadowingÃ¢â¬ became present in most of his novels. Differently in Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ there is no mother figure for LearÃ¢â¬â¢s daughters. Goneril and Regan are seen to be violent female characters in the play; it raises the question would they be more feminine and caring if they had a mother to look out for them? Women are seen to be able to nurture and care for their children whereas one could say Lear caused his own downfall by failing to provide a mother figure. As Lear says Ã¢â¬Å"Come on, my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?Ã¢â¬ this is the first time Lear is aware of the suffering of others, and acts like a Ã¢â¬Å"mother figureÃ¢â¬ to the fool, however it is the wrong time. Similarly the absent role of a mother figure is seen in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ , as Susan dies Elizabeth- Jane is left with Henchard. Elizabeth Ã¢â¬âJane begins to like Farfrae as she believes he seemed to feel exactly as she felt about life, presenting how although she has no mother figure to look out for her, her strong insight helps her to continue her life. As Susan left Henchard a letter explaining how Elizabeth-Jane was not his daughter, it seems as if he Ã¢â¬Å"disownedÃ¢â¬ her by making her leave his house. The mother figure was seen to have a responsibility which Henchard as a male could not adapt to although Elizabeth-Jane was seen to be a step daughter to him. Differently Hardy uses the mother figure in Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ however she is not present too often. We see her control Tess unlike in Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ where there is a father figure with no sense of control. Tess is made to go to the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervilleÃ¢â¬â¢s house by her mother, where one could say TessÃ¢â¬â¢ misfortunes began. She could represent time as although she is seen to be uneducated she still believes in Ã¢â¬Å"old superstitionsÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Between the mother, with her fast- perishing lumber of superstitions, folk-loreÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ Mrs Durbeyfield could also represent pre-industrial England with the Ã¢â¬Å"folk-loreÃ¢â¬ at that time. Both writers discuss the theme of women, however they are portrayed differently. Ã¢â¬Å"King LearÃ¢â¬ focuses on women gaining power and having control over the male characters. The female characters in Ã¢â¬Å"The Mayor of CasterbridgeÃ¢â¬ again have different roles, although this is mainly because the novel is set in the Victorian period where womenÃ¢â¬â¢s roles were to take care of their husbands and children. Lastly Ã¢â¬Å"Tess of the DÃ¢â¬â¢UrbervillesÃ¢â¬ displays how male characters have a strong control over women, and how this affects their overall lives.
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