"Tigers, not daughters" This play reflects a patriarchal world view that seems terrified of women and what they represent. (Weston). Evaluate the presentation of women in King Lear.

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  • "Tigers, not daughters" This play reflects a patriarchal world view that seems terrified of women and what they represent. (Weston). Evaluate the presentation of women in King Lear.
    • Coppelia Kahn: women [are] primarily responsible for the rearing as well as the bearing of children
      • In the Patriarchal Jacobean era, women's value came from  having children. They had no role in the public sphere
        • When Lear curses Goneril to be barren (2.4), she becomes more dangerous, as her value in the eyes of the Patriachy has been removed.
          • G. Wilson Knight: "by cursing Goneril, Lear curses himself"
          • "a disease...a boil, a plague sore, or embossed carbuncle In my corrupted blood"
            • These symptoms are those of many illnesses, but have been noted to be the unfortunate consequences of sexual promiscuity.
              • If she is cursed to be barren, her sexuality will become one of pleasure rather than reproductive function, making her uncontrolled by the patriarchy.
          • If she is cursed to be barren, her sexuality will become one of pleasure rather than reproductive function, making her uncontrolled by the patriarchy.
        • When Cordelia refuses Lear's demands (1.1) she becomes a non-entity. "When she was dear to us, we did hold her so, / But now her price is fallen"
          • Capitalism forces one to sell labour in order to subsit. Her labour as a daughter would be love.
          • Once she marries - and is can be assumed to be no longer a virgin - she is reinstated within the imagery of transaction. (4.3)
            • Her new-found sexuality gives her rebirth as a warrior and a powerful and dangerous contender over the ownership of the land.
              • 1950s production directed by John Gielgud and Anthony Quayle: Cordelia with a breastplate and sword and marches alone as a powerful queen of France.
            • A woman’s virginity was often referred to as a ‘jewel’ as was seen as a prized possession. Contextually, Shakespeare’s audience would’ve been aware of this.
              • "[tears] as pearls from diamonds dropped"
            • "[tears] as pearls from diamonds dropped"
          • Transactional imagery. 3rd person pronouns create distance and releases her from her name and ownership.
    • Animal imagery in regards to women shows the fear of men at female sexuality.
      • Mckluskie: The play shows women to be the source of primal lust and forces the audience to believe that women in power create a chaotic world
        • Goneril and Regan are destroyed in the end by their sexuality rivalry and animal instincts.
        • In the Jacobean era, women were meant to be subservient and obedient to men.
          • A strong Protestant Christian context: following the perspective teachings of the bible: "Wives, submit to your husbands" Colossians 3:18
      • "like a vulture"
      • "detested kite"
      • "pelican daughters"

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