“Transfigured So Together”: The Mythopoetics of Shakespeare’s Warrior Queens
Boit, Kathryn Louise
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CitationBoit, Kathryn Louise. 2020. “Transfigured So Together”: The Mythopoetics of Shakespeare’s Warrior Queens. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractShakespeare opens and closes his early comedy and late tragedy with Hippolyta and Cleopatra, the exotic and unruly matriarchal warrior queens who challenge conventional gender binaries, and control narrative power from the outset. They hold the male heroes hostage for sex, in the same way that men use women in the patriarchal system. However, despite critical views which would frame Shakespeare’s women as, “defeated”, or, “successfully contained”, in their respective endings of marriage, and death, this reading argues that Shakespeare gives his queens full mythopoetic power to avoid inscriptive entrapment, and thereby choose their own stories. Their poetry also bears the memory of the original speech-act of creation which unites heaven and earth, and lifts their Amazon archetypes into the mythological allegory of Venus, and the spiritual realm of Hesiod’s Gaia, Mother Nature, and the Christian Mother of God. Like the male heroes, Shakespeare’s militant matriarchs receive visions of this Essential Female, and lay down their weapons of destruction, and take up creative roles to imitate Her. Thus, the queens give literary birth to their heroes, as immortal gods, and so transfigure their worlds, together, through metaphors of love.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364874
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