The aim of this paper is to explore the interrelationship between
female rule and desire in Marlowe's Dido,
Queen of Carthage and
Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. This
exploration takes place in the context of an increase of female rule in sixteenth
century Europe and the subsequent impact upon male identity. The argument
demonstrates that when confronted with female power and sexual desire, male
characters react with extreme violence, enforcing an excessively masculine
subjectivity and homosocial bonds.
A number of issues are explored in
Marlowe's play, such as the relationship between a queen's ability to rule and
to contain her sexual desire. This fear was prevalent during Elizabeth's reign
and arguably; Marlowe uses Dido to consider the negative consequences of Elizabeth's
sexuality. The play offers an opportunity to investigate female attempts to
control reality, illegitimate desire and the threat of woman to empire.
The work takes a more specific focus with
Webster's play, paying close attention to the discourses of the sexuality of
widows and cosmetics to investigate male reaction to the Duchess' marriage. A
concern for cosmetics was a popular theme in Renaissance literature and the
work draws upon the writings of Philip Stubbes and Thomas Tuke. Overall, this
section of the paper is concerned with the interrelationship between male and
The paper encompasses a number of themes,
ranging from female sexual desire, the viability of
female rulers, violence against women and the formation of identity.
I am, unless I be deceived":
Female Desire and Ruin in Christopher Marlowe's
Dido, Queen of Carthage (1594) and
John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (1613).
The unprecedented rise of female rulers during
the sixteenth century generated a need to rewrite contemporary political theory
to accommodate female monarchs. In a study of works such as Thomas More's Utopia (1518), Machiavelli's Discourses (1531), and Knox's The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the
Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558), Jankowski demonstrates that the
prevalent attitude of the time was that women were unfit to rule, being
socially constructed as subservient and overrun by passion (54-74). The
necessity of marriage to produce an heir had the potential to place the nation
under the leadership of a foreign prince, whilst many feared that female
monarchs could use their status to serve their personal desires. This paper
will explore dramatic representations of this dilemma through a study of
Christopher Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage (1594) and John Webster's The
Duchess of Malfi (1613). The study will involve an overview of the general
perception of female rule as dramatised by Marlowe, before a consideration of
Webster's incorporation of general stereotypes into his work as a means of
dealing with a transgressive woman. The argument will suggest that the negative
images of female identity and sexuality transmitted by these plays are created
in a context of hyper-masculinity precipitated by female rule and that;
ultimately, fluid female identity must be subsumed by the fixed male subject.
hyper-masculinity will refer to male activities, such as the pursuit of empire,
and misogynistic beliefs about the nature of women.
main source was Book Four of Virgil's The
Aeneid and his work inserts itself into the Renaissance reworking of the
Trojan legend to represent hostility with Spain
(Shepard 53-79). The play is an exploration of both gender boundaries and
failed female rule, casting a female monarch as a protagonist who wishes to
retain her political power and exist as a private individual. Much of the play
focuses upon the emasculating effect of Dido and the threat of her excessive
sexuality to empire. The first encounter between Dido and Aeneas is dominated
by the queen's desire to assert her power by controlling the identity and
narrative of Aeneas. This short scene helps the pattern of gender performance
for the remainder of the play, as Dido is dramatised as "more dynamic and
dominant, and thus more conventionally 'masculine'" whilst the Trojan leader
develops as "reticent and passive and thus more conventionally 'feminine'"
(Deats 168). Aeneas gives Dido the power to decide his identity when he states
"Sometime I was a Trojan, mighty queen/ but Troy is not: what
shall I say I am?" (II.i.75-6). Dido performs two tasks in relation to this
question: she draws attention to the masculinity of the "warlike Aeneas"
(II.ii.79) and casts him in the role of lover by dressing him in the robes of
her husband. The creation of Aeneas's new self involves a reversal of roles:
during this period, women were dependent upon their relationship with men to
establish their identity yet here, Aeneas passively allows Dido to do so. She
forces him to occupy a position equal to her own despite his lower social
status as he "sits in Dido's place" (II.i.93), subsequently undermining his
position by attacking his reduced masculinity: "What faints Aeneas to remember
Troy/ in whose defence he fought so valiantly? Look up and speak"
(II.i.119-20). Aeneas's submission to her authority by telling his story
categorizes Dido as an emasculating presence throughout the play: Achates
describes her influence as a "dalliance" that can "consume a soldier's
strength" (IV.iii.34). Aeneas is unable to withstand her effeminising
influence, allowing her to remove his son from the court, to destroy the oars
of the fleet (IV.ii.106-9) and most significantly, to threaten her subjects
with excessive violence if they do not accept her lover: "Command my guard to
slay for their offence" (IV.ii.72).
Deats has suggested that
in this initial exchange Dido appears as a courtly lover, directing the action,
praising Aeneas and giving him gifts (163-78). The argument that this gender
reversal gives Dido power must be counteracted with both her reaction to
masculinity and evidence of her reversion to female roles. Shepard contends
that the narrative presents Aeneas as a diminished subject as he is interrupted
by flashbacks and subsequently allows him to stress his masculinity (53-79). He
maintains that Dido's attempt to use this speech to affirm her sovereignty is
weakened by the display of homosocial bonds required by the narrative: Achates
must finish the narrative for his leader. Dido is threatened by intense
masculinity as the violent content of Aeneas's narrative causes her to seek
some other "pleasant sport" (II.i.302). She places a lower class stranger as
her equal and becomes mother to his child, Ascanius
(II.i.98). By making Aeneas her equal, Dido encourages a masculine remaking of
the world, which will displace female identity. This tone dominates the
beginning of the final act, as Aeneas attempts to transforms Carthage into a new
Troy: the "petty walls" of Carthage will be replaced by the new city of "Anchisaeon", named after Aeneas's father (V.i.3, 22). Dido
moves between a natural and political identity, placing Aeneas in "a superior
position to herself simply because of his gender" (Jankowski 134). In later
scenes, her political integrity is damaged by her excessive assertions of
personal desire, as his departure would be worse than the downfall of her
empire: "It is Aeneas's frown that ends my days" (IV.v.120). The identity of
Dido thus wavers between masculine action and female subservience to men. Her
subjectivity is incomplete and fluid, coming into conflict with the fixed male
self established though empire and homosocial relations. Her reign readily fits into Knox's assertions
that female rule is a sin against God, "a thing most contrarious
to his revealed will" and a "subversion of good order" (5). She does not appear
as an absolute ruler but rather as a woman characterised by the flaws feared by
pattern continues in Act Three, as Dido rejects the love of her suitor, Iarbas,
before submitting to the influence of Aeneas. It is ironic that she creates her
rule by negating masculine desire as Aeneas instantly weakens her. Dido engages in the typically male literary
activity of the blazon or a description of individual parts of the beloved. She
tries to generate an ideal image of this man by fixing him in her view alone:
"Tell them, none shall gaze on him but I/ lest their gross eye-beams taint my
lover's cheeks" (III.i.73-4) and seeks to determine how the world perceives his
objectified body: "I'll make bracelets of his golden hair/ His glistering eyes
shall be my looking glass" (III.i.86-7). In a study of the influence of
Petrarch's sonnets upon the Renaissance concept of female beauty, Vickers
contends that Laura is "always presented as a part or as parts" (266). The
reason for this fragmentation could be explained as a means of controlling a
female lover who has the power to betray, as the prevention of a full self is a
denial of her sway and speech. It is possible to extend this argument to
explain Dido's effort to dilute the influence of Aeneas and restrict his image.
Dido transfer a means of controlling women to men but the effect is limited;
Laura is powerless as she is not a complete woman, whereas Dido is unable to
protect her sovereignty from desire, as she would empty her treasury to repair
the Trojan fleet and make Aeneas responsible for the safety of Carthage
(III.i.126, 135). She repeats the pattern of the first scene by making Aeneas
both her political equal and the source of reality for her: "Instead of music,
I will hear him speak/ His looks shall be my only library" (III.i.89-90).
Gender identity continues as fluid, as Dido is male and female, active and
passive. However, Aeneas changes the quality of her speech, arguably a reversal
of gender performance thus far: the male now determines and controls the
Dido has remained "free
from all" (III.i.153) previous suitors, but is unable to maintain this position
as Aeneas changes the quality of her speech, making it treacherous to her: "O,
if I speak/ I shall betray myself" (III.i.173-4). Desire directs her towards
silence, the ideal female state, and reduces the certainty with she can speak:
"I love thee not- and yet I hate thee not" (III.i.172-3). It has been argued that Dido's voice only
becomes gendered when she speaks to Aeneas of her desire (Kinney 1-13) and it
is this subject position that is the most threatening to her. A constant movement between natural and
political desires forces the audience to view her "as a woman rather than a
ruler" (Jankowski 134), which in turn supports the image of female rule as
characterised by passion rather than reason.
marriage of Dido and Aeneas is central to the play's depiction of corrupt
female rule and its emasculating effect. Based on Deats's
definition of male and female attributes (163-78), Dido appears as the active
male force making Aeneas the receiver of her desire and political power. The
scene, dominated by Dido's shifting subject position, takes place in a cave
where Dido and Aeneas are forced to take refuge from a storm whilst hunting.
She initially employs language gendered as female to express her desire for
Aeneas, which fails to serve her purpose: "And yet I'll speak,-
and yet I'll hold my peace" (III.iv.27). Dido is moving between an enclosed
political identity and a desire to submit to sexuality. It is her natural,
female body which briefly emerges as triumphant as she tells Aeneas that his
"golden crown might balance my content" and that "the Carthage queen dies
for him" (III.iv.37, 40). This discourse is immediately displaced by one of
power and domination as Dido renames her lover following his vow "never to like
or love any but her" (III.iv.51). She again gives him the name of her husband
and interrupts patrilineal inheritance: "Sichaeus, not Aeneas, be thou called/ The king of Carthage, not Anchises's son" (III.iv.59-60). She gives him a new
identity and attempts to rewrite history, acting as a male director of reality.
Dido elevates Aeneas to king, offering him Carthage instead of
Italy, whilst returning herself to the role of wife through her dead
husband's jewels: "This wedding ring/ wherewith my husband woo'd
me yet a maid" (III.iv.62-3). This usage of jewels as a gift imitates the opening
scene of homosexual desire between Jupiter and Ganymede, framing the
relationship of Dido and Aeneas as illegitimate and potentially destructive.
Jupiter gives his male lover the marriage jewels of his wife, allowing him to
"control proud Fate and cut the thread of time" (I.i.29). Both Dido and Jupiter
are depicted as sovereign rulers destabilised by sexuality who allow their
lovers to act as superior rulers. Dido's role as queen allows her to pursue
sexual desire and in turn, sexuality displaces her political power. Unlike
Queen Elizabeth, she is unable to unite both her natural and political
identities, creating a void in her subjectivity that will enable Aeneas's
masculine identity to emerge as superior in later scenes. At the beginning of
her rule, Elizabeth firmly established her central meaning: "Here lies interred
Elizabeth/ A Virgin pure until her death" (Marcus 60). Dido fails to exert such
control over her identity; even in her final assertion of self-"Dido I am,
unless I be deceived" (V.i.264)- she chooses neither a
political nor private role, wishing to exist as both. Virgil writes of the marriage that
"henceforth Dido cared no more for appearances or her good name... she called it a
marriage: she used this word to screen her sin" (IV.63-5). Marlowe explores
this attitude and its consequences for the remainder of the play, presenting a
conservative critique of a female ruler using public means to further personal
The final exchange
between Dido and Aeneas focuses upon the attempts of the queen to force her
lover to stay with her. Dido occupies a range of subject positions in this
scene, beginning with that of ruler. She acknowledges the threats she risked
for his love: "How did Carthage rebel, Iarbas storm/ and all the world calls me a second Helen/ For
being entangled in a stranger's looks?" (V.i.143-5). Dido is unable to unite
her private and political bodies, cataloguing the consequences of her lust for
her nation. The departure of Aeneas forces her to shift to a private identity, as
she would elevate her sister to the status of queen and live a private life
with him if he returned (V.i.197-8). Dido is reduced to "idle fantasies"
(V.i.262) by her unfulfilled desire and her suicide interrupts the
self-construction of Aeneas. The continuance of her own identity, both
political and natural is based upon the fixing of Aeneas's subjectivity: she
will make "Aeneas famous throughout the world/ for perjury and the slaughter of
a queen" (V.i.293-4). At death, Dido does not adapt a clear gender identity. In
a study of death and suicide in classical tragedy, Loraux has demonstrated that
male suicide was typically a public matter of protecting honour, whilst female
suicide was enacted in private as a response to this (7-30). Women die offstage
in the marriage chamber as wives attesting to their place in society as loyal,
yet here, Dido dies in public for love. She is both masculine and feminine, a
leader seeking to preserve her honour and a wife lamenting the departure of her
husband. The play concludes with the
deaths of Dido, Iarbas and Anna, three figures who renounce their autonomy and
identity in favour of lust. The play closes with an image of destructive desire
that has remained central to Marlowe's vision of female rule throughout. Dido emerges
as an inefficient ruler, overrun with passion and acting as an emasculating
force. The play is a conservative critique of female rule and an affirmation of
the Elizabethan social structure, enforcing the belief that women were be ruled
by men and could not exist as individuals. It has been argued, "repressing the
feminine becomes the occasion" of the masculinity of Aeneas and his soldiers
(Shepard 68). Female identity is subsumed within an ideology of excessive
masculinity, a theme predominate in Webster's play to which this study will now
has argued that power and sex exist in a negative relationship with each other
as power constructs discourses and prohibitions to limit sexuality (81-92). In
Webster's The Duchess of Malfi,
(1613) Ferdinand and Bosola, his spy, construct two discourses, the excessive
sexuality of widows and the ability of women to deceive through cosmetics, as
measures to encompass the threatening sexuality of the Duchess. Both discourses
can be defined as misogynistic, or a set of images that lead to the death of a
female transgressor (Callaghan 123-32). Unlike Dido, the Duchess shares her
power with her brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, both of whom seek to
guarantee the legitimacy of their bloodline by negating the natural body of
their sister. Their discourses participate in the control of the audiences'
interpretation of the Duchess, reducing the validity of her marriage to a mere
fulfilment of lust. The image of the widow is deployed by Ferdinand early in the
play as he contends, "they are most luxurious/ will marry twice" (I.iii.7). He
describes a second marriage through an image of disorder in nature: "like the
irregular crab/ which though it goes backward, thinks it goes right"
(I.iii.28-9). Linking female desire with irregular occurrences in nature also
appears in Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy
of Mariam (c.1613), when Constabarus describes the natural laws and
boundaries his wife, Salome, disturbs by seeking divorce: "Let fishes graze,
beasts swim and birds descend/ Let fire burn downwards whilst the earth
aspires" (I.vii.425-6). In both instances, female desire, either sexual or
political, becomes transgressive and abnormal, aligned with a monstrous natural
world. Ferdinand fears the knowledge his sister has of sexual desire from her
previous marriage (I.iii.3) and reminds her that she is not a private
individual: "Your darkest actions, nay, your privat'st
thoughts/ will come to light" (I.iii.24-5). The Duchess herself acknowledges
this complex interaction between private and public that demands she rejects
the sexual in favour of the political: "The misery of us that are born great!
We are forced to woo, because none dare woo us" (I.iii.144-5). The origin of
Ferdinand's wish to prevent his sister's marriage is based upon the fear of the
intense sexuality of widows and their status in society. Widows were inferior
to men but superior to married women and a widow's sexual knowledge could
enable her to judge her new husband (Jankoskwi 163-182). Marriage was not an
ideal means to remove this anomalous figure as a man could be moved "into a bed
vacated by another man's death," provoking a confrontation with mortality
The Duchess ignores her
brother's warnings, deriving pleasure from her role in social exchange
(Enterline 242-304). Like a diamond which gains its value from being "passed
through most jewellers hands" (I.iii.8), the Duchess seeks to become an agent
of her own desire in a secret marriage ceremony to Antonio, refusing both the
power of her brothers and the church: "How can the church bind faster?"
(I.iii.190). The duration of the play explores the consequences of the
Duchess's attempts to use her political authority to serve her personal desires
and to reshape her world according to the individualism she embodies. The
action of the play shifts to the birth of the Duchess's first child,
introducing a second discourse of power into the text.
tirade against cosmetics and monstrous bodies serves as a framework of
interpretation for the birth of the Duchess's child. His views cast the
pregnancy of the Duchess in a negative light, drawing attention to the
corruption of her bloodline and to a female body that changes uncontrollably.
Bosola attacks an old woman whom he believes has come from painting her "scurvy
face-physic" to disguise the "the deep ruts and foul sloughs" of her complexion
(II.i.21-22). The activity of face painting is linked to witchcraft, a
marginalised female role and he makes women monstrous through the ingredients of
cosmetics: "the fat of serpents, spawn of snakes, Jews' spittle and their young
children's ordure" (II.i.33). Cosmetics allow women to conceal a "rotten and
dead body" in "rich tissue" (II.i.52-3) and it is this ability to hide their
true natures which is at the heart of Bosola's argument. This concept features
in Jonson's Epicoene, specifically in the character, Mistress Otter. Her
body is reassembled each morning and is owned by different parts of London: "All her
teeth were made in Blackfriars, both/ her eyebrows in the Strand" (III.ii.109-10).
Cosmetics are integrated into the fluid performance of femininity, "where
femininity is a state of achievement and ascription, not a fact of biology or
gender" (Craik 90). Female identity is based upon styling the body; in contrast
to a male body defined by the actions it performs (Craik 90-117). During the
early modern period, several pamphlets and conduct books warned against the
dangers of face painting and the associated artificiality of women. In The Anatomy of Abuses (1538) Philip
Stubbes condemned women who tried to improve upon their natural beauty, for
such a woman "hath corrupted and defaced (like a filthy strumpet or brothel)
the workmanship of God in her" (Aughterson 75). Women surpassed the ability of
the chameleon or Proteus to alter their forms, thus making them both unnatural
and fluid. Like Bosola, Stubbes is concerned by the disruption of markers of
identity by cosmetics and apparel: "One can scarcely know who is a noble woman,
who is an honourable or worshipful woman, from them of the meaner sort"
(Aughterson 76). Cosmetics allow women to adapt any identity that they wish,
placing a multiple body in opposition to the fixed masculine self.
The views of Stubbes
were amplified in Thomas Tuke's A Discourse
against Painting and Tincturing of Women (1616), which argues that
cosmetics were "brought into use by the devil... therwith to transform humane
creatures of faire, making them ugly, enormious and abominable" (Tuke 8). For
Tuke, the source of this disgust for face-painting lies both in its function
and the ingredients, as the mercury based cosmetics caused gradual
decomposition of the skin, graphically described in the tract: "women who often
paint themselves with it, though they be very young, they presently turne old
with withered and wrinkled faces like an Ape... it drieth up and consumeth the
flesh" leading to "a stinking breath" and "corruption of the teeth" (Tuke
8).Finke argues that this passage draws
a comparison between women and a decaying corpse, whilst highlighting the
ultimate result of a woman's desire to appear as an ideal portrait in daily
life (356-70). Bosola is similarly disgusted by face painting, preferring to
"eat a dead pigeon/ taken from the soles of the feet of one sick of the plague/
than kiss one of you fasting" (II.i.34-6). Finke suggests that Bosola's attack on women is part of "a fear and
hostility that results from man's awareness of his own carnality" (359). Both
widows and cosmetics force male characters to recognise the image of themselves
reflected through women and to confront death. Femininity must be constructed
as weak to enable certain masculine structures to exist and disguise masculine
vulnerability (Finke 356-70). The Duchess's secret marriage and pregnancy
compounds the masculine drive to fix the image of women, as she seeks sexual
fulfilment and produces her own heirs.
>The views of Stubbes,
Tuke and others regarding the female use of cosmetics to alter their bodies
help to illuminate Bosola's subsequent description of the Duchess's pregnant
body. She "is sick a-days, she pukes, her stomach seethes/ the fins of her eyes
look most teeming blue" (II.i.59-60). The Duchess
describes herself as "so troubled with the mother" (II.i.108), or the effects
of pregnancy, suggesting a lack of bodily control. Callaghan links Bosola's
disgust with this pregnancy to a general fear of female desire in this period.
Female desire was viewed as abnormal and deviant, existing as the "motivation
for change, upheaval, disruption and crucially, for female transgression"
(Callaghan 140). Pregnancy thus becomes the marker of an unnatural desire and
is in conflict with the normal body of men (Callaghan 140-7). Bosola uses
apricots to test the Duchess, forcing her to ingest dirt, as the fruit was
ripened in "horse dung" (II.i.131), thus blurring the boundary between animal
and human, social and natural. The monstrous and bestial nature of the
pregnancy is proven to Bosola by the Duchess's disregard for this fact and her
greedy consumption of the fruit. He sees not the prospect of life but only "the
young springal cutting a caper in her belly" (II.i.142). Like Dido, the Duchess
does not attempt to conceal the intrusion of the private upon her public self,
wearing only a loose fitted garment to hide her body. By allowing her natural
body to change and increase, she "forces consideration of herself as a natural
woman rather than a ruler, and foregrounds her body natural at the expense of
her body political" (Jankowski 176). It is this neglect of her public self
which later enables Ferdinand's revenge.
The birth of this child
affords the audience an opportunity to see Ferdinand's true opinion of his
sister. In a dialogue with the Cardinal, Ferdinand reacts with extreme disgust
and promises of violence.The Duchess
has become a "notorious strumpet" (III.v.3), a "sister damned" (III.v.2). The
main object of Ferdinand's rage is the complete destruction of his sister's
corrupt body, revealing a desire to fragment her physical self and thus
eradicate the memory of her. He attacks individual aspects of her body that
have betrayed him: her "bleeding heart" which is a fickle lover and her
"infected blood" that has removed the purity of the family bloodline (III.v.15,
26). He ends his outrage with an image of absolute destruction of the Duchess
and her family: "Dip the sheets they lie in in pitch
or sulphur/ wrap them in't and then light them with a
match" (III.v.70-1). As mentioned above, it has been argued that Petrarch tried
to reduce the impact of his beloved by presenting her in incomplete pieces and
here, Ferdinand strives for a similar effect, "painting woman as a lifeless,
dismembered object" (Finke 364). By penetrating and disrupting her body,
Ferdinand can fix her subjectivity in a negative image that justifies his
violence. The necessity to mark the female body as an exercise of male power was remarked upon by Jane Anger in Her
Protection for Women (1589), when she wrote "if we hide our breasts it must
be with leather: for no cloth can keep their long nails out of our bosoms" (6).
In each case, the female body is objectified and vulnerable to external forces.
Ferdinand believes that
power must dominate sexuality and there a number of ways to interpret his rage.
Firstly, the Duchess has interfered with familial inheritance, tainting her
blood with that of a lower class man. In a later scene, Ferdinand acknowledges
the reduced exchange value of his sister as her pure body was worth more than a
soul (IV.i.122). Jardine has argued that the central concern of Webster is to
detail the conflict between personal affection and inheritance emerging in the
early modern period (63-103). As a widow, the Duchess possessed a separate
identity to her family that determined her sexual independence but this freedom
is quickly subsumed within male desires to protect lineage. A second, perhaps
more interesting interpretation, draws attention to the inextricable link
between the identities of the Duchess and Ferdinand. This link is suggested by
Ferdinand's description of his sister as a hyena (II.i.39), his later self-
imaging as a wolf (V.ii.10-21) and finally, the revelation that they were twins
following her death (IV.ii.248). Enterline suggests that the Duchess acts as a mirror for her brother and
her maternal body disrupts his self-construction (242-304). She "disturbs her
brother's visual and verbal orders, alienating him from the truth of his body"
(Enterline 242). The constantly fluxing pregnant body interrupts the fixity of
the male body, ensuring that the Duchess is no longer a mirror for her brother.
The Duchess's identity is made complex, as her actions as constantly refracted
through the male actors around her. She is neither political nor natural, a
ruler nor a woman and it has been suggested that her story only matters because
of the impact upon her brothers (Enterline 242-304). Later in the play, the
death of the Duchess will become the impetus for Ferdinand's madness. Removing
the object that is a sign of his own identity separates Ferdinand from his
previous self-construction. This is a clear example of feminist arguments that
while men have the Phallus, women are the Phallus, signifying "the Phallus
through being its other, its absence, its lack, the dialectical confirmation of
its identity" (Butler 56). The Duchess served as the other against which Ferdinand
defined himself and her absence removes the grounds of his identity. The play
posits an definite link between male and female
identity, threatened not only by the attempts of the female to exist separately
from the male but also by male desires to fix the female in a single role.
Butler has written,
"the cultural matrix through which gender identity has become intelligible
requires that certain kinds of 'identities' cannot 'exist'" (23-4). Knox argued
that a female ruler would not be able to control her "appetites... will...desires"
(8). Marlowe and Webster explore these concepts as each work presents a new
model of female identity and sexual independence, which must be destroyed
because it cannot be incorporated into existing social structures. In each
case, the sexual fulfilment and new
self-image created by female political figures is displaced by excessive
masculinities responding to that power.
Anger, Jane. Her
Protection for Women. 1589.
for Women. 17 May 2006.
Aughteson, Kate. Renaissance Women :A Sourcebook.
London: Routledge, nd.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of
Women and Gender in Renaissance Tragedy: A study of King
The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil. New York:
Cary, Elizabeth. The
Tragedy of Mariam, The Fair Queen of Jewry.
Weller and Margaret W. Ferguson, eds. Berkley: U California P,
Craik, Jennifer. "'I must put my face on': Making up the Body and
Feminine". Feminist Cultural Studies Vol. 1.
Ed. Terry Lovell.
Aldershot: Edward Elger, 1995. 90-117.
Deats, Sara Munson. "The Subversion of
Gender Hierarchies in Dido, Queen of
Carthage". Marlowe, History and Sexuality: New Critical Essays on
Marlowe. Ed. Paul Whitfield White.
New York: AMS
Press, 1998. 163-78.
Enterline, Lynn. The Tears of Narcissus: Melancholia and
Masculinity in Early
California: Stanford UP, 1995.
Finke, Laurie A. "Painting Women: Images of Femininity in Jacobean
Theatre Journal 36.3 (1984): 356-70. JSTOR. 3 June 2006.
Foucault, Michael. The
History of SexualityVol.1. Trans. Robert Hurley.
Jankowski, Theodora A. Women
in Power in the Early Modern Drama.
Urbana: U Illinois Press,
Jardine, Lisa. Still Harping on
Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of
Harvester Press, 1983.
Kinney, Clare R.
"Epic Transgression and the Framing of Agency in Dido, Queen of
Carthage". Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
40 (2000). 1-13.
Knox, John. The First Blast of the Trumpet against the
Monstrous Regiment of
Women. 1558. EEBO. 25 May 2006.
Marcus, Leah, Janel Muller and Mary Beth Rose, eds. Elizabeth I:
Chicago: Chicago UP, 2000.
Marlowe, Christopher. Dido, Queen of Carthage. Christopher Marlowe: The
Plays. London: Penguin, 1969. 41-101.
Shepard, Simon. Marlowe's Soldiers: Rhetorics of Masculinity in the Age of the Armada.
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.
Thomas, Tuke. A Discourse against Painting and Tincturing
of Women. 1616. EEBO.
9 June 2006. <http://0eebo.chadwyck.com.innopac.ucc.ie>.
Vickers, Nancy J. "Diana Described:
Scattered Woman and Scattered Rhyme".
Critical Inquiry 8.2 (1981): 265-79. JSTOR. 6 June 2006.
Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans W.F.
Jackson Knight. London: Penguin, 1956.
Webster, John. The Duchess of Malfi.
The Norton Anthology of English, Vol.1.
M.H. Abrams, ed. 7th ed. London: Norton,
To cite this article:
Windsor, Grace. "'Dido I am, unless I be deceived': Female Desire and
Ruin in Christopher Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage (1594) and
John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi." Luminarium.
23 Nov 2006. [Date you accessed this article].
|| to Christopher Marlowe
| to John Webster
|| to English Renaissance Drama
Article copyright ©2006-2010 Grace Windsor. Published with the express written permission of the author.
Site copyright ©1996-2010 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on November 23, 2006. Last updated on June 5, 2010.
King Henry VII
Elizabeth of York
King Henry VIII
Queen Catherine of Aragon
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Jane Seymour
Queen Anne of Cleves
Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Katherine Parr
King Edward VI
Lady Jane Grey
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I
Renaissance English Writers
Bishop John Fisher
Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Hoby
Sir Philip Sidney
Edward de Vere
Sir Walter Ralegh
Mary Sidney Herbert
Sir John Davies
Persons of Interest
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
The Babington Plot, 1586
The Spanish Armada, 1588
English Renaissance Drama
Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR