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Revista da Faculdade de Letras : Estudos
Misogyny or Misanthropy : the doubtful case of Ben Jonhson´s Epicoene
Rui Carvalho Homem
AbstractAs its title suggests, Ben Jonson´s comedy Epicoene, or The Silent Woman lays a crucial emphasis on women´s identity and behaviour. Women in this play are satirized both as voluble embodiments of falsehood or depravity and as the agents of a ´monstrous´ and incompetently pursued will to power. But male characters also conspicuously fail to take on a normative status - as they are found to be either ´unnatural´ hen-pecked husbands, impotent and cowardly fools, or sadistic and amoral (though triumphant) rogues. The design of mi-sogynous satire is thus diluted with a more universal indictment, or else with misanthropy´s benevolent counterpart - a shoulder-shrugging moral relativism which can be recognised as a hallmark of later Jonsonian comedy.
Last Update: 2014-03-06
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