• Speaking Truth to Power as Feminist Ethics in Richard III

    Author(s):
    Cristina León Alfar (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Gender Studies, LLC Shakespeare, Renaissance / Early Modern Studies, Shakespeare, TC Women’s and Gender Studies
    Subject(s):
    Shakespeare and early modern drama, Feminist criticism, Michel Foucault, Early modern British literature, Gender studies, Shakespeare, Early modern drama
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    women and gender
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/4008-ey11
    Abstract:
    In this essay Queen Margaret’s curses in Richard III become part of a feminist ethics on the early modern stage. As a parrhesiast, in Foucault’s terms, Margaret speaks truth to power and claims a right of citizenship. That Margaret elicits universal revulsion from the other characters while also holding a unique, though not untroubled, position of ethical authority is uncovered by the play’s women, who initially agree with their men but come to see her as a powerful speaker who will teach them how to curse. She does not, then, embody any of the traditionally “feminine” characteristics of silence, obedience, and filial and marital loyalty. But because propriety prohibits women from speaking, a feminist ethics must violate decorum and modesty. Feminist ethics as I define it does not require its speakers to be pure and uncorrupted; these are loaded cultural terms in any case. Rather, practitioners of feminist ethics speak from positions of authority that are deeply implicated in the ethical dilemmas of their plays.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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