Love, Death and Resurrection in Tragicomedies by Seventeenth-Century English Women Dramatists


Love, Death and Resurrection in Tragicomedies by Seventeenth-Century English Women Dramatists

Corporaal, Marguérite

Early Modern Literary Studies 12.1 (May, 2006)

Abstract

In tragicomedies by seventeenth-century English women, such as Lady Mary Wroth’s Loves Victory (c.1620), Frances Boothby’s Marcelia (1669) and Aphra Behn’s The Forced Marriage (1670), the generic aspects of tragicomedy are interrelated to gender subversive elements. The impending tragedy in the three plays is shown to be bound up with women’s powerless social position, while the transition from tragedy to happy resolution is marked by a reversal of conventional gender ideas concerning agency, sexuality and autonomy. Moreover, in Marcelia and The Forced Marriage the tragicomic mode is used to express criticism on women playwrights’ lack of autonomy in the London theatrical world.

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