Violence, Blood, Feminism, and Other Words that Scare People

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"Not that I'm some kind of feminist.

I shave my legs and get nervous in a crowd-"  -Constance [Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), MacDonald, 37]


Yet the type of analysis I would be most apt to use on this play would be feminist.  While Constance may have warily waved off the title of a feminist, one of her counterparts would almost certainly have embraced it.  Had Desdemona lived in our time, she would have had no problem claiming that she was the equal to a man.  She longs for Othello's position over his army, and demands that Iago teach her to use a sword.  (Now, I'm not saying anything about the aggression or violence of feminists.  I actually consider myself to be a feminist, so just bear with me until the end)

Juliet, on the other hand, searching for love and death hand in hand so that she can be complete, and then die before this completeness evades her, would win the title of feminist from a far fewer number.  Though, in the end,  Desdemona is just as frowned upon as Juliet.  Juliet is a death-crazed, lovesick airhead, but Desdemona is violent, bloodthirsty, and vindictive.  Neither are the sharpest quills on the parchment, and both end up falling short of Constance's original imagined characters. 

Constance sets out to prove that neither Desdemona or Juliet were hapless victims, despite the popular interpretations.  In the end, Constance proves herself both right and wrong.  The women aren't the victims of circumstance, but of their own character.  Constance, too was the victim of her own character.  She enslaved herself to an uncaring man, lied for him for years, and then was brushed aside because she was too timid to do the right thing for herself.  With the help of some girl talk in the form of monologues and iambic pentameter, Constance is soon trying to assure herself that she wasn't a hapless victim.  She bites out her disbelief of "love at first sight" to Juliet, and then admits that, well, maybe she did fall in love with Professor Night the first time she saw him.  This shows that Constance, just like the two Shakespearean women she encounters, was a victim of circumstance.  Is the fact that she fell prey to this snare the reason she isn't a feminist?

I say thee nay.

The fact that Constance is our imperfect hero, falling then rising again, going on a journey of self-discovery that leads to some painful revelations, all make Constance more of a feminist than Desdemona or Juliet.  Mere aggression and thirst for power does not make a person a feminist.  There are a lot of bad connotations with this word, when it's really not as scary as many people (Constance included) believe.  Constance is a part of a field she claims is ruled primarily by men, and yet she is writing for one, and her writing is accepted.  She stands up to Iago, reasons with Othello, and resists Romeo's charms (well, mostly).  Constance's struggle for knowledge led to an equality that may have otherwise eluded her.

Karyssa covers this topic as well in her entry.


Good job on your blogging skills! I shall link to yours as well.

A key detail that I overlooked while analyzing the feminism in this play is the fact that while Constance says she doesn't completely fit in her field because of her gender, she secretly writes under the name of someone from the gender she claims dominates her career. (That was a wordy sentence, but you know what I mean! You mentioned it in this blog.) So, in a way, she is restricting herself. She is the man that inhibits her career development, and she is the woman who strives to break through those bars. It isn't until Constance discovers who she is that she realizes the can do something about her situation.

Josie Rush said:

That's a really astute observation, and a very intelligent detail to include in the play. Most of the time, people set their own limits. It's almost a take off of the saying, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

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