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Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth

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Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 1 Name: Caristia, Iván Ariel Teachers: Leighton, Gabriela; Moglia, Patricia Course: English Literature I Date: 3rd August, 2018 Language and Gender: Macbeth and Twelfth Night Introduction This analysis aims at discovering the mutual and, at times, contradictory relationship between language and gender. Two Shakespearean plays will be used in order to revise behaviors, ways of talking and attitudes toward the target topic: ‘Twelfth night’ and ‘Macbeth’. Characters, situations and cultural backgrounds at that time will be taken into consideration. Language will be taken, in Terence Hawkes’ words, as ideas that can only be examined in a synchronic way. In ‘Shakespeare and language’, essayist Jonathan Hope, reinforces the notion that, even though language remains the same in all cultures, a cultural criticism of it comprehends its radical changes all throughout history, as in every other entity such as religion or the government. Jonathan Hope opens up the focus of discussion by mentioning the standardization of language in Shakespeare’s days, and defines it as the reduction of variation (here he alludes to dialects and regional accents) in a language, and arrives at the conclusion that Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 2 these variations, whether in spoken or written language, would ultimately refer to geographical placement. Nevertheless, he discovers Shakespeare’s lack of concern with this idea of location and explores, instead, how these language variations rather reveal a person’s origins, status or gender identity. Language will be analyzed as a means that reflects issues of gender identity. Sandra M. Gilbert’s ‘Lady Macbeth’s Hell Broth’ will serve as a theoretical standpoint on gender roles to analyze the play’s background. On the other hand, Emma Smith, Harold Bloom and Juliet Dusinberre will study the question of gender through ‘disguise’ in Twelfth Night and the ways it is disrupted on stage. Marilyn French and Linda Bamber will expand on the question of the female role as compared to the male role in those days, while Bruce Smith will concentrate on homoerotic relationships that took place synchronically. An accurate historical background will be cited, in order to understand the reasons of sex-hiding, players on stage and Shakespeare’s own intentions in a patriarchal society in which sex become polarized and gender may become blurred. Subversions of gender identity and role reversal through language will be closely analyzed as features that create both, physical and verbal ambivalence and finally lead to confusion. Therefore, conventions, actions and speeches will serve as the common thread that will frame the player’s traits through depersonalization of the fictional character and a verbalization of its own sex. Development Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 3 1. Gender and language in the XVI –XVII century Before plunging into the analysis of both plays, background knowledge about gender and language will help the reader understand the position of each character within the plot. Professor Elizabeth Rhodes analyses the role of women in the so called ‘Pastoral books’ during the sixteenth century and speaks about a censorship imposed by man on literature for women; she also highlights how literacy in women used to be controlled by male authors in search of casting women in a role of chastity. Female character is presented as mild, submissive and emotional weak; on the contrary, men’s expected qualities were based on bravery and dominance. Masculinity was meant to be of high importance in men, who, owners of intellect and goods, were the only ones to make decisions at the time. Therefore, women are put aside from any sort of choice, becoming unable to command, study and even to speak. However, many instances in the Twelfth Night and in Macbeth reflect just the opposite. On the other hand, the religious approach played a crucial role during Shakespeare’s days; therefore, the conviction of female inferiority served as an explanation to remind women, daughters of Eve, of their original guilt. Besides, the notion of a ‘good woman’ came hand in hand with her marital status; through marriage, she lost all possible identity, and became part of her husband’s. Sir Thomas Overbury concluded his poem ‘The Wife’, by summarizing in an abrupt aphorism what he would have expected from a wife: ‘She is he’ (4). Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 4 This misogynous idea allowed women limited opportunities and led to an almost total lack of involvement in social and political issues; married women were only expected to run the household and no opinion against the patriarchal system was tolerated; on the other side, punishment for vocal unmarried women was even worse, to the point of being accused of heresy. In Coppelia Kahn’s words, the sixteenth century middle class family was clearly patrilineal, in that it was the male whose ancestry was traced by the genealogists; primogenitural, in that all property went to the eldest son; and finally patriarchal, in that the husband and father exercised supreme authority over wife and children. Needless to say that women had no participation in arts either whatsoever, therefore, being female characters played only by men in the theater. Whether because of respectability on the female side or because of a privilege exclusive for male audience, male ‘actresses’ took place on stage, and this special cross-dressing method began to arouse, in Lisa Jardini’s words, homoerotic passions in male spectators. Nevertheless, transgender made a difference on stage, too. Male actors enjoyed a higher status that male ‘actresses’, who used to be young apprentices and were used to mark, at least symbolically, the limits between one sex and another. This assumption serves as a clear explanation for the threat that implicated the fact of a woman acquiring male traits, and the fear that ‘feminization’ could cause on male supremacy. All in all, Shakespeare’s times have been a period a strong gender separation, and language did reflect it in literature, as well as in the social relationship in those days. Twelfth Night and Macbeth offer a rather different point of view, turning conventional language and attitudes into libertarian facts. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 5 2. Shakespeare: Gender and Sexuality In her analysis, Shakespeare and the nature of women, Juliet Dusinberre studies the way in which women’s role is challenged and therefore disrupted on stage in Shakespearean days. She sustains that ‘the drama from 1590 to 1625 is feminist in sympathy’ due to the significance that female authority and virtue causes in a long-established conventional society, what makes her hypothesize that women on Shakespeare’s plays are not simple heroines: ‘Shakespeare’s feminism consists of more than a handful of high-born emancipated heroines: it lies rather in his scepticism about the nature of women’ (Dusinberre 1975). In her opinion, Shakespeare does not segregate the human being according to sex, but he believes it an ‘infinite variety of union between opposing impulses’ that may only take place through spiritual, intellectual and physical unification. Following Dusinberre analysis on gender in Shakespeare, Marilyn French’s work on Shakespeare’s Division of Experience (1981) introduces the assumption that the question of gender is of fundamental importance in Shakespeare’s drama. In her opinion, a movement from a profound suspicion of ‘feminine’ qualities in his early works, to some ‘fear’ of the masculine principle and an idealization of the feminine in his later ones, is clearly visible. She describes the tragedies as in ‘masculine mode’ in which male legitimacy prevails and associates the comedies to the theme of female constancy and ‘sexual disgust’, causing, as a result of it, a struggle between male and female in which the feminine power is given an almost divine and magical position in the gendered world. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 6 Linda Bamber, instead, sustains an opposing standpoint as for the male/female behavior in Shakespeare’s plays. She introduces the notion of the ‘Other of the self’ presented mostly in the tragedies, in which the ‘feminine Other’ is forced to make choices in connection to the male hero. In comedies, on the contrary, it is not the ‘Other of the self’, but it is the ‘Other face to face’; no choices are made in the world of comedies, since it is a world of ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’ as in the world of tragedies. Bamber provides the example of Shakespeare’s love triangle between father, daughter, and prospective son-in-law, in which, in tragedies, women are forced to make a choice between father and lover, but in comedies that choice remains almost unnecessary. Ann Thompson’s Shakespeare and sexuality goes further in the discussion of sexuality in Shakespeare’s plays, and identifies four keys fields of study in relation to sex and gender: ‘feminism’, ‘men in feminism and gay studies’, ‘the boy actor and performance studies’ and ‘language’. She departs from the hypotheses taken from Making sex: Body and gender from the Greeks to Freud, and states that sometime in the eighteenth century, sex was invented as we know it today due to the cultural mechanisms of the Renaissance period in search of two different sex-models. Therefore, the view of woman’s model turns from an inverted version of the man’s, to a complete immensurable opposite. Another issue of debate in her analysis is the study of homoerotic feelings as something related to biological age and not to sex, frequently seen as a desire of adult men for ’boys’. Therefore, the boy actor of women’s part has become a focus of considerable attention, since, as young boys as they are, they may be considered ‘transvestites’ and powerless, but even so, their performance of women’s role gives certain power to the fictional female character. Cross-dressing becomes, as a result of it, an ambivalent Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 7 characteristic in the Renaissance Theater as it may be debatable whether it is a possibility of disrupting social conventions and giving women more freedom, or a way of reaffirming sexual hierarchies. Language, as the last concern in Ann Thompson’s analysis, becomes even more intricate since it contributes to the verbal construction of sexuality. Language is, then, not considered a neutral aspect in the plays, but rather a gender bias vehicle in which male/female stereotypes are socially constructed. Thompson cites Patricia Parker’s Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender, Property, to state that ‘women are words, and men are deeds’, cliché that led to believe that women’s supposed lack of verbal self- control, is contrasted with men’s dominant fluency. However, some critics sustain a more optimistic view of female language and find that in Shakespeare’s early comedies, women have more verbal skills domain than men. Bruce Smith adds little more and concentrates on the social and medical study of male friend relationships, in which he examines the connection between the homosexual and the homosocial in time and discourse. In his opinion, sexuality is a complete synchronic construct that have varied through time and place, from ethics to morals. No labels can be, therefore, assigned to people in the Renaissance days since sexual identity is a result of contemporary history. Smith concludes that discourse about sex may vary according to who is speaking and under what circumstances, and re-affirms that sexuality is the result of ‘putting sex into discourse’, and therefore, homosexuality, as derived from discourse, had no place or etymology in Elizabethan days and, consequently, no identity either. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 8 Masculine identity in Shakespeare is deeply explored in Coppelia Kahn’s homonymous book through a concrete comparison between Shakespeare’s insight and Freud’s theoretical contribution. She employs the psychoanalytic theory to understand Shakespeare’s conception of identity. In her own view, identity has two sides: one that faces inward, to the core of the individual and to his own confidence that makes a unique being in a specific time and place, and another one that faces outward, that means, to its society. Therefore, it will rest on its ability to unify its self-image with a social role, and, it is this unification with becomes ambivalent in Shakespeare’s world. However, even though men separates from women through patriarchy system and authority imposition, they become, at some point, vulnerable to them in that they need women to bear their children in order to construct their role as fathers. This shows Shakespeare’s first impression in the construction of an identity whose mechanism cannot stand alone. Another psychoanalytical approach taken by Kahn, is the narcissistic tendency to praise love objects modeled around the self, serving, thus, as a possible explanation for homosexuality. However, the narcissist conception of love to the self, sparked off debate on the grounds that the one who seems to love himself, is incapable of loving anyone, not even his own self. A truly narcissistic man or woman is in fact a pretense whose ultimate end is to avoid conflict and frustration. All these interpretations about male/female role in Shakespeare’s days, turned sexuality in a key to all characters, that may be represented through the Carnivalesque and comic alterations of social behaviors, as it occurs in Twelfth Night, or through a tragic plot in which man and women seem to occupy symbiotic positions, causing, in both cases, a disruption in the conventional way that gender is treated. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 9 3. Role reversal and subversions of gender identity through language Subversion of gender in both plays is largely explored by Shakespeare, as he introduces new ways to impersonate gender identity, whether by means of mannerism, behavior, by the use of voice or simply by the way of dressing. Identity deconstruction is conditioned through deeds, facts and the ironical use of language. Olivia, however a rich countess, is described in complete mourning after the loss of her protective male relative; nevertheless, even though sensible, she is able to decide on her marital situation and, as a result of it, she turns down Duke Orsino’s proposals: ‘…then leaving her/ In the protection of his son, her brother, / Who shortly also died; for whose dear love, / They say, she hath abjured the company / And sight of men.’ (Act I, Scene II). This subverted position together with her constant advances on Cesario, shows an Olivia from a different perspective in relation to any other woman at the time. Cesario, even though a woman in menswear, is mocked at her woman-like appearance and attitudes, but even so, he becomes the most suitable and androgynous servant to his master’s requests: ’thy small pipe/ Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,/ and all is semblative a woman’s part.’ (Act I, Scene IV). He also refuses both, Olivia’s proposals and all of the presents given by her as the play unfolds, hinting that he is not the person Olivia thinks: ‘Then you’re quite right. I am not what I am (I’m a woman).’ (Act III, Scene I). Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 10 Shakespeare may possibly be trying to introduce a more challenging view of love, atypical in the Elizabethan period, only through the use of disguise and mistaken identities. Sebastian and Antonio play an important role in homoerotic relationships, by which they tend to break away with traditional impositions at the time. Nevertheless, by disguising Viola as a man, or making Antonio overprotective toward Sebastian, Shakespeare may have intended to give them certain qualities, such as power or an exaggerated maternal instinct between men that were not possible independently of the gender. This incongruity is also taken to Macbeth, where, a shrewd and heartless Lady Macbeth goes beyond the stereotypical image of a woman. This gender emancipation leads her to deconstruct her role of woman by genitals extirpation: ‘…unsex me here/ And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/ Of direst cruelty!/.’ (Act I, Scene IV). According to Susan Dunn-Hensley this subversion to nature through the evocation of evil spirits and subsequently removal of female organs, literally allowed Shakespeare to eliminate all weak female qualities that would have impeded Duncan’s murder. Lady Macbeth does not only achieve this male-like role, but she also removes the most special and deep attribute in a woman: the maternal instinct. In order to overcome her husband’s reluctance to take action in the murder of Duncan, she assumes her lack of pity for her own newborn child to demonstrate Macbeth how brave and severe she would be in her ambitions: ‘I have given suck, and know/ How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me -/I would, while it was smiling on my face,/ Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,/ And dashes the brains out, had I sworn as you/ Have done to this.’ (Act I, Scene VII). Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 11 However her own promise that she would kill her nursing baby does not turn her into a man, what results in a gender dichotomy: on one side, she is never ‘unsexed’ in the way she wants as she never takes action on any of the murders, and, on the other side, she expressly rejects the desired masculinity that she claims by feeling compassion for asleep Duncan’s resemblance to her own father: ‘Had he not resembled/ My father as he slept, I had done’t.’ (Act II, Scene II). Fixed categories are also challenged through the ambiguous appearance and behavior of the three witches, who, despite giving a female impression, they are initially taken for man-like women. Banquo’s first encounter with the witches makes allusion to the masculine traits in them: ‘you should be women,/ And yet you beards forbid me to interpret/ That you are so.’ (Act I, Scene III). Gender ambiguities in the witches have been long debated due to their role and special influence on male characters across the play. Their unnatural powers and bizarre physical appearance, have led many critics, such as Terry Eagleton, to believe that the witches stand for ‘prophetesses and devotees of a radical female cult who scorn the male power…’ All this, reinforces Macbeth’s limited masculinity through the lack of concern to male heirs. Patriarchal identity in Shakespeare’s days was a condition upon the perpetuation of the patrilineal line. His role as a father and man would have been unfulfilled because of not having a child of his own blood, maybe, as a reason for his own greed for power, or as a natural motive for delegating this task to a woman who eventually would commit infanticide. These political and traditional aspirations become logical, only when Macbeth is confronted to other men, such as Duncan, Banquo and Macduff himself, who had successfully satisfied their patrilineal obligations. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 12 Macduff’s wife’s role of a careful mother who stays at home to protect her children contrasts with Lady Macbeth’s man-like coldness and insensibility in relation to family reproduction. However, she is seems to suit all of the attributes expected from a man across the play. Macduff is prevented from crying as he is informed of his whole family’s death, and is encouraged to think and speak as a man must do: ‘Dispute it like a man.’ (Act IV, Scene III). All of Lady Macbeth’s traits seem to fit into the conventional behavior of a man, to which Macduff opposes: ‘I shall do so; / But I must also feel it as a man:/ I cannot but remember such things were/ That were most precious to me.’ (Act IV, Scene III). Female heroism comes up as another feature closely related to men, and this is what Mary Beth Rose challenges in her book Gender and Heroism in Early Modern English Literature. In her analysis, she perceives how the masculine heroic ideal struggles to construct its own dominance over male and female. However, she states that women and all the female are completely eliminated in Macbeth, and a constructed identity is all that persists in the role of the hero/heroine. Rose departs from a couple of questions: Is it her ambition or his that is the cause of the terror? Does Lady Macbeth corrupt her husband to a bloody and tyrannical career? Or does Macbeth’s susceptibility to his first encounter with the witches manifest his already overly ambitious nature, on which his wife feeds? According to the author, it is Lady Macbeth together with the witches, the ones that permeate Macbeth’s behavior demanding a responsive action from him: Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thine own act and valour/ As thou art in desire? (Act I, Scene VII). Lady Macbeth, apparently, becomes the pillar for her husband’s heroic deeds, and urges him to act with no scruples. Nevertheless, parallelism between male and female seems to break as Lady Macbeth, who contributes to her husband’s cause, Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 13 ended up in guilt through a silence death. This assumption leads us to argue on whether heroism is purely masculine or feminine, and, not a minor fact is Queen Elizabeth’s arrival to the power, which, directly or indirectly contributed on the heroic role of women. Harold Bloom, on the other side, also exalts female behavior in his Shakespeare through the ages: Twelfth Night. He starts from Olivia-Orsino’s relationship and realizes how different male-female behaviors may result. Olivia’s daily cry over her brother’s death, makes Orsino feel moved about it; however, instead of reacting as whatever man would have done in his position, he delivers a speech praising her behavior and hypothesizing on how greater would her love be for a lover, if it is so for a brother: ‘O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame/ To pay this debt of love nut to a brother,/ How will she love, when the rich golden shaft/ Hath killed the flock of all affections else/ That live in her.’ (Act I, Scene I). His constant monotonous reflections on unrequited love evidence his lack of action, or extreme inaction, and equal Olivia’s woman-like weakness over her brother’s death. Orsino’s passivity differs from Viola’s activity as well. Being Viola a woman, later disguised as a man, comes to terms with her brother’s death and takes quite a dynamic role in the future. The Duke’s persistent inaction and decorative monologues go against the conventional behavior of a man, and contrasts with the unconventional qualities of a woman, Viola, whose only concern is to take courage despite the loss and face it actively. Viola’s frustrated intention to make Duke Orsino reflect upon insisting on Olivia’s love and abandon all hope, gets the audience think on how rational may a woman’s language Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 14 become when confronted with a man’s emotional state: ‘But mine is all as hungry as the sea,/ And can digest as much. Make no compare/ Between that love a woman can bear me/ And that I owe Olivia.’ (Act II, Scene IV). At this point, Viola does not give up the question and tries to make Orsino understand that man and women can love in the same way, therefore, even though she is almost explicit in providing the example of her ‘own father’s daughter’, Orsino, although inquisitive, cannot catch the hint and the dialogue is finally over: I am all the daughters of my father’s house,/ And all the brothers too; and yet I know not./ Sir, shall I to this lady??’ (Act II, Scene IV). Antonio’s affectionate and attentive use of language towards Sebastian makes the reader reflect upon the possibility of disguising a same-sex romance, even though no explicit reference is given about it. His constant allusions of their having been inseparable for three months seems to provide an explanation for a disloyalty, on Sebastian’s side, that would have been taken as a disruption in a quasi-marital agreement between both: ‘a wreck past hope he was;/ His life I gave him, and did thereto add/ My love, without retention or restraint, / All his in dedication;’ (Act V, Scene I). This confusion is taken to the end as the audience may presuppose that Sebastian not only stands for Viola’s homosexual twin brother, but for the male homosexual part of herself. Sebastian’s last three lines make direct reference to Olivia’s mistake as he states that hadn’t it been for his own reason, she would have been married to a woman: So comes it, lady, you have been mistook, / But nature to her bias drew in that./ You would have been contracted to a maid;/ Nor are you there, by my life, deceived.’ (Act V, Scene I). However, Sebastian fails to acknowledge that Olivia had not certainly committed a mistake, when he goes back to the mention of being married to a maid and man: ‘You are betrothed both to a maid and man.’ (Act V, Scene I); once more, language becomes Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 15 an object of contradiction that entangles and disguises Sebastian’s real intention that may refer to himself as a virgin, or may refer to the fact that Olivia chooses a man and a virgin in Cesario, combining two in one, or both, Sebastian and Viola separately. The fundamental doubt about mistaken or altered identities is reduced to Olivia’s uncertainty as she struggles to discover (or uncover) who Cesario is. Language here works as a means that leads the reader to a state of perplexity in which the answer is almost hinted: ‘Yet you began rudely. What are you? What would you?’ (Act I, Scene V). The question seems almost unremarkable, maybe meaning ‘who in the world are you?’, but even so, they are notably evaded and no answer is given about her sex and her name until Sebastian comes up with the enquiry about his/her origins and true identity, which, by chance of the play, are curiously delayed: ‘Of charity, what kin are you to me?/ What countryman, what name, what parentage?’ (Act V, Scene I). According to David Willbern, Olivia’s supposed letter to Malvolio helps the author examine the servants’ unconscious projection while reading. The language from the letter is used as a means to uncover Malvolio’s sexist thoughts.. Shakespeare’s repeated use of Lucretia’s name serves as an imagery that proves Malvolio’s repressed desires and social ambitions, over which he fantasizes a situation in which a male servant is respected by his mistress: ‘(Reading) I may command where I adore but silence/, Like Lucretia’s knife,/ With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:/ M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.’ (Act II, Scene V). Language is also analyzed in Valerie Traub’s The Homoerotics of Shakespearean Comedies in which she explores the double negatives of some words in the speeches delivered by Viola/Cesario, as well as the syntactic and semantic structure that language Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 16 conveys. Viola’s use of the phrase knot to untie seems to imply the difficulty that means the use of the disguise for her. In Traub’s interpretation, it is the triangle desire between Olivia, Orsino and herself what she can (knot) untie: ‘What will become of this? As I am man/, My state is desperate for my master’s love; / As I am woman – now alas the day! –/ What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe! / O time, thou must untangle this, not I; / It is too hard a knot for me t’ untie.’ (Act II, Scene II). As it was mentioned just above, Valerie Traub also compares the language used by Viola/Cesario when confronting Olivia: ‘If I did love you in my master’s flame, / With such a suff’ring, such a deadly life, / In your denial I would find no sense; / I would not understand it.’ (Act I, Scene V), and Orsino: ‘My father had a daughter lov’d a man, / As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, / I should your lordship.’ (Act II, Scene IV). In both declarations desire is communicated through the use of conditionals that have the same syntactic and semantic structure. However, even though the first avowal may be a false statement under performance, it creates the universal assumption of heterosexuality from the point of view of a disguised Viola that will never be a man. This is later reinforced as Sir Toby calls and manipulates Sir Andrew to have a duel with Viola/Cesario. According to the author, the choice of weapon is not incidental or at random, since, as a phallic instrument, the sword gives Viola/Cesario the opportunity to demonstrate that he is not a man: ‘Pray God defend me! A little thing would make me tell them how much I lack of a man.’ (Act III, Scene IV). The lack of ‘masculinity’ in Viola/Cesario is preannounced by Sir Toby who hypothesizes on the notion that every weapon carried by a man must be used: ‘therefore on, or strip your sword stark naked; for meddle you must, that’s certain, or forswear to wear iron about you.’ (Act III, Scene IV). In Traub’s opinion, it is the phallic point that puts Viola/Cesario at the head of Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 17 gender difference, being, thus, virility embodied and personified in the sword that is determined through performance rather than through biological equipment. Antonio, the only apparent and firm homoerotic figure in the play, enters Illyria with no fear of law, or of the Duke’s officials, and transgresses all of the boundaries just for Sebastian, for whom he affirms an endless devotion: ‘But, come what may, I do adore thee so, / That danger shall seem sport, and I will go.’ (Act II, Scene I). On the other hand, it is Sebastian who firmly declares that if it were not by Antonio’s alteration of fate, he would have been dead. This rebirth of Sebastian’s life may be coincident with the death of his drowned sister, and their mutual love becomes a result of the destruction of the only woman the Sebastian has loved: Viola. However, it does not change Antonio’s homoerotic position as his is the only victim whose passion does not arise from deception. The duke’s desire, unlike Antonio’s, stays purely homophobic. His hyper-courtly ‘effeminacy’ and self-love deprives him of his masculine active role and causes ambivalence in his heterosexual desire for Olivia and his homosexual (though repressed) desire for Cesario. His first relationship with Cesario is established in only three days: ‘If the Duke continues these favours towards you, / Cesario, you are like to be much advanced: he hath known you but three days and already you are no stranger.’ (Act I, Scene IV). However, he seems to procrastinate to accept Viola as his wife until she wears her womenswear and instead, keeps on calling her as Cesario: ‘Cesario, come; / For you shall be, while you are a man; / But when in other habits you are seen, / Orsino’s mistress, and his fancy’s queen.’ (Act V, Scene I). Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 18 Antonio’s marginalization marks the steps towards the end of the play. His desire cannot fit into the conventions of the period as he publicly expresses his love for his beloved Sebastian. Not only does he remain out of the love circle, but he is arrested and taken away on the grounds of being mad and of using a language that does not fit into the discourses available to him. His inappropriate speech is not even heard by the officers who completely ignore Antonio’s mentions: ‘Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here / I snatched one-half out of the jaws of death, / Relieved him with such sanctity of love, / And to his image, which methought did promise / Most venerable worth, did I devotion.’ (Act III, Scene IV). Twelfth Night concludes towards a heterosexual bias inclination. However, homoeroticism is constructed as a mere mode of desire, possibly caused by psychic exposure due to the lack of mutuality. Antonio makes his point clear as to what extent homosexuality and homophobia can be judged: ‘In nature, there’s no blemish but the mind; / None can be called deformed but the unkind.’ (Act III, Scene IV) Conclusion As it was mentioned in the introduction, language can only be taken in a synchronic way, even though William Shakespeare intends to go beyond the boundaries imposed in those days and seeks to display a certain degree of subversion in the way he puts language into use. Language in Shakespearean works aims at deconstructing the ideas of ‘femininity and masculinity’ in relation to gender, and, as a result of it, introduces gender as a notion of Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 19 personal choice, in which biological attributes and cultural ideals are ironically questioned. The world of chivalry is challenged in Macbeth and Twelfth Night similarly, and values, such as loyalty or courage, are put at risk. On one hand, Macbeth is not able to construct his virility on his own; instead, his qualities are reflected on his wife, who, daring as she is, encourages him to take action against his enemies. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth being a woman needs to get rid of her biological organs, at least, symbolically, in order to think, act and feel like a men. Macduff is, on the contrary, discouraged to act like a woman on the grounds of being ‘a man’, and the witches, perhaps the only characters with real mixed identity in the play, remain completely genderless to the point of causing Banquo’s confusion towards them. Twelfth Night introduces more complex revelations in which appearances and behaviors are drastically altered through manners and disguises. Language here helps to unveil the unconventional intentions of the characters, maybe due to their passivity in actions to demonstrate so. Moreover, it becomes even more ambiguous if we go back to the notion that public stage was exclusively male, and that female players did not exist at all, what means that only young boys would play female roles. The transgressive way in which love and affective relationships are introduced reveals how the Renaissance ideals of normative sexuality become ‘deviant’ and ‘perverse’. However, it is necessary to state that homosexual behavior must not be kept aside from a cross cultural and trans historical phenomenon in which distinction between homosexual and heterosexual is only rooted in the XX century. Language and Gender: Twelfth Night and Macbeth Caristia, Iván Ariel 20 Bibliography Mukherjee, Manisha. The Representation of Transgressive Love and Marriage in English Renaissance Drama. 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