Disorderly Women in Renaissance Drama
English Renaissance drama repeatedly features women who are rebellious, and who question the dominant order in multiple ways—through their romantic or sexual choices, by speaking up when they should not, by refusing to obey patriarchal authorities, and also by directly challenging religious and secular authorities. Many, but not all of them, meet a tragic fate. The rebellion of others is compromised or incomplete. In this course we will read plays by William Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, John Webster, and several others to consider why the this body of theatre displayed a remarkable obsession with female rebellion. In what way is theatre responding to gender and other upheavals of the period? Does this drama feature such challenges only in order to contain them or shut them down, or does it also create admiration, sympathy and desire for disorderly women in all their variety?
Requirements include regular attendance, short weekly posts (1-2 pages), one mid term paper (4-5 pages) and a final paper.