She focuses of the improvements to language equality, for example the introduction of the term ‘Ms’ for a woman who does not wish her marital status to pre-determine her as men have with ‘Mr’, and the changes to gender neutral profession names such as ‘firefighter’ instead of ‘fireman.’ However the English language is still subconsciously sexist. Sarah Mills, author of Language and Sexism, brings to attention the lexical gaps between male and female terms, for example there a large lexical gap for insulting male terms, whereas there are many for females. If a woman is promiscuous she can be negatively referred to as a slut, whore, skank, slag, hoe, tart, sket or harlot. However, there are not nearly as many insulting terms for a promiscuous man, and those that there are seem playful and even positive, such as man whore, pimp, player. Lexical asymmetry can also be related to this problem, for example the connotations for an unmarried man, a bachelor, are usually positive, associated with a man living a carefree and independent life, however the connotations for an unmarried woman, a spinster, are usually negative, implying that the woman has been unable to find a partner.
‘Men were deceivers ever.’ To what extent can it be argued that Shakespeare’s presentation of men’s attitudes to women in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ allows for comedy? In Much Ado about Nothing, it can be equally argued that men’s attitudes towards women are actually used for comedy purposes, and it can be argued that their attitudes aren’t. For this argument, the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick at the start of the play can be seen as comical to the audience, as they both claim to dislike each other and take pleasure in making rude remarks to one another. On the other hand, the relationship between Hero and Claudio could be seen as quite dark to the audience, as there are accusations and trust issues between the two. The quote ‘men were deceivers ever’ comes from Act 2 Scene 3 of the play, from the song that Balthasar sings.
The basic formula for comedy has had more to do with conventions and expectations of plot and character with a requirement for lewd joke or cartoonish pratfalls” (Depaul University, Chicago pg 61) In light of this statement how far does ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ conform to your expectations of comedy? Shakespeare uses a structure that follows conventions which conform to an audience expectation of comedy in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The play begins in accord with the anticipation of Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding, the play later transitions into discord when there is confusion between the lovers and in the Green world. The structure of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ traditionally follows the structure of a comedy as it begins in harmony and then falls into a sense confusion, this also conforms to the audiences ‘expectation of plot’ as the sense of confusion makes up the ‘basic formula of comedy’. Additionally Shakespeare explores gender roles through a series of ‘lewd jokes’ and ‘cartoonish pratfalls’ which typically follow ‘the basic formula for comedy’ and also support the audience’s ‘expectation of plot’.
He wrote both tragedies and comedies as well some poetry. I will be analysing both of the characters Puck and Bottom and then coming to a conclusion about which one played a more important role. A midsummer’s night’s dream is a comedy. The comedy in the novel is based upon Puck and bottom once again or if it’s not fully them but it is somehow linked to them. The confusion of the Athenian lovers is a great example of this.
However, Desdemona is also depicted as aggressive and opposing to Shakespeare’s context through Othello’s story. Othello explains that Desdemona has “with a greedy ear, devour[ed] up [his] discourse.” This metaphorical characteristic of Desdemona challenges cultural assumptions about women in Shakespeare’s context. When Desdemona speaks for herself, in a very assertive and intellectual manner she states, “I did love the Moor to live with him”. This statement expands on Desdemona’s sexual nature. Shakespeare has challenged his own context in this scene, providing an opportunity for Orson Wells to also develop a controversial Desdemona – appropriate to his own context.
This, to the audience, will seem ridiculous and unnecessary creating a subtle sense of humour. Nearing the end of Act 2 we learn about Viola’s plans for her disguise in order to appear less vulnerable. She then goes on to say ‘thou shalt present me as an Eunuch to him’ which will yet again appear an overdramatic act to the audience. In act 3, Sir Toby Belch is introduced into the play. Shakespeare’s wit and word play used even for simply just the names of the characters can build up laughter.