Subaltern Women Characters Analysis

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In critical theory and post colonialism, the term Subaltern designates the populations which are socially, politically, and geographically outside of the hegemonic power structure of the colony and of the colonial homeland. In describing “history told from below”, Subaltern was coined by Antonio Gramsci notably through his work on cultural hegemony, which ‘identified’ the groups that are excluded from a society’s established institutions and thus denied the means by which people have a voice in their society. The term Subaltern and Subaltern studies entered post colonial studies through the works of the Subaltern Studies Group(SSG), a collection of South Asian historians who explored the political actor role of the men and women, who constitute…show more content…
One among them is of course the presentation of Subaltern women characters. The woman characters in Shakespeare’s plays suffered man’s psychological conflicts. The characters like Ophelia, Desdemona, Cordelia, Imogen, Queen Catherine etc, are all the victims of that. He appears to have developed a bias against women when we delve in to the soul of Gertrude, and that of Lady Macbeth. He seems to scandalize the readers by the delineation of such women as Cleopatra and Cressida. He condemned vehemently a wretched woman as Gertrude in the historical words, in hamlet Act1, scene II, line 146, “Frailty thy name is woman;” shows that Shakespeare treats women characters as Subaltern. His women characters are sexualized, cheeky and flirtations as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Margaret in ‘much Ado about Nothing’ or Audrey in ‘As you like it’ etc. Mainly speaking in prose, as befitting their low social status, these characters often use sexual innuendo when conversing. The tragic innocent characters like Ophelia from ‘Hamlet’, Juliet from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ etc are tragically died once their innocence is lost. These characters are generally courtly, high born characters; The scheming Femme fatal characters like Lady Macbeth, an archetypical, last committed…show more content…
According to Lewes “The poet’s magic wand has laid open the depths of woman’s nature, wherein, beside lovely and exquisite emotion, terrible passion play their dangerous and fatal part”. The presentation of women in his plays does not deviate from the historical “order of words”- what Northrop Frye would say, He, of course, looks more lively and elegant in the presentation of super women characters, but the deformity of their existence with reference to their noble male counterparts is as wide and glaring as could be seen in case of any literary period of any other

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