Analysis Of ' Snow Midsummer And Hroswit 's Martyrdom Of The Holy Virgins '

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Femininity is a concept whose attributes are contingent on the culture it is in—what one culture may consider typically feminine traits could largely vary from what another culture views as being feminine. While theater can sometimes subvert theses ideals and present women who function in ways that are not typically feminine, theater can often present idealistic representations of women who exemplify that culture’s ideals of femininity. Take, for example, the female characters in both Guan Hanqing’s Snow in Midsummer and Hroswit’s Martyrdom of the Holy Virgins. While both texts come from largely different cultural contexts—Snow in Midsummer was written in thirteenth century China for a general population whereas Martyrdom of the Holy Virgins was written in tenth century Germany as a closet drama—both texts have female protagonists whose rebellions exemplify feminine ideals of the respective cultures. In Snow in Midsummer, Dou E seems to be a figure that rebels against patriarchal pressures in that she refuses to be bullied by Zhang and his father. However, her rebellious attitude is deemed as gender-appropriate in this play because her rebellion is fueled by cultural ideals that relate to patriarchal power, rather than Dou E’s resistance being rooted in her own sense of empowerment. At first, Dou E’s resistance to Zhang seems as though it is based on her own personal preference to not marry Zhang. However, as Dou E begins to implore that her mother-in-law not marry Zhang’s

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