Cold Relationships : A Lack Of Marital Felicity

2405 Words Nov 25th, 2016 10 Pages
Cold Relationships: A Lack of Marital Felicity in The Winter’s Tale
The patriarchal and patrilineal society of Shakespeare’s era often made it difficult for women to be on the same level as men in terms of property, money, and rights. What is not often mentioned is the way in which even male-male relationships were glorified as well. In a society which thought males to be the best gender, it is not surprising that male friendships would be put above that of even the marriage of a man and wife. William Shakespeare and Mario DiGangi explore this concept in Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale and ensuing critical essays, respectively. Shakespeare sets up this concept through the glorification of the friendship (or, possibly more than a friendship) between Polixenes and Leontes as well as inferiorizing all feminized characters in the play. Through these marital fissures, Shakespeare’s play—along with DiGangi’s secondary essays—shows that conjugal happiness is nearly impossible in his society for Hermione and Leontes, furthering the divide between men and women.
The problem of conjugal fault lines in The Winter’s Tale first appears in the glorification of male-male relationships in the play. Most notably is the way in which King Leontes’ and King Polixenes’ relationship with each other is not only idealized but a veil is also put over it, one in which allows them to have a semi-homosexual relationship while being idealized for their strong bond. The first act brings mention of…
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