Language Does Not Empower Women

Decent Essays

Additionally, the ineffectiveness of Perdita’s rhetoric furthers Shakespeare’s claim that language does not empower women in the lower-class shepherd’s court. For example, during Perdita and Polixenes’ discussion of flowers, Perdita’s language is unable to persuade Polixenes to agree with her opinions. Perdita states that she “[cares] not/ To get slips of” carnations and gillyvors because they are “nature’s bastards” and are not natural. She continues by asserting that “There is an art which in their piedness shares/ With great creating nature,” explaining her belief that because the flowers are made through crossbreeding, they are unnatural and therefore their beauty is artificial since it is owed equally to nature and the gardener that bred them (IV.4.82-89). However, Polixenes is unconvinced by this claim and instead states that although “nature is made better by no mean,” all means of attempting to improve nature must themselves be natural. Therefore, Polixenes believes, the apparently artificial quality of crossbred flowers “is an art/ That nature makes” and thus “art itself is nature” (IV.4.89-97). Perdita has no response to Polixenes’ view and yields to his argument. This conversation demonstrates that Perdita’s rhetoric in the court of the shepherd is largely unsuccessful and does not empower her or further her opinions in the same manner as the language of Paulina and Hermione does. Overall, Shakespeare conveys his claim that Perdita’s power and influence in the

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