Patriarchy : A Female 's Vision Of An Ideal Woman

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Patriarchy grounds itself in the complete subordination and exclusion of women in politics and power, limiting the full potential of women. Within Marie de France’s Breton lai, Lanval, Lanval’s lady subverts the role of patriarchy in the court by presenting her beauty as a powerful force that her husband is completely dependent on. Although her subversion of patriarchy in court is admirable, her characterization as an authoritative woman mimics a male’s vision of an ideal woman. In contrast, the cunning queen Elizabeth I easily steps over the conventional norms of patriarchy through her invocation of both male and female power. Throughout her assuring speech, “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury,” Elizabeth emphasizes that although she may appear to be physically female, she is no less capable of ruling the country than her male equivalent. By appearing to be unconventional in her position of power, Elizabeth I is able to replace the stereotype of docility in women into capability in women. Thus, whereas Lanval’s lady subverts patriarchy in politics by conforming to male standards of hypersexuality, Queen Elizabeth I pushes further by rejecting societal norms of women and represents a progression in instilling a sense of agency for women. Although Lanval’s lady conforms to the one-dimensional view of the ideal woman, she still is able to exert her own agency in her relationship with Lanval. Because Lanval is discarded by his own court as an unchivalrous liar, Lanval’s lady
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