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The Tragedy Of Mariam By Elizabeth Cary Essay

Decent Essays
Elizabeth Cary’s play, The Tragedy of Mariam, explores themes of marriage and divorce through the lens of gender inequality. Through the voice of the Chorus, the play suggests that a woman should live by the conservative notion of wifely duties, in that she owes her husband entire subjection of mind and body, submission, and faithfulness. The Chorus is used here as a voice of public authority and virtuousness and through their pronouncements, assert that women are not entitled to the same basic rights as men such as the liberty to express feelings and thoughts publicly, choice to stay or leave relationships, and ability to decide the fate of their spouses. Cary highlights relationships between the central characters and shows what happens to women who go against the social norm. Instead of banding together in solidarity, the women characters, particularly Mariam, Salome, and Doris are pitted against each other and ultimately alter the trajectory of each other’s lives. The role of gender inequality and influence of public opinion affects the functioning and perpetuation of marriage in this play. If decisions and actions were not influenced by conventions of gender inequality and the opinion of the public, the lives of these women would have been drastically different.
The Chorus in this play functions as a critical voice. Following important conjunctures, the Chorus chimes in with words of “wisdom” that try to disguise themselves as advice but only serve to critique and
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