Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society Essay

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Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society *No Works Cited The life of Renaissance women was not one that was conducive to independence, or much else, outside of their obligations to her husband and the running of the household in general. Women, viewed as property in Renaissance culture, were valued for their class, position, and the wealth (or lack thereof) that they would bring into a marriage. This being said, the role of women in the literature of the day reflects the cultural biases that were an ingrained part of everyday life. The depiction of women in theatre particularly, is evidence of the patriarchal society that dominated the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. And as the genre of tragedy emerges into…show more content…
Don Andrea is murdered, and it is at this point that Bel-Imperia first introduces the idea of revenge to the play. As soon as she finds out that Andrea is dead she vows to kill his murderer. She demands, "revenge [for the] death of my beloved" (I.IV.65). She immediately vows that Balthazar shall "reap long repentance for his murderous deed". Following the death of Don Andrea, Bel-Imperia's relationship with other men, particularly Horatio, again dominates the action of the play. Horatio, Bel-Imperia's suitor, is the son of Hieronimo, a civil servant; Lorenzo is the son of the Duke of Castile, and Balthazar is the Prince of Portugal. Once Lorenzo and Balthazar discover that Horatio is Bel-Imperia's suitor, Balthazar comments, "Ambitious villain, how his boldness grows!" (II. ii. 41) indicative also of the reigning justice of the ruling class. Horatio is viewed as trying to attain status beyond his station in life and hereby gains the spite of Lorenzo and Balthazar. This coupled with Balthazar's desire for Bel-imperia drive them to murder Horatio. Bel-imperia pleads for his life, claiming that she bore him no love, to which Balthazar replies, "But Balthazar loves Bel-imperia" (II. iv. 59) with a simplicity that implies that his mere desire for Bel-Imperia is reason enough for the death of Horatio. These events trigger a number of
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