In taking note of the posts I have made for the blog assignments in this class, I have really stuck to topics of race, class and gender for my blog posts. It does not surprise me at all that this is a pattern, because these are the things that interest me most and that I often apply to Shakespeare to make it interesting and fun to debate with. Otherwise, I find myself inserting the Shakespearean plays we read into modern works and comparing the characters to characters from works like Mean Girls or something of that nature. The themes that I really enjoyed writing on most are homosocialization and race; both topics that we have considered “controversial” throughout history, especially in the United States as well as on a global scale. I often find myself, especially when writing on caracters like Helena, Hero, Beatrice, and Emilia, pushing for female empowerment and being disappointed when Shakespeare reverts back to the social norm. But it also aids in my argument against his progressiveness as a person and as a writer, because if he were really progressive he would stick his neck out for the sake of controversy and open some peoples’ minds. But then again, as Professor Mulready said in class today, he probably didn’t cause too much chaos for the sake of not pissing off the wrong people (namely, the rich or the monarchs in power). I indicate this in my post about Twelfth Night and the bending of the gender binary, that is, of course, set back to hetero/cisnormative standards again:
“This is the one thing that bothers me about Shakespeare the most, but it also speaks to his time. Of course, in Europe at this time, there were rules and regulations associated with homosocialization, homosexuality, and gender roles and identity, that were very blatantly binary oriented. While it speaks to the times, I don’t think it means at all that Shakespeare, in writing really strong women characters (who we would today consider to be feminists,) and bending gender rules and perhaps envoking modern conversation of queer theory, can be considered a progressive or forward-thinking writer, because he sets it all backwards and diverts back to the norms in an effort to please everyone, especially in a Christian-centric geographical location and era.”
To Outline/Paraphrase my past post topics in this class:
Post 1: About Homosocialization in a Midsummer Night’s Dream
Post 2: Genderbending in Twelfth Night
Post 3: The Parallels of Gender Roles Between Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Much Ado About Nothing: Making the Case for Austen’s work as an adaptation of the play
And in my comments, I mostly argued against Shakespeare as a gender/race/class progressive, as he generally and honestly wrote, in my opinion, to please the masses. Someone even called his female character Beatrice a ‘feminist,’ and I had a really hard time with this, because though it is a generational difference for certain, his female characters in general do not fit the description of feminist at all.
I think my posts and my opinions that I have synthesized around the plays we have read so far indicate that my thoughts reflect the current issues that present marginalization in any society, and how they create gaps for us in the reading and in general. We are able to learn from Shakespeare just how ridiculous all these standards of living that are imposed upon people are, and they become so laughable that we could never imagine being able to re-emulate them and make them a part of our society; but then again, as I think about these things in relation to our society today (as I often tend to do, in general and with my work in this course), the relevance of these issues tells us a lot about the state of our society today and how institutionalized forms of these issues of race/class/gender do still exist. It makes it interesting for me because it’s as if Shakespeare predicted these issues and outlayed them, and it challenges me to look for parallels, which is one of the things I enjoy doing most while reading his works.