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Enter the Body offers a series of provocative case studies of the work women's bodies do on Shakespeare's intensely body-conscious stage. Rutter's topics are sex, death, race, gender, culture, politics, and the excessive performative body that exceeds the playtext it inhabits. As well as drawing upon vital primary documents from Shakespeare's day, Rutter offers close readings of women's performance's on stage and film in Britian today, from Peggy Ashcroft's (white) Cleopatra and Whoopi Goldberg's (whiteface) African Queen to Sally Dexter's languorous Helen and Alan Howard's raver 'Queen' of Troy.
From Shakespeare Studies annual publication in 2016, this article focuses on the perceived impact of young women's experience of puberty on their intellectual capacity and the portrayal of this in 16th & 17th Century literature.
This article by Deanne Williams "charts the history of the girl masquer--little girls as well as unmarried teenagers--on early English stages, defining her as a distinctive category of female performer, and locating her in a variety of contexts and venues" (Williams 203).
For early modern audiences intentional female silence could be a sign of honest seeming or dishonest seeming; a chaste, obedient subject or an unchaste, resistant subject. By refusing patriarchal coercion to speak prescribed words or smile prescribed smiles, Cordelia in William Shakespeare's King Lear and Mariam in Elizabeth Cary's Tragedy of Mariam enact silences that construct a subject position that is separated from their political subjecthood. Though intended to represent rigorously defined feminine honesty, their silences in place of expected speech elicit competing interpretations of dishonesty and unchastity, and the conflicts over the meaning of these silences catalyze the tragic plots that follow" (Oh 185).
Through use of a specific definition of "icon" and assigning Portia such status, author Rackley is able to assert, "Portia does not (necessarily) reflect the woman lawyer, but rather provides a ‘window’ through which the feminist legal scholar can look onto an altered adjudicative landscape and alternative understandings of lawyering and adjudication" (26).