1,148
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
1 collections
    0
    shares

      If you have found this article useful and you think it is important that researchers across the world have access, please consider donating, to ensure that this valuable collection remains Open Access.

      Bethlehem University Journal is published by Pluto Journals, an Open Access publisher. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles from our international collection of social science journalsFurthermore Pluto Journals authors don’t pay article processing charges (APCs).

      scite_
       
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Performative Utterances and Gender Performance in Shakespeare's Richard III

      research-article
      Bethlehem University Journal
      Pluto Journals
      Curse, Speech Act, Gender Performance, Minor Literature
      Bookmark

            Abstract

            This article aims to analyze the discourse of cursing and gender performance in Shakespeare's Richard III (1592) through Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performative act in conjunction with J. L. Austin's concept of performative utterances, in order to further a cultural understanding of the beliefs surrounding curses in early modern England. I deploy Richard III as a case study to demonstrate that speech-act theory is applicable in a dramatic text, a context that Austin failed to consider when he theorized illocutionary acts. Since the construction of feminine identities in Richard III is based on performance–in early modern England boy actors impersonated female figures vocally and physically, I argue that curses are gendered feminine despite the fact that cursing women transgress the conventional feminine virtue of silence and despite the cultural belief that curses produce agency of which women are conventionally deprived. As such, the discourse of female cursing can be read as a case of minor literature, a mode of enunciation that challenges and eclipses Richard's discourse, and which emanates from the conventional view that the female curse is a performative speech act that is divinely endorsed. It is an effective means of retaliation, leading to the destruction of villainous figures.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.2307/j50020020
            bethunivj
            Bethlehem University Journal
            Pluto Journals
            2521-3695
            2410-5449
            1 January 2019
            : 36
            : ( doiID: 10.13169/bethunivj.36.issue-2019 )
            : 115-132
            Article
            bethunivj.36.2019.0115
            10.13169/bethunivj.36.2019.0115
            af2d039d-0ac3-4332-a0e8-4a413403c0ca
            © 2019 Pluto Journals

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            History
            Custom metadata
            ara

            Education,Religious studies & Theology,Social & Behavioral Sciences,History,Economics,Life sciences
            Speech Act,Gender Performance,Minor Literature,Curse

            References

            1. Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford University Press, 1955.

            2. Bevington, D. “Why Should Calamity Be Full of Words?: The Efficacy of Cursing in Richard III.” Iowa State Journal of Research, vol. 56, no.1, 1981, pp. 9-21.

            3. Bloom, G. Voice in Motion: Staging Gender, Shaping Sound in Early Modern England. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

            4. Boose, L. E. “Scolding Brides and Bridling Scolds: Taming the Woman's Unruly Member.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 179-213.

            5. Butler, J. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’. Routledge, 1993.

            6. Butler, J. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performance. Routledge, 1997.

            7. Butler, J. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1999.

            8. Brailowsky, Y. “What's in a Name ? The “G” Prophecy and the Voice of God in Shakespeare's Richard III.” Les Voix de Dieux: Littérature et prophétie en Angleterre et en France à l'âge baroque, edited by L. Cottengies et al., Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008, pp. 35-46.

            9. Charnes, L. Notorious Identity: Materializing the Subject in Shakespeare. Harvard University Press, 1993.

            10. Deleuze, G. Essays Critical and Clinical. Translated by D.W. Smith and M.A. Greco, Verso, 1998.

            11. Deleuze, G. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

            12. Dusinberre, J. Shakespeare and the Nature of Women. Macmillan Press, 1996 Eggert, K. Showing Like a Queen: Female Authority and Literary Experiment in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

            13. Felman, S. The Scandal of the Speaking Body: Don Juan with J. L Austin or Seduction in Two Languages. Translated by C. Porter, Stanford University Press, 2003.

            14. Foucault, M. Language, Counter-Memory and Practice. Cornell University Press, 1980.

            15. Greenblatt, S. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton University Press, 2001.

            16. Gleyzon, F. “Deleuze and the grandeur of Palestine: Song of Earth and Resistance.” Journal for Cultural Research, vol. 20, no. 4, 2016, pp. 398-416.

            17. Harvey, E. Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and English Renaissance Texts. Routledge, 1992.

            18. Howard, J. E., and P. Rackin. Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare's Histories. Routledge, 1997.

            19. Kaske, C.V. “The Curse-Psalms in Their Patristic, Renaissance, and Modern Perception.” Genre, vol.40, no. 3-4, pp. 129-142.

            20. Langley, E. Narcissism and Suicide in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries. Oxford University Press, 2009.

            21. Luckyj, C. “Gender, Rhetoric, and Performance in John Webster's The White Devil.” Enacting Gender on the English Renaissance Stage, edited by V. Comensoli and A. Russell, University of Illinois Press, 1999, pp. 218-32.

            22. Miner, M. M. “Neither Mother, Wife, nor England's Queen: The Roles of Women in Richard III.” The Woman's Part: Feminist Criticisms of Shakespeare, edited by C. Ruth et al., University of Illinois Press, 1980, pp. 35-55.

            23. Orgel, S. Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England.Cambridge University Press, 1996.

            24. Perkins, W. A Direction of the Government of the Tongue according to God's Word. London, 1593.

            25. Rackin, P. “History into Tragedy: The Case of Richard III.” Shakespearean Tragedy and Gender, edited by S. N. Garner and M. Sprengnether, Indiana University Press, 1996, pp. 31-53.

            26. Rackin, P. Stages of History: Shakespeare's English Chronicles. Cornell University Press, 1990.

            27. Reynolds, P. M. “Mourning and Memory in Richard III.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, vol. 21 no. 2, pp. 19-25.

            28. Rutter, C. C. Enter the Body: Women and Representation on Shakespeare's Stage. Routledge, 2001.

            29. Saltz, D. Z. “The Reality of Doing: Real Speech Acts in the Theatre.” Method Acting Reconsidered: Theory, Practice, Future, edited by D. Krasner, St. Martin's, 2000, pp. 61-79.

            30. Schalkwyk, D. Speech and Performance in Shakespeare's Sonnets and Plays. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

            31. Shakespeare, W. King John. Edited by L. A. Beaurline, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

            32. Shakespeare, W. King Lear. Edited by C. Watts, Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2004.

            33. Shakespeare, W. The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster (2 Henry VI). The Norton Shakespeare, edited by S. Greenblatt, W.W. Norton & Company, 1997, pp. 213-290.

            34. Shakespeare, W. The Tragedy of King Richard III. Edited by J. Jowett, Oxford University Press, 2000.

            35. Shakespeare, W. Titus Andronicus. Edited by J. Bate., Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, 1997.

            36. Smith, B. R. The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor. University of Chicago Press, 1999.

            37. Smith, K. M. “Martial Maids and Murdering Mothers: Women, Witchcraft and Motherly Transgression in Henry VI and Richard III. “ Shakespeare, vol.3, no. 2, 2007, pp. 143-160.

            38. Tassi, M. A. Women and Revenge in Shakespeare: Gender, Genre and Ethics. Danvers, Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp, 2011.

            39. Thomas, K. Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England. Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1971.

            40. Trotter, J. E. “Was Ever Woman in this Humour Won?: Love and Loathing in Shakespeare's Richard III.” The Upstart Crow, vol. 13, 1993, pp. 33-46.

            41. Wifall, R. 'Swords and Curses: The Problem of Female Power in Shakespeare's Early History Plays”. 1999. New York University, PhD Dissertation.

            42. Woodbridge, L. Women and the English Renaissance: Literature and the Nature of Womankind, 1540-1620. University of Illinois Press, 1984.

            Comments

            Comment on this article