h1

Shakespeare: Assuming Gender

January 18, 2011

The latest issue of Assuming Gender contains a co-authored article by Johann Gregory (Cardiff University) and Alice Leonard (Warwick University):

Assuming Gender in Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida: ‘Are we to assume that there were women in the audience?’

Abstract

Hamlet was first performed at the Globe around 1600. According to Andrew Gurr, apple-wives, citizen-wives, fishwives, ladies and whores were known to attend commercial theatres. But on stage there remained only male actors, so that the female gender had to be assumed by boy actors for parts such as Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. At this level of performance, gender can be assumed, constructed, and exchanged. Troilus and Cressida (c. 1601-2) was probably performed at the Inns of Court, where a very different audience of law students and barristers gathered. In Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida, the women take on the roles of both actor and audience, as the women view the men onstage and each other, while being watched by the offstage audience. The female characters’ watchfulness, however, is performed by male actors, while at the Inns of Court it has often been assumed that women were not invited. This essay tackles the significance of boy-actors assuming a female gender by considering women as audience within the fiction of the plays and even some figures who cross gender boundaries while stepping onto the stage or out of the play. Part one shifts from possible theatre audiences in London to fictional audiences within Hamlet; part two moves from considering Cressida as an audience figure to briefly examine the possibility of women being present at an Inns of Court performance.

Assuming Gender is an open access journal:

http://www.assuminggender.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

patter

research education, academic writing, public engagement, funding, other eccentricities.

READ Research English At Durham

Books and literature articles, news and events, from the UK's top Department of English Studies at Durham University

Nature Writing in Wales

A Creative & Critical Writing PhD Sketchbook

Dr Charlotte Mathieson

Website of Dr Charlotte Mathieson

Shakespeare Institute Library

Info on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature and other useful library and research stuff.

GEMS

Group for Early Modern Studies

annesophierefskou

Anne Sophie Refskou

We Are Cardiff

A blog about Cardiff, its people, and the alternative arts and cultural scene!

cityawakenings

Cities. Culture. Regeneration. PhD Musings.

Lets pay more tax

Elspeth Jajdelska

Dr Johann Gregory

An Early Career Academic with special expertise in English Literature & emerging expertise in Creative Economy

Dr Alun Withey

Welcome to my blog! I am an academic historian of medicine and the body, and 2014 AHRC/BBC 'New Generation Thinker'. Please enjoy and let me know what you think.

Thinking in Arden

Blog posts, mainly Shakespearean

The 18th-Century Common

A Public Humanities Website for Enthusiasts of 18th-Century Studies

ESTS

The European Society for Textual Scholarship

%d bloggers like this: