King John | Literature Criticism Critical Essay by Phyllis Rackin

This literature criticism consists of approximately 19 pages of analysis & critique of King John.
This section contains 5,551 words
(approx. 19 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Phyllis Rackin

SOURCE: "Patriarchal History and Female Subversion," in Stages of History: Shakespeare 's English Chronicles, Cornell University Press, 1990, pp. 146-200.

In the following excerpt, Rackin assesses the unofficial, matriarchal power that the female characters in King John wield over the male characters ' political authority and ambitions.

. . . The Henry VI plays depict a world where male right is threatened by female wrong; in the wicked world ruled by Richard III, the women line up on the side of heaven and the Earl of Richmond. But no such simple moral equations are possible in King John. Its female characters will not reduce to a single class or category. Like the ambiguous ethos of the play itself, the female characters here are deeply divided, as is the feminine spirit. Elinor is a soldier queen, a tough, Machiavellian dowager; Constance an outraged, lamenting mother...

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This section contains 5,551 words
(approx. 19 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Phyllis Rackin