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The Belle's Stratagem Criticism

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Although The Belle's Stratagem premiered over two hundred years ago, there is still little written about Cowley or about other eighteenth-century female dramatists. It is remarkable that one of the first, formidable female playwrights of the English language has not received greater attention. However, it does speak to the oppression women endured during the male-dominated centuries that followed Cowley's premiere. During the eighteenth century, women playwrights received little exposure, often having to funnel their writing through theatres dominated by men. It is often believed that much writing by women dramatists was lost or has been wrongly attributed to men. Plays like The Belle's Stratagem, however, would not have been claimed by a man because of its powerful female protagonist. As Jean Gagen states in the University of Mississippi Studies in English, "[Cowley's] most celebrated characters are undoubtedly her witty young heroines, who are often the prime manipulators and...

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This section contains 235 words
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Buy The Belle's Stratagem Study Guide
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The Belle's Stratagem from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.