AN ANALYSIS ON WOMEN’S IMAGERY AND ITS CAUSES OF SHAKESPEARE’S COMEDIES
本文首先分析莎士比亚主要的喜剧作品中的女性形象，综合得出莎士比亚在其喜剧作品中塑造的一系列丰富生动、光彩动人的女性群像的共同特征，即肯定女性的智慧, 讴歌女性的美德, 赞美女性不畏强暴勇于追求的气概；还提出在她们身上体现出了对新人文主义的生活原则和理想的追求,她们是人文主义的典范；最后指出当时的政治经济背景以及文艺复兴运动时期的人文主义思潮对当时的社会以及莎士比亚的深刻的影响，即伊丽莎白统治下的社会以及以人为本的社会思潮。
This paper first analyzes some women images in Shakespeare’s main comedies, on such basis, it concludes the common features of the series of those rich female imagery in Shakespeare’s comedies. It affirms women’s wisdom; eulogize the virtues of women; and praise the courage of not fear for violence and the spirit of pursuing their ideals. The paper also explores the life principles and the pursuit of ideals of new humanist that reflected on them. They are the models of humanism. At the end of this paper, it points out the profound influence of the political and economical backgrounds and the thoughts of humanism of the Renaissance period on the society as well as on Shakespeare at that time, that is, the society under the rule of Elizabeth I and the people-centered social thoughts.
Keywords：Shakespeare; comedies; imagery; common feature; backgrounds
1. Introduction 1
2. The common features of the females in shakespeare’s comedies 2
2.1 External beauty 2
2.2 Internal beauty 2
2.2.1 The pursuit of love 2
2.2.2 Loyalty to friendship 3
2.2.3 Extinguished wisdom 3
2.2.4 Noble morality 4
2.3 Round personality 4
3. Reasons of shaping those female images 6
3.1 Backgrounds 6
3.1.1 Political and social background 6
3.1.2 Economic background 8
3.1.3 Humanism 9
3.2 Symbol meaning of those female images 11
4. Conclusion 13
Shakespeare is perhaps the most quoted author in literature. Shakespeare’s early years was his comedy times, he created many famous comedies such as "The Merchant of Venice", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Twelfth Night" and so on. In those comedies, he made an analysis of the unique style and the witty remarks in the description of the beauty of women images and the profound connotations of thought in Shakespeare’s comedies, holding that the beauty of women images should be embodied in the harmony of self-respect, independence, amiability, devotion to love and the relationship of human beings and that of human beings and nature. Starting from the exploration of human civilization and the progress of society, the paper expounds the truth that mercy conquers cruelty; friendship conquers enmity; wisdom conquers ignorance, and justice conquers evil. Therefore the ideal beauty of humanism is realized. All of those women images symbolize the impact of humanism.
2. The common features of the females
In Shakespeare’s comedies
Women images in Shakespeare’s comedies have unique style and the witty remarks in the description of the beauty and the profound connotations of thought. The beauty of women images were embodied in the harmony of self-respect , independence , amiability , devotion to love and the relationship of human beings and that of human beings and nature.
2.1 External beauty
Females in Shakespeare’s comedies always had beautiful outside. In “The Merchant of Venice” Bassanio once said, “In Belmont is a lady richly left; And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages: Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia: Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth, For the four winds blow in from every coast Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece; Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand, And many Jasons come in quest of her. O my Antonio, had I but the means To hold a rival place with one of them, I have a mind presages me such thrift, That I should questionless be fortunate” 1. That is Portia. Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” is a "precious jade" which is worthy of "all the world's wealth". Viola in “Twelfth Night” causes Miss Count to fall in love with her at first sight even she is dressed as a man.
2.2 Internal beauty
Women in Shakespeare’s comedies are all beautiful ladies with rich inner beauty and rich Personality such as their special opinions about purchasing their true love, great loyalty to friendship, having outstanding wisdom and noble morality.
2.2.1 Pursuit of love
In Portia’s mind, the nobles are all dull and have nothing available but enjoy their lives. “First, she said that the Neapolitan prince is a colt indeed. Then there is the County Palatine. He doth nothing but frown. The French lord, Monsieur Le Bon hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man. Then, to Falconbridge, the young baron of England, How oddly he is suited. The young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew is very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast. ” 1 Portia would not be controlled by power or property. In order to find the true love, she went against her father’s will.
Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” is a noble, but her mind is filled with humanism. She thinks that the qualification of an individual is the basic standard of choosing her lover, not the property or noble classical or power. She calls for the equality of both male and female; stick to individual independence, and safeguards women's dignity. She said “But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.” 4