Diana, una tragedia “shakespeariana”. Amore e morte alla Corte d’Inghilterra


Abstract – Diana, Princess of Wales, made history mostly thanks to her status as a global celebrity and as a main character in the gossip papers. This kind of world fame robbed her in life and even after death of the tragic dimension which her short existence fully belongs within. She is a tragic character not just because of the way she died. Like one of Aeschylus’ or Sophocles’ heroines, Diana claims her own right to happiness regardless of the conventional rules and the reason of State. And even more so because in her case the State is the very family she married into, therefore the tearing between public duty and private expectations cuts across what usually is the most protective environment for any individual, i.e. the family. Therein lies the paradox of royalty, and there also the roots of tragedies, in life and on stage, so strikingly similar at the Court of the first Elizabeth as of the second’s. In the works of Shakespeare, the women nearly always pay with their lives the price of their own emancipation. Somehow, this is the same fate that awaited Diana. Even though women’s lib swept England already many decades ago, still the “womanly mistakes” turn out to be as intolerable at the Windsor’s Court in the Twentieth Century as at the Tudor’s in the Sixteenth. After the great moral breaking in the Eighteenth Century of the Georgian rakes and the Blue Stockings, the Victorian age succeeded in the restoration of the old patriarchal power with its family structure. And even a century after, no challenge to the ideology of the Royal Family as a “normal family” could be tolerated. Any lady or princess ready to defy such a stricture had to pay a price. In the end, Diana has got her way but, as in every tragedy, only after her death.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v27p87

Keywords: duty; expectations; family; emancipation; death


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