Serpenti, eroi e rose di maggio. La danza cosmica di femminile e maschile in Shakespeare


Abstract – Drawing from Riane Eisler’s Cultural Transformation Theory, this article focuses on some representative feminine figures in Shakespeare’s plays as manifestations of what the anthropologist Riane Eisler defines as the partnership paradigm as opposed to the dominator one. The chapter shows some relevant analogies between the Elizabethan world picture with its ‘order and degree’ and Eisler’s dominator model, and how Shakespeare challenges and subverts the ruling cultural paradigm of his time through the representations of ‘otherness’ in some women characters who clearly embody the partnership model. In partnership society, roles are not imposed through fear and violence but shared within a loving and caring community, more oriented towards what Krippendorff (2014) calls the “reign of freedom”. Here, each person self-regulates and modulates the limits of his/her individualism by respecting also the common good and happiness of all. While the male hero of the tragedy fails in his extreme individualism, this partnership community, found especially in the comedy, is women-oriented and shows how one can ‘govern’ with grace, irony, imagination, and wisdom, thus teaching how peoples of different colours and personalities can participate in the creative and ever-changing art of living in a true community. Female figures who show strong traits connected them to a partnership dimension are present also in the tragedy as a foil or an alternative to patriarchal rule.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v27p331

Keywords: Shakespeare; tragedy; comedy; Partnership studies; Elizabethan world picture


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