Shakespeare's Feminine Endings
Disfiguring Death in the Tragedies
Routledge – 1999 – 216 pages
Series: Feminist Readings of Shakespeare
Philippa Berry draws on feminist theory, postmodern thought and queer theory, to challenge existing critical notions of what is fundamental to Shakespearean tragedy. She shows how, through a network of images clustered around feminine or feminized characters, these plays 'disfigure' conventional ideas of death as a bodily end, as their figures of women are interwoven with provocative meditations upon matter, time, the soul, and the body. The scope of these tragic speculations was radical in Shakespeare's day; yet they also have a surprising relevance to contemporary debates about time and matter in science and philosophy.
'…an important approach to literary studies generally, asking us to think about the ways that secondary meanings and associations might reveal anxieties and equivocations below the surface of what we think we can hear.' - Ruth Morse, TLS, April 20 2001