• "Jacobean Witchcraft and Feminine Power"

    Author(s):
    Stephanie Spoto (see profile)
    Date:
    2010
    Subject(s):
    British literature, Sixteenth century, Seventeenth century, English literature, English drama, 1603-1625, European drama--Renaissance, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Witchcraft
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Macbeth, The Tempest, Early modern British literature, Jacobean drama, Renaissance drama, Shakespeare
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6NG4C
    Abstract:
    Diane Purkiss claims that “in Early Modern England, the witch was a woman’s fantasy and not simply a male nightmare”. Continuing along Purkiss’ notion of witchcraft as perpetuated by women, this article looks at the Idealized-Demonized Witch-Figure in Early Modern Europe, and how the two sides of the same figure served to empower women and threaten men. Elizabeth Grosz describes that the West constructs the woman’s body as ‘leaky’, ‘changing’ and ‘uncontrollable’; these very fears encircling the ‘seeping’ female body are evoked in debates fixed upon the danger and nature of witches and witchcraft. The purity of a mother’s body is juxtaposed with the Witch, whose breasts give not milk but blood, and the good housewife who is virtuously enclosed in the home is contrasted with the witch who flies to the Sabbath to engage in ritual orgies. This figure of the demonic and anti-maternal woman appears within the seventeenth-century works of Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, and dramatists, showing that occult erudition was not limited to scholars like John Dee and Robert Fludd, but parts of it—often the most sexualized parts—would appear in popular culture.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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