Violation of the Gender Stereotypes and the Readers' Bewilderment in Shelley's the Cenci

Dublin Core


Violation of the Gender Stereotypes and the Readers' Bewilderment in Shelley's the Cenci


Rahmani , Hussein
Ghiasian , Maryam


The Cenci is the embodiment of Cenci and Beatrice's struggle for power and dominance. From the outset, the reader is informed about Cenci’s making abuse of power to perform whatever he wishes; he exonerated himself from charges by using his money and gold. Cenci's daughter, Beatrice, revolts against his absolute power and invites her mother, to disregard the expectations of society with which they should comply. Her speech in the play is at odd with the stereotypical assumptions about the language of women and thus not appropriate for her gender; her behaviour like that of Antigone destabilized gender roles, and her tragic doom might be because her "gender-bending" behaviour; she was not a womanly woman rather she transgressed to the domain of power, which is "always and only patriarchal." Her punishment takes place off-stage, in the Cenci's palace but what the punishment is, is never uttered, yet it can be inferred from the Beatrice’s behaviour that it was sexual violence. Accordingly she decides to venture on parricide. After murdering her father, the authority at home, she has to encounter the authority in society, the church and its administrator, the Pope. So much like her father Beatrice rejects that she employed Marzio; but in her forcing Marzio with her persuasive speeches, which “according to Payne “is a source of power, she becomes equal to her father. Now through her "resenting eyes" and her persuasive speech she mesmerizes Marzio. It is as if power entails domination and silencing the subordinates. The reader is afflicted with a kind of indecisiveness and bewilderment for he has already broke with Cenci and comes close to Beatrice but soon understands he has to keep away from her as well for revenge is a blind aimless deed.


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