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Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Any Two Comic Playdocx

By Rita Olowa


In Ben Johnson’s Volpone, Celia represents the epitome of femininity in renaissance literature. She is beautiful, submissive, religious and faithful. Celia is quite and helpless to resist her husband’s control over her every moment. Although it is disturbing that her gender renders her victim to male characters such as corvine and Volpone who treat her as though she is a possession to the won. Corvine treats her like a prisoner by keeping her locked in her room. We see how she was sexually harassed by volpone, because of her husband’s excess greediness; the matter was taken to court where she appeals to heaven to expose him. Because masculinity and femininity cannot exist without each other, both men and women must be voluntarily or forcibly complicit to function within this binary. By examining female sexuality and morality, it is not only the characterization of Celia but also, that of lady would-be politic, Johnson reveals how women are caught in a double-bind within the patriarchal structure of renaissance England. They must either conform to their feminine roles or risk being alienated from the communities. Celia, the wife of corvine (one of Volpone’s victims) has entirely conformed to the feminine role of a proper married woman.
Celia latter stands for herself, this is seen in act three when she protests corvine for prostituting her out to volpone in other to gain his riches. She says to corvine, “sir, let me beseech you, affect not these strange trials; if you doubt my chastity, why lock me up forever……” in this situation, Celia only hopes for God to rescue her from this situation. This essay seeks to unravel the reasons as to why masculinity is threatened by female strength and autonomy, not to victimize the female characters within Johnson’s play.
Presentation of Gender and Sexuality in Any Two Comic Playdocx
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Published: July 19, 2017

Uploaded by: Rita Olowa

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