Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 605. Wednesday, 29 Sept. 1993.
From: Michael Sharpston 33167 <
Date: Tuesday, 28 Sep 1993 20:57:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0593 Re: Whores, etc.
Comment: RE: SHK 4.0593 Re: Whores, etc.
Following the excellent comments of Nancy Miller and Lars Engle, I think there
are various things going on here:
(a) Somewhat feminist thinking is no doubt right that
those with more power or status are freer to either express their
sexuality or hold the floor ("access to discourse') -- and that
discouraging women by custom and disapprobation from both
behaviours represents male social dominance in some fashion.
(b) At the same time people of either gender, of their own
accord, can feel they are 'prostituting themselves' if they find
themselves relying excessively on either method of
self-expression, in a way where they do not feel able to be
selective, in control.
(c) You can also intone (b) as a way of getting at people
re (a). Cf. "whore of her tongue".
(d) Prostitutes, particularly low-class ones -- "drabs" --
may indeed often have found themselves impotent against various
of Fortune's insults (customers who cheat or abuse them,
whatever). The social limitation on their sexual or verbal
expressiveness hardly applied with them as to higher-class women,
so it may have been correct observation that they unpacked their
heart with words, and fell a-cursing. And of course, this whole
speech of Hamlet is about his unwonted feeling of impotence.
(any views expressed are my own personal ones)