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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Whores, etc.
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 605.  Wednesday, 29 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           Michael Sharpston 33167 <
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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.
 
 
          Michael Sharpston
          
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          (any views expressed are my own personal ones)
 

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