Chapter

“She Therein Ruling”

Melissa E. Sanchez

in Erotic Subjects

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199754755
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896912 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754755.003.0002
“She Therein Ruling”

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Chapter Two focuses on Philip Sidney, whose use of romance frameworks to explore the concept of sovereignty would shape literary forms and political discourse for the century to come. This chapter reads Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia as exploring the position of English subjects who opposed many of Elizabeth’s policies even as they depended on her power. Rewriting political theory in terms of sexual desire and violence, Sidney examines the dilemmas of oppositional subjects through portraits of women who endure everything from disfigurement to death rather than betray their lovers. Like Foxe’s martyrs, these women redefine heroism even as they force their persecutors either to reform or to destroy themselves in the pursuit of power. Consequently, the hagiographic structure of the Arcadia shows that dominance and submission, like masculinity and femininity, are positions that may be occupied by either prince or subject.

Keywords: Philip Sidney; Sidney Circle; Elizabeth I; martyrdom; international protestantism; Huguenots; gender; sexuality

Chapter.  12324 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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