“Love, Thou Dost Master Me”

Melissa E. Sanchez

in Erotic Subjects

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199754755
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896912 | DOI:
“Love, Thou Dost Master Me”

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Chapter Five argues that like Shakespeare, Mary Wroth is concerned with the practical limits of resistance theory, but she returns to an Elizabethan focus on the psychological dimensions of these limits. Yet Wroth’s Urania offers a more perverse view of power than the Sidneian or Spenserian romances to which it alludes. Wroth was a member of a court circle who opposed many of James I’s policies even as they depended on monarchal favor. For Wroth, it is not that subjects are too weak or self-deceiving to fight tyranny. Rather, because the Urania pictures love in Petrarchan terms that are consciously masochistic, Wroth warns that subjects may put up with tyranny because they actually enjoy it. This romance warns of the dangerous private and public effects of such obsessive devotion. But Wroth also acknowledges the allure of erotic martyrdom—a stance that emerges in her relentless portraits of women betrayed, degraded, and tortured by men they love.

Keywords: Lady Mary Wroth; Sidney Family; women and politics; gender; sexuality; women’s writing; James I; seventeenth-century political history

Chapter.  14056 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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