Bawdily Manipulations: Spheres of Female Power in The Birth of Merlin
This paper traces out the various plotlines in Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin by examining the behaviors of the female characters as they act out their sexuality within the confines of patriarchal expectation. Though each female character confounds traditional expectations with her individual deviant behaviour, by the end of the play all of the females are sequestered into confines of one type or another – whether they are enclosed by choice or by force depends on how they use, or refuse to use, their bodies. The mapping of these representations reveals the power of the female body wielded in a potentially threatening way and the (un)surprising traditional conclusion of such power display.
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.