So i had a couple of thoughts post-class today that i wanted to put out there for general thought and discussion. Over the past few weeks of blog posts i have noticed that while i have a tendency to look at characters (really just Crusoe) in a critical impersonal sort of way, that Bridgette has responded to my criticisms with a more humanitarian ‘everyman’ reading of the characters. As i was leaving the classroom today it occurred to me that we hadn’t made an attempt to apply this same kind of reading to the characters that we looked at in class today. While i think that the context of the play, and in particular the poem, encourage us to read them in terms of their societal significance, i thought it might be appropriate to also take a more personal look at some of the possible meanings and implications of these works.
In the context of The Lady’s Dressing Room, for example, we discussed misogyny and chauvinism, as well as the othering of women as the sources of Strephon’s reaction to/ the unflattering description of the dressing room. I just wanted to offer another possible reading in which the scenario represents, instead of a broader societal problem, an ‘everyman’ kind of problem: the traditional human tendency to idealize and other a romantic interest. In addition to reading Strephon’s disappointment as significant of the foiling of performed identity in the context of gentrification, we can also look at it in the context of personal relationships. It is often true that we idealize the object of affection and are disappointed to discover that the one we are interested in has undesirable qualities as well as the desirable ones that we choose to see.
I also think that it could be interesting to keep in mind this personal/everyman perspective when we look at the acting/performing of identity. This is not something that is reserved for the gentry in the regency era. This is something that is practiced everyday and amongst all classes in modern social practice.