Does She Conquer?

Directly after reading this play, I looked online to figure out when this play was written and concluded that it was around the late 18th century. This did not surprise me at all, because although Kate shows some control in the play, her control can only come through deceit and secrecy. Any public interactions with women seem to demean or objectify them.

The first point in which I noticed these tendencies was at the beginning of act three when Kate shows extreme submission to her father saying “I find such a pleasure, sirr, in obeying your commands, that I take care to observe them without ever debating their propriety”(190). I had to reread this line because it just sounds like such an odd thing for a woman to say today in age.

Jewelry is a very common thing for women to wear today, however I was thrown off a little by how Mrs. Hardcastle described it. According to her, jewelry’s only purpose was to repair the damages that old age can cause a person. Obviously women wear jewelry for appearance reasons, but when it was explained in this way I found it to be a little alarming.

The final part of the play that I thought specifically called into question the intelligence of women is when Tony led his mother “40 miles away” when in fact they were no less than 40 yards away from their own house. My question was the same as Mr. Hardcastles when he found his wife in that how does she not recognize her own property, or at least the land remotely close to it? It just seemed improbable for anyone to be that unfamiliar with their home, regardless of how scared they are. Overall, I thought that this play definitely gave more of a negative portrayal toward women than positive.


One thought on “Does She Conquer?

  1. I agree with you about the negative portrayal of women in this play. To add onto some of your examples, I found it absurd that Kate found it acceptable to be treated differently based on which class she represented herself to be from—when she is under the guise of a barmaid, Marlow refuses to marry her. When she represents herself as upper class, he is wooed and treats her with the upmost respect. She even hears that Marlow treated her father unkindly and disrespectfully, and still wants her father’s acceptance to marry him despite this! She is a prime example of the acceptance of gender inequalities in this skit, and I don’t believe she really “conquers” at all.

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