Elizabeth Cary explores a period when the women had no voice in a society that believed women needed to submit to their male counterparts who were regarded superior. The play focuses on the voice of the women in the early times. During this period, women had no right of confronting men, as they had to assume a silent position especially when interacting with men. Cary highlights that the society viewed a woman who confronted men as disrespectable and disobedient (Cary 8). In contrast, Cary introduced a new perspective to the role and abilities of women in the society by presenting the case of Miriam and her tragedy in love with Herod. The paper attempts to compare two points of analysis of the story, driving at the main implications of the voice of the women in the society.
The silence of the woman can be seen to result to her sadness, anger, and desire to revenge over the men (Cerasano et al 30). For example, Miriam is a bitter and abused wife. Firstly, his husband took part in the death of some of her family members. Furthermore, her husband is mistreating her in marriage. This is a reason why she harbors a lot of anger over her husband and desires to revenge. The author reiterates that this is a feeling that characterized the minds of many women during the time. However, this point is lightly addressed in the second review because the author feels like Miriam did not have an alternative, but to respect her chauvinist husband (Wray 13).
Both authors endorse the Cary’s perspective of portraying women as being dependent as they essentially rely on the decisions made by the men. Furthermore, the authors agree that men in the ancient society made their decisions irrespective of the thoughts of the women. When Herod is convinced that his wife had been unfaithful in his absence, he makes his mind to part with Miriam without seeking to her position. It is apparent that Miriam’s side of the story is not a factor in the decision made by Herod at that time. Surprisingly, Herod made wrong assumptions although he is convinced that his position is appropriate. The authors agree that Miriam had genuinely mourned the death of her husband and that she had not been unfaithful at any point. However, the chauvinist nature of her husband does not allow her to present her case. Furthermore, the authors agree that women often had the potential of influencing men’s decision. For example, Herod’s sister convinces him to divorce Miriam, meaning that women could influence the decisions that men made in their lives.
It is apparent that women in the society at the time of the play could hardly realize fame. In some sense, fame often destroyed the reputation of the women. Miriam could not make herself famous by undertaking any revenge on behalf of her deceased relatives. This would tarnish her reputation in the society. As a result, she has to keep quiet and wait for her husband’s decisions. However, Miriam highlights the beginning of women’s struggle for their position by raising their voice. The women struggled to enter into the men’s world by speaking out their view. The authors however do not agree that this is a common point among all the women. Some of the women in the lower classes could not conform to this trend.
The entry strategy of the women in the helm of speech is through monologue. At the same time, the women are used as agents of morality in the society. As much as Salome is an immoral woman, full of revenge, Miriam on the other hand is moral and content. The society does not offer women a chance of presenting their views (Cerasano et al 29). For example, Miriam is beheaded following her quest of voicing her feelings. The author deviates to monologue as a way of contemplating on the death.
Cary work highlight that the plight of women in the society is dependent on the decisions made by their male counterparts. The women have no voice in the society. Women risked their lives if they opposed or raised their voices on the decisions made by the men. However, the play highlights that women are trying to break into the free world. Men presents as individuals of high abilities as evident in their leading role. However, it is apparent that social civilization made women assume a submissive position, but this does not identity them as persons of low abilities.
Cary, Elizabeth, and Stephanie Hodgson-Wright. The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2000. Print.
Cerasano, Susan P., and Marion Wynn-Davies, eds. Renaissance Drama by Women: Texts and Documents. London: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Wray, Ramona, ed. "The Tragedy of Mariam. By Elizabeth Cary." Arden Early Modern Drama. London, Bloomsbury, 2012. Print.