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Women and Boundary Crossing: Foreign Brides in Shakespeare's History Plays


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跨越疆界、爭霸異域-莎士比亞的歷史劇中被運用為男性角色大展英雄本色的背景時機,就如同《亨利五世》中遠征法國的英國國王,藉由殺戮戰場,呈現自己的王者氣概,最後還娶回法國公主,為歷史劇創造出喜劇般的高潮。然而在莎翁的歷史劇中也存在著另一類的疆界跨越者—英國的外籍皇后。雖然以往對莎翁歷史劇的閱讀策略並不著重於這類角色,但細讀以英國歷史為框架的歷史劇後,不難發現莎翁除了國王及英雄的事蹟之外,亦開啟許多戲劇空間,納入各式各樣有趣的角色,而外籍新娘在莎翁所創造出的歷史劇中,亦佔有重要的戲份。這些外籍新娘或許是殺戮戰場所獲得的戰利品,又或許是政治聯姻的結果。婚姻對她們而言,並非單純之地理疆界的跨越,更帶來其他問題,例如語言文化之隔閡,與國籍身份歸屬之游離性。在《亨利五世》中,莎翁即巧妙的運用了語言文化之隔閡,編撰出法國公主凱瑟琳如何努力學習英語,卻因對此語言的了解及掌控不佳,製造出另有所指的語意,令人盡不住發笑。在《亨利六世》中,莎翁亦對外籍皇后的原本國籍屬性大做文章,瑪格麗特皇后雖然為國王生下王子,卻仍被政敵稱為「法國母狼」(She-wolf of France),在在顯示出雖貴為皇后,她在英國的處境並不好受。而在歷史劇中最令人矚目的就是外籍新娘跑回自己國家借兵攻打英國的事,由此可見她們所具有的游離曖昧屬性確實對英國具有威脅性。本文將以歷史劇中的外籍新娘為研究議題,探討這些因婚姻而須跨越疆界的女性角色所具有之重要性,並討論莎翁如何藉由她們創造出引人發笑或令人欷歔的戲劇效果。

Parallel abstracts

The conflicting international relations, as depicted in Shakespeare's history plays, make national-boundary crossing a necessary act not only for men who engage themselves in battles overseas, but also for women who marry into foreign countries. These women have not simply crossed boundaries delineated in space. Their marriages involve complicated identity issues. Shakespeare’s history plays assign plenty of textual spaces to English queens of foreign origin for them to voice out their difficult alien status. These foreign brides are seldom conceptualized by Englishmen as completely naturalized, and can be easily attacked for their foreign origin and questioned for their loyalty to England. Margaret of Anjou in Henry VI, labeled by Englishmen as ”she-wolf of France,” is a typical example of how such a foreign bride can be readily attacked for being a national alien, despite the fact that she is the mother of an English prince. This paper attempts to delineate the in-betweenness of these foreign brides, and it also discusses how Shakespeare employs them to enhance the dramatic tension of his history plays.

Parallel keywords

Shakespeare history plays women boundary crossing foreign bride


Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, Part I.,A. R. Humphreys.(1960).The Arden Shakespeare ed.
Shakespeare, William.,King Henry IV, Part II.,A. R. Humphreys.(1966).The Arden Shakespeare ed.London:Methuen.
Shakespeare, William.,King Henry V. Ed. J. H. Walter.(1954).The Arden Shakespeare ed.London:Methuen.
Shakespeare, William.,King Henry VI, Part I.,Andrew S. Cairncross.(1962).The Arden Shakespeare ed.London:Methuen.
Shakespeare, William.,King Henry VI, Part II.,Andrew S. Cairncross.(1957).The Arden Shakespeare ed.London:Methuen.

Cited by

Wang, C. C. (2005). 《愛德華三世》中的詭異意識 [master's thesis, National Taiwan University]. Airiti Library. https://doi.org/10.6342/NTU.2005.02123