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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above:

- Act IV, scene vi


Look at the woman over there smiling at us coyly,
Whose cold looks predict frigidity between her legs.
Who pretends to be virtuous, and pretends to be prudish;
Neither the skunk (slang for prostitute) nor the horse put out to pasture
Are as vigorous in between the sheets.
Below the waist they are lustful,
Although above they are virtuous.

Ooh, clearly Shakespeare is patriarchially eroticising women's seeming lack of sexual receptivity.


Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou [Thy blood] hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes [rags] small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sins with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.

O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!

- Ibid

"Those who inflict justice are often more guilty than the ones they punish. Lear refuses to sentence the adulterer for an act in which all nature engages. Lear encourages copulation in order to create more soldiers for his armies and to allow him opportunity for revenge. But he also thinks the problem lies ultimately with women, monstrous centaurs, who deceive men to satisfy their lust for sex and for power."
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