Shakespeare's Quill : The Nighttime, Merchant-izing, Male-Bonding, Neoplatonic, Nauseating, Stuffy Morals, Feverish Blood So You Can Remain Chaste Medicine
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Shakespeare's image of chastity remains that of a tool, its use depending on who is wielding it and why. In Merchant, Portia uses her chastity (or lack thereof) to put her father in his place. Her father, in turn, uses hers to turn her into a piece of merchandise. Shylock uses Antonio's to make him unreproductive, as does Jessica her own to cause the same effect on her father. Portia then uses Shylock's against himself, and her own supposed lack of chastity to make her husband deal with her instead of for her. Adonis uses his chastity to show Venus what she should be, while Venus uses Adonis' chastity to show him what he should not be. The boar just plain uses Adonis. Hamlet uses his own chastity to force Ophelia to remain chaste, which, in turn, forces him to remain chaste. He then uses Gertrude’s chastity (as in abstinence) to control Claudius. He just plain uses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern--to take out his sexual frustrations on from all of this chastity. Angelo takes out his sexual frustrations, not to mention nausea, by using her chasteness as leverage against her brother's life. The men use the prostitutes lack of chastity. Claudio uses Julietta's chastity, then subsequent lack of chastity, but with Julietta's full permission. Isabella uses her chastity to guard against losing herself. And the Duke just uses everyone--to achieve his goal of controlling sexuality through marriage, the ultimate transaction. Which brings us back to Portia and her use of the system to get herself bonded to her husband so she can use her chastity (or lack thereof) to put her father in his place ... Is that pithy enough for you?