What is Hamlet's tragic flaw? | eNotes

Bellerophon, for instance, "fled in terror from Lycian women advancing on him with genitals exposed, and even the sea god Poseidon retreated, for fear they might swallow him" (Barbara G Walker, 1983), or, as Catherine Blackledge succinctly puts it: "Bellerophon retreats in shame, vanquished by vulvas" (2003). Blackledge cites several examples of "the power of the exposed vagina to repel foes", and female genital displays warding off evil: "Driving out devils, averting vicious spirits, frightening carnivores and scaring opposing warriors and threatening deities away - all these heroic and dangerous deeds are reputed to form part of a woman's genital might. [Pliny and Plutarch] described how great heroes and gods will flee in the face of female genitalia. Elsewhere, the report of a sixteenth-century traveller in North Africa records the belief that lions will turn tail and run from this sexual sight. At funerals, women were hired as mourners, with the express aim of exorcising demons via vaginal display. Delightfully, Russian folklore relates how when a bear appears out of the woods, it can be put to flight by a woman raising her skirt at it". Blackledge describes (and reproduces) an engraving by Charles Eisen which depicts "a young woman [...] displaying her sexual centre for Satan to see. And in the face of her naked womanhood, the devil reels back in fear". She argues that when the vagina is employed to repel foes it is demonstrating its inherent feminine power. However, she also problematises this position, recognising that if enemies flee from the vagina then it must be perceived as an object of terror and/or revulsion. This perception is clearly apparent in illustrations by Charles Eisen ( 1674) and Thomas Rowlandson (, 1817), both of which depict a devil recoiling in horror from a woman exposing her genitals.

SparkNotes: Othello: Act III, scene iv

Taboos relating to language are most readily associated with the transgressive lexicon of swearing. William Shakespeare, writing at the cusp of the Reformation, demonstrated the reduced potency of blasphemy and, with his thinly veiled 'cunt' puns, slyly circumvented the newfound intolerance towards sexual language. Later, John Wilmot would remove the veil altogether, writing "some of the filthiest verses composed in English" (David Ward, 2003) with an astonishingly uninhibited sexual frankness and a blatant disregard for the prevailing Puritanism. Establishment "prudery [...] in the sphere of sex", as documented by Peter Fryer (1963), continued until after the Victorian period, when sexually explicit language was prosecuted as obscene.


A summary of Act III, scene iv in William Shakespeare's Othello

Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Othello and what it means

Oedipus the King by Sophocles is a great example of ancient Greek tragedy, Hamlet by Shakespeare is the example of drama of Elizabethan period and Samuel Becketts Waiting for Godot represents the drama of the 20th century and belongs to so called.