"Rickard A. Parker" wrote: [quoting Eliot]
> Bianca remains, like Beatrice in The
> Changeling, a real woman; as real, indeed, as any woman of Elizabethan
> tragedy. Bianca is a type of the woman who is purely moved by vanity.
This seems less than fully coherent to me. First, TSE needed to make up
his mind whether Bianca is (a) "a real woman or (b) a _type_. Types
nearly by definition are not 'real' but rather represent many different
instances. Secondly, "Type of the woman who is purely moved by vanity"
is simply a cliche. If she is a _type_ of vanity, then why is she not a
type of _all_ vain persons, male or female? What is the difference
between a woman and a man "purely moved by vanity"? And if he meant, "a
type of the woman purely moved by vanity" AS THE RENAISSANCE CONCEIVED
THAT TYPE, then he ought to have thrown in the historical qualification.
Besides the type is in fact wrong. In a social order in which a woman's
very survival was apt to depend on the male she attracted the
_appearance_ of vanity was more apt to be simple common sense. Vanity in
a male, however, might be _pure_, since there was no material grounds
for it as a necessity.
Finally, if one wants to find "real women" (whatever that may be) in
Elizabethan drama, the place probably to look is not tragedy but comedy
-- e.g., Rosalyn in _As You Like It_, Beatrice in _Much Ado_. It has
been almost a half century since I read anything by Middleton, but the
tragic woman I remember from the dramatists of the time is the Duchess
of Malfi -- "I am the Duchess of Malfi still."
> Eliot, T.S. "Thomas Middleton," Selected Essays