In their own voices: silence and the female voice in the Orlando furioso
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/etd/id/49533
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 100 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Humanities
For women, the rediscovery of classical texts meant that the ideals of silence and chastity became more closely linked in Early Modern minds than they had been before. Imposed on women, these ideals meant that any show of female autonomy or outspokenness was the target of vituperation. In his 1516 - 1532 editions of Orlando furioso, Ludovico Ariosto considers this vein of the querelle des femmes through his exploration of alternative possibilities of Woman, emphasizing the absurdity of those ideals. Using Guido Waldman’s prose edition because of its literal translation, I examine Ariosto’s personification of silence and the complexity that the ability or inability to speak adds to his female characters to reveal his criticism of the limits of the querelle. Ariosto’s characterizations suggest that the relationships between men and women are more complex than scope of the querelle allows. Furthermore, by allowing female characters to speak and narrate, Ariosto gives women the voice both to narrate and to “write” themselves into history, giving both sexes equal access to the conversation.