Monday, January 12, 2015

Sex In HENRY V

Ostrich claims that 'according to folklore and to early medical and pre-scientific texts on conception, both sexes had to anticipate pleasure and experience orgasm in order to procreate successfully' In her research on gynecological and obstetrical txts published from 1570-1740, Audrey Eccles also found that most scientists believed the woman produced a seed or 'stone' which was thought to be 'emitted during orgasm and mixed with the male seed on conception'. And despite a lack of consensus n how conception was achieved, 'a robust insistence on mutual pleasure was maintained throughout this period'. Further, it must be remembered that this is an arranged marriage, and as Rubin correctly points out, 'The needs of sexuality and procreation must be satisfied as much as the need to eat, and as one of the most obvious deductions which can be made from the data of anthropology is that these needs are hardly ever satisfied in any "natural" form, and more than are the needs for food....Every society also has a sex/gender system-a set of arrangements by which the biological raw material of human sex and procreation is shaped by human, social intervention and satisfied in a conventional manner, no matter how bizarre some of the conventions may be'. This helps to explain why Henry, while engaging in the decidedly bizarre convention of wooing a woman to whom marriage is already arranged, has also sought Katherine's willingness to help him produce heirs. If she decides or involuntarily concedes, Henry may not achieve the successful line with which he has been so preoccupied. After all, Henry knows from painful personal experience that royal legitimacy does not occur naturally. Thus as Rackin states succinctly:'the royal authority that Henry V finally represents is an achievement, not an inheritance'.

From here...

http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/eth/article/viewFile/7359/4352

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