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Power

Seduction or Harassment?

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Shakespeare delights in the seduction ceremonies of bright men with even brighter women. These dialogues, whether between adolescents like Romeo and Juliet, more mature characters like Henry V and Princess Katherine, or seasoned adults like the widow Lady Grey and the sexual harasser King Edward, in this scene (3HenryVI 3.2.36), give Shakespeare opportunities to employ dazzling webworks of rhetorical exchanges.
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Sexual Extortion

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In Measure for Measure (2.4.95), Angelo, the classic sexual harasser, adopts a method of sexual extortion similar to King Edward’s in Henry VI Part 3 (3.2.36).  Both men begin with oblique insinuations about their desires, which can be innocently misread. When the women, Isabella in Measure for Measure and Lady Grey in Henry VI,
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Why, all this business Our reverend cardinal carried

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Buckingham
Why, all this business
Our reverend cardinal carried.

You know his nature,
That he’s revengeful, and I know his sword
Hath a sharp edge

Norfolk
Like it your Grace,
The state takes notice of the private difference
Betwixt you and the Cardinal. I advise you—
And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
Honor and plenteous safety—that you read
The Cardinal’s malice and his potency
TogetherParenthesis
;
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 119

Source Type:

Spoken by:
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Themes:
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Figures of Speech:
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