Looking At Commercial And Social Relations Cultural Studies Essay

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In hereditary social order, reproduction of relation of production is a means of maintaining unity within a capitalistic society that economic base and commodity relations play main role in determining whole structure of society. Morose is a sample of a proper agent in this society who intends to beget an heir by marriage. He tries to make harmony in such a society by attributing the role of procreation to women. Jonson by depicting market forces of early modern London through character of Morose, ultimately reinforce traditional distinction of statue and gender. Morose wants to establish his statue in capitalist society, and to do so, he decides to marry a silent woman to preserve his dominance over her.

To strengthen his economic bases, Morose, as an agent of traditional hereditary social relations, decides to get married. Marriage for him is not a personal relationship, but only a means of finding a source of procreation to facilitate transmission of his wealth and statue. He tries to marry a mute woman only to be able to bear children. Silence of woman in early modern England was indication of her chastity, so reproductive female body was a structure to act based on male power. To preserve economic base of a hereditary social structure, reproduction of relations of power is needed and Morose as an agent of this capitalistic society, needs to subjugate Epicoene, as an agent of reproduction. Morose, to justify his dominance over her, tries to select a mute Epicoene, one who submit male dominance.

Morose's strategy against new commercial relation is his disinheritance of Dauphin from his wealth, because Dauphine tries o establish a new rank not through traditional hereditary social order, but through title-buying. Morose becomes angry when observes Dauphine's higher rank and statue and states: "he would be knighted, forsooth, and though by that mean to reign over me…" (II 99).. Dauphin's title-buying also indicates commercialization of the social hierarchy. In early modern period of capitalistic society, even hereditary social position is based on commercial relations. In fact social harmony in hereditary social relation can be either preserved by production and procreation, or by commercial relations of power and frustrating process of procreation that is done by Dauphine.

Dauphine is the agent of commodity relations of commercial capitalism. His title-buying guarantees his distance from traditional landed values and embracing new commercial relationship. When he overcomes Morose, we assume he undermines the role of women as productive forces and marriage as an institution to preserve rank and statue, but it is not so. He only transmits subjugation of female by father and husband to her new dimension of her submission to economic society. He only wants to strengthen male statue in commercial capitalism. In fact Jonson uses commodity relations in character of Dauphine to subvert hereditary social order, but when we observe Dauphin frustrates process of Morose's marriage through Epicoene, we become aware of Dauphine's preoccupation with hereditary relations of production.

Dauphin's title-buying indicates of his lack of stable identity that results in his social mobility and his social rank in a way different from hereditary hierarchy. Even his name denotes contradictory social position. Marjorie Swann in her essay "Refashioning society in Ban Jonson's Epicoene" states that "Dauphin Eugenic, translated as "well-born heir", but the "e" added to Dauphin creates feminine form of the word" (299). He both maintains his position in traditional hierarchy of statue and also exploits new opportunities for advancement. He has contradictory social dynamics, on one hand he accepts social power of reproduction by frustrating Moros's attempt to beget an heir, on the other hand, his success indicates in capitalistic society rank maybe transformed by relations between men. Dauphin's subjugation of female is far beyond Morose, he completely omits women from patriarchal capitalist society.

Morose and Dauphine are two characters, represent Jonson's dualistic position. From one side, he depicts market forces of early modern London, but ultimately gives way to traditional distinction of status and gender. On the other hand, with depicting victory of Dauphin, he eradicates traditional hereditary values. His opposition to traditional preoccupation with rank and statue through marriage does not mean he is in favor of new commercial state. He believes new capitalistic way of life provides new opportunity for female to destabilize society. This notion will be investigated through character of Mistress Otter and Collegiate.

Collegiate are deputy of fashion and defiance of norms of traditional behavior in new London society. They do not accept their role as procreating and childbirth, so they reject a central function of a type female. They are emblem of sexual deficiency, so they have no role in traditional hierarchal society. They are a good type in a society based on commodity relation, and do not submit traditional patriarchal dominance of procreation and assume an air of freedom in commercial society. One of this Collegiate is Mistress Otter, who has abandoned the strictures of patriarchal marriage

Mistress Otter is socially ambitious shopkeeper, who wishes to join the Collegiate. For under the terms of her marriage with captain Otter, she has completely found dominance over her husband. She has achieved independence in her married life and her marriage has found new dimension not based on traditional means of procreation, but her assumed freedom has taken her under more powerful authority of forces external to marital household. Capitan Otter does not gain his authority as a husband, but rather reveals that his wife is owned by the city. She has deserted the family household and has steeped in commercial society.

Mistress Otter's social ambitious is related to her exploiting commodity relation. She seeks her new identity in merchandise society that is not real, because she is not a whole in this society, only a "piece", something that has not real existence because she does not own what she buys. Captain Otter asserts "all her teeth were made, the Blackfriars, both her eyebrows, the strand, and her hair in Silver street" (IV 80). She puts on expensive, fashionable clothes. These clothes signify the potential eradication of traditional statues boundaries by commercial order. Early modern London interpelates her as a construct, but she assume her individual position and pretends to be a "whole".