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Abstract

Xianfeng Mou analyzes in her paper, "Cultural Anxiety and the Female Body in Zeffirelli's Hamlet," the workings of power, both discursive and visual, behind Zeffirelli's handling of the Nunnery and Mousetrap scenes, focusing on feminist interpretations of the female body and female sexuality. Drawing on theories by Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva, Mou analyzes how Zeffirelli, using Hamlet as his spokesman, constructs his negative meanings about Gertrude's sexuality as rampant and aberrant and Ophelia's body as disloyal, insincere, and insignificant. Mou argues that Zeffirelli's discursive and visual constructions confer absolute power upon Hamlet and that this reflects Zeffirelli's intentions as well as society's desire for more power over the female body. That cultural desire, in turn, disguises male anxiety about the power of women in cultural production.

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