Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Drawing on Freud’s categories of perversion (domination, abjection, scopophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism) and Eve Sedgwick’s analysis of erotic triangles, the essay reinterprets the marriage plots of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Pleasurably and painfully perverse desires circulate through multiple erotic triangles that are unstable and concatenating and fluidly form and re-form not just, as usual, ‘between men’ but also between women; characters participate in more than one. Countering the conventional male homosocial cuckoldry triangle of Falstaff, Ford, and Ford’s wife is the woman-anchored homosocial adultery triangle of Mistress Ford, Mistress Page, and Falstaff; in the courtships for the hand of Anne Page, odder triangles are spawned. All circulate power and pleasure in every direction so that the institution of marriage incites and is sustained by circulating desires. Categories of gender and sexual identity are revealed to be permeable and fungible, and distinctions between the normative and the non-normative are undone.

Keywords: gender, sexuality, perverse desires, erotic triangles, marriage, cuckoldry

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.