In this essay, I will examine the treatment of women in relation to patriarchal authoritarian society by considering examples from Macbeth by Shakespeare and Cold Mountain by Frazier. This issue is explored in both texts and can be viewed from a variety of perspectives, such as authoritarianism and ideas of God as a dominant father figure.
An exploration of the theme of patriarchy requires a discussion of authoritarianism, which is apparent in both texts. Authoritarianism applies to political and social organizational ideologies which psychologically dominate those within society. It is used in maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures.
“And further, she refused to name the father, denying Junior his just revenge. He set about instead to divorce her, but the judge had declined to grant one on the grounds that Junior knew she was a slut when he married her (Frazier 1997).”
In one example, Junior is denied his right to mate and his right to take his revenge against the “thief” who had impregnated his wife, as if it was someone stealing his property. He sets about to divorce her. She has no right of her own to do so. The judge denies a divorce for she’s a slut for not being monogamous to her partner, but because Junior is not a slut himself as he is a male.
“-What’s your name? Inman asked the girl. -Lula, she said. -No, it ain’t, Junior said. He turned to the girl and glared. Say what it is, he said. -Mama says it’s Lula, the girl said. -Well, it ain’t. That’s just the kind of cathouse name your mama would come up with. But I do the naming around here (Frazier 1997).”
The father’s aggressive attitude over the naming of a child at her mother’s will indicates the authoritarianism of the father, who is a representative of a patriarchal society. He is unable to give the girl’s mother her right of naming the .child.