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Title: Ukroćena kraljica. Nacija i rodne uloge u Demetrevoj Teuti
Authors: Badurina, Natka
Issue Date: May-2004
Publisher: Università degli Studi di Trieste - Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori
Series/Report no.: Slavica Tergestina
In Teuta, five-act tragedy by Dimitrije Demeter which is ranked as one
of the fundamental texts of the 19th century Croatian historical drama,
the central point of the plot is marked by the transformation of the main
character from a bold woman warrior into a submissive wife and mother.
In this paper that transformation is interpreted in the light of the
relationship between politics and gender roles.
The character of the woman-warrior includes a number of literary layers.
A particularly interesting one is that of a Diana follower from the pastoral
tradition, because of the traditional links between the Arcadian and
androgynous myths. The text contains clear indications of a gender inversion
between Teuta and Dimitar.
In literary tradition Teuta is related to women warriors who dressed in
men’s clothes in order to fight for an order that was established mainly
by male principles (for their homeland or religion) and ended in apotheosis.
They differ from the popular tradition of carnival mannish women
that are trying to turn around the existing order and are often victims
of brutal punishment (Natalie Zemon-Davis). In Teuta the literary
topos is clearly reversed and what we have is taming of a virtuous woman
warrior. The paper offers an interpretation of such Demeter’s approach
against the background of the period in which life penetrated into
history (Foucault), that is, in which it was necessary to base the civil society
and nation upon the concurring gender oppositions. The patriarchal
principle is also connected to the purity of a nation, for which there are
clear indications in the text.
However, the most interesting feature of Demeter’s tragedy lies in the
fact that this thesis is both laid out and questioned in it. In the second
part of the play Teuta’s femininity comes across as masquerade (Joan
Riviere), and her tragic end (suicide with her infant in her arms) links
gender to death, rather than to life.
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Slavica Tergestina 11-12.

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