Shakespearean World Re-visited: Ann-Marie Macdonald’s Re-presentation of Women in Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
Çiğdem Alp (Ege University, Izmir, Turkey) [BIO]
The award-winning play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), written by the Canadian writer Ann-Marie MacDonald, calls attention to men’s perception of women as well as women’s perception of themselves both in contemporary academia and in Shakespeare’s time by re-evaluating the well-known tragedies Romeo and Juliet and Othello, and by rewriting these two plays from the perspective of women. MacDonald’s text narrates the subconscious journey of Assistant Professor Constance Ledbelly into the worlds of Romeo and Juliet and Othello, where she prevents the tragic end of the two heroines Desdemona and Juliet. The journey into her subconscious mind turns out to be a journey into the self, as Constance discovers her identity and gains awareness of her own power, which has long been suppressed and exploited by her boss, Professor Claude Night.
This journey also gives readers or the audience a chance to hear the voices of Desdemona and Juliet, which were kept silent in the original plays. These two characters are portrayed as headstrong, powerful, and assertive women who are able to make decisions and put them into action. Focusing on the interaction among Constance Ledbelly, Desdemona, and Juliet, MacDonald exposes the position of women within a patriarchal order, deals with the subjects of sexuality and gender, and presents all these issues within the framework of a comedy. This paper thus aims, in a sense, to analyse Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) as a foil to Shakespeare’s plays Romeo and Juliet and Othello.