Wrote a memoir, Towazugatari "An Unasked-For
Tale", The Confessions of Lady Nijo).
The Towazugatari begins in 1271, when Nijo, aged
14, is given by her father to Go-Fukakusa as a
Her father died when she was 15, and her
relationship with the emperor was strained from
the beginning, because she took several other
lovers over the years, including one whom she knew
before becoming a concubine. Matters were
complicated further by Nijo's pregnancies: the
only child she bore to Go-Fukakusa died in
infancy, and the other three children she had were
not by the emperor.
Nijo was expelled from the court in 1283.
Nijo then became a Buddhist nun. She traveled to
saсred and historical places, returning to the
Dull Gret –Dulle Griet, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c1564)
With a soldier's breastplate fixed over her dress, hair streaming
from under her helmet, face etched and dry, she runs across a
landscape at the mouth of hell, with a long, lethal sword in one hand
and baskets and bundles of modest loot - food, iron, pots and pans -
in the other.
Around this central mythic figure - perhaps a personification of a
Flemish proverb, "She could plunder in front of hell and remain
unscathed" - the world is consumed by fire and war. People have
become monsters: a man with his arse above his head, a barrel with
a human face. Dulle Griet charges through them unperturbed at the
mouth of hell, which is personified as a scaly , leviathan face
mutating out of a hill, its toothy jaws crammed with
grotesque, tragic sinners.
Above, the sky blazes red; hell and earth are merging. Behind Dulle
Griet to the right, a mob of women are beating the damned, while
soldiers seem timid in comparison. The women, knocking the mutants
out of their way and defying the army, are looting houses and
ransacking the ruined land.
Armies pillaged Europe routinely in the 16th and 17th centuries; it
was an acknowledged way for soldiers to be "paid". In this
painting, the army is beaten at its own game by tough peasant
women. Their leader Dulle Griet is an anti-hero, energetic and
courageous, the tragicomic spirit of survival.
Medieval religious leader
Her existence has been dismissed by the church as purely a myth.
Still others point to evidence in documents and artwork that indicates
a woman once held the highest position in the church.
It is thought that she grew up in Mainz, Germany, and studied Greek
and Latin at a monastery founded by English missionaries.
At the time, girls were not educated so Pope Joan may have disguised
herself as a boy in order to pursue her studies. She allegedly fell in
love with a monk and went with him to Athens disguised as a fellow
monk. Assuming the name John Anglicus, she later moved to Rome. A
talented scribe, she worked as a papal notary and rose up the ranks
within the Vatican, eventually becoming a cardinal.
Elected pontiff around 855, Pope Joan supposedly reigned as Pope
According to the stories, her secret was uncovered during a papal
procession. Pregnant at the time, Pope Joan was on her way to the
Church of the Lateran in Rome when she began having contractions.
Learning that the pope was having a baby, the people reacted in
horror. Most reports indicate that she was killed that day, either by
stoning or by being dragged behind a horse.
Later popes avoided the crossroads where Pope Joan was supposedly
killed, which was called the Vicus Papissa, or street of the female
Patient Griselda – The Canterbury Tales: Chaucer
The Clerk’s Prologue and Tale
The Host asks the Clerk to cheer up and tell a
merry tale, and the Clerk agrees to tell a tale by
the Italian poet Petrarch. Griselda is a
hardworking peasant who marries into the
aristocracy. Her husband tests her fortitude in
several ways, including pretending to kill her
children and divorcing her. He punishes her one
final time by forcing her to prepare for his
wedding to a new wife. She does all this
dutifully, her husband tells her that she has
always been and will always be his wife (the
divorce was a fraud), and they live happily ever
Act One is simply a comic
means of engaging the
The fact that women over the
centuries have many of the
same concerns implies the
universality of Marlene’s
Act One sets up the idea that
in order to be successful, a
woman must behave like a man.
Act One only confuses the
How successful do you find Act One as an opening and why?
Write a response to this question of no more than 500 words using
your ideas from the activities you have completed