[HOME] [Guideline] [Author] [College of Foreign Languages] [Fu Jen University]
In this paper, the drama Emilia Galotti by G.E. Lessing
is read from the feminist point of view which examines the evolving bourgeoisie
during the period of enlightenment and the shift of power from the absolute
ruler of his people to the father figure, the absolute ruler in the family.
In this drama both, the young heroin and her older ccounterpart, the Prince's
mistress who has fallen from grace, are subjected to an image-making of
woman that reduces them to mere functions for men in their struggle for
power, for obtaining pleasure, for enhancing their social image and political
Exhortations and admonitions written for young girls around the time when Lessing was writing his drama, are clearly mirrored in the lines of the young Emilia. In perfect submissiveness to her father and his idea of an ideal daughter, she finally begs for death from her father's hand. By executing the death-dealing stab with the dagger, the father invokes the old Roman right of a father's power over his daugthers's life. In killing Emilia Odoardo, the father, also means to hurt the Prince in his lasciviousness and thus to establish his own domestic power and political opposition to the Prince. At the end both, the father and the Prince, mourn their fate while the victim, the potential lover and jealously guarded daughter, seems strangely forgotten.