Lucia Di Lammermoor: A Feminist Analysis Of

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In this study, we will be examining Gaetano Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto opera Lucia Di Lammermoor and its treatment of the title character’s mental disorder, from a feminist perspective. Lucia’s madness is hinted at multiple times during the unfolding of the story and as the dramatic tension rises, but it has fully developed by the time when, in the midst of the wedding celebrations in Act III, Raimondo appears and tells the assembled guests that Lucia has murdered her bridegroom, Arturo. Lucia’s emblematic “mad scene” follows the announcement, as she enters the stage looking disheveled and unstable. Audiences have traditionally viewed ‘madwomen’ in Opera with an equal mixture of fascination and disregard, thus leading composers to …show more content…
Narrative stories of forbidden love and its consequences are hardly scarce in the European literary tradition, but what is particularly interesting about this work, is that Lucy is deafeningly silent throughout the novel. Even though the story was named after her, and the central axis of the narrative is her wish to be with Edgar, Lucy is subject to her mother’s manipulations and her father’s politics and ambitions. Despite her noble birth, Lucy’s agency and ability to affect change is extremely limited, and Scott’s portrayal of her as a silent heroine points exactly to her inescapable inability to act. The first, and last, positive action that Lucy takes is the stabbing of her new husband near the end of the novel. Even though Francis is not mortally wounded by the stabbing, Lucy’s attack on the day of her wedding and amidst the guests that her family has invited is a direct attack both to her parents’ authority and to the patriarchal notions that she was forced to live by. In lack of feminist terminology, and decades before any idea of gender equality was widely disseminated in Scotland, Lucy’s positive action is translated to madness and therefore becomes less threatening to mainstream

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