- Paster, Gail Kern. "'In the spirit of men there is no blood':
- Blood as Trope of Gender in Julius Caesar." Shakespeare
Quarterly 40 (1989): 284-298.
Thesis: Here's the first paragraph:
What follows is intended to further two projects of historical
reconstruction of the early-modern period: the first involves writing
the body into cultural history; the second, deciphering the complex
annotation of gender difference in apparently unambiguously gendered
characters. In this essay these two projects come together through an
interrogation of Shakespeare's use of the bodily signs of blood and
bleeding, particularly in Julius Caesar. At certain discursive
occasions in the play, these signs function as historically specific
attributes of gender, as important tropes of patriarchal discourse.
The meaning of blood and bleeding becomes part of an insistent
rhetoric of bodily conduct in which the bleeding body signifies as a
shameful token of uncontrol, as a failure of physical self-mastery
particularly associated with woman. (284)
After reading this far, I surmised that Paster was going to claim
that every mention of blood or bleeding was really a hidden reference
to menstruation. Also, by very lightly skimming the rest of the
article, I found that a great deal of it is not about Julius
Caesar, but about critical theory and other
critics. And so I quit reading.
Bottom Line: Bloody jargon.