The androgyny of an angel : death as liberator in George Sand's Gabriel

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anna Maria Cancelli (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/

Abstract: George Sand’s play Gabriel illuminates the view that gender is both constructed and essential. Sand’s eponymous heroine was born an aristocratic female but is raised as a Renaissance prince in conjunction with the wishes of her despotic and paternalistic grandfather, Prince Bramante. Under the guise of doing what is politically appropriate to adhere to the laws of primogeniture, Bramante, via a preceptor, educates Gabriel in a traditional male fashion, introduces her to masculine forms of recreation and inculcates within her the belief that she is male. However, Gabriel’s physical sex is revealed to her in a dream. After she acknowledges that biologically she is female, she performs as both a man and a woman and can be codified as an androgyne. It is no coincidence that Sand’s dramatic heroine takes her name from the angel Gabriel. I argue that Gabriel’s androgynous nature is equivocal to the androgyny of angels and sublimates her to a cherubic status. As an androgyne, Gabriel cannot exist within her milieu autonomously. As an ethereal being, she is not at home in the physical world and must return to the heavens. Gabriel must embrace death as the liberating vehicle which will remove her from an isolated, liminal state and take her to a realm wherein she will be met with acceptance and exist harmoniously and autonomously.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Sand George 1804-1876 George Sand's Gabriel--Criticism and interpretation
Subjects
Sand, George, 1804-1876. George Sand's Gabriel -- Criticism and interpretation