In Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), how does Constance use Desdemona and Juliet for the alchemical process of turning “ base metals into gold”? Discuss with specific references to the...

In Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), how does Constance use Desdemona and Juliet for the alchemical process of turning “ base metals into gold”? Discuss with specific references to the play.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Macdonald constructs Constance in a manner whereby her sense of modernity is able to turn "base metals into gold" regarding her interactions with Desdemona and Juliet.  Constance is able to use a sense of social alchemy in transforming both characters into something more than they are.  Constance is able to effectively persuade both women that insecurity and doubt are not reasons to automatically embrace tragedy.  Consciousness becomes a force within which these elements are intrinsic to being.  Through convincing both women of this, Constance is able to turn "base metals into gold," by making both women become more than they appear within the pages of Shakespearean text.  The gold pen that Constance sees at the end of the narrative is representative of the thought process that she has been able to compose and embody in her interactions with both women, and this becomes the alchemical process by which she is able to make something more than what is.  The base metals of both women's characters and their myopic way of viewing being the world is transformed into gold when Constance is able to make both women understand more about themselves and their world.  In this fusion between feminism and modernism, a process of understanding and depth is reached.  This becomes alchemy in enabling characters previously seen as static to become fluid.

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