Female Sexuality In Cymbeline English Literature Essay

Both Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night ‘s DreamA ( AMND ) A are both set in a patriarchal environment where both genders grapple for control. Valerie Traub defines the differentiation between gender sex and gender behaviour as “ Sexual activity refers to the. . . biological differentiations between male and female organic structures. Gender refers to those significances derived from the division of male and female. . . the properties considered appropriate to each: ‘masculine ‘ and ‘feminine. ‘ ” A A Patriarchy indirectly opposes this beginning of the significance with male leaders chairing their control with their ain male qualities. However, this thought needed a austere control over the ascription of suited behaviour for each sex, meaning that gendered significances “ exist chiefly as buildings of peculiar societies. “ A One show of this control contained in both dramas is the orderly agreement of female gender, a categorization distinguished from the sexual features of linking explicitly to “ titillating desires and activities. “ A Margreta de Grazia claimed “ nil threatens a patriarchal and hierarchal societal formation more than a promiscuous uterus, ” A and pivotally, both dramas examine the supposed hazard of unrestrained female desire. Besides, the sexual relationships bing in theA SonnetsA appear to subvertA A stereotyped gender thoughts founded in the initial verse forms. A position held inA CymbelineA by both Posthumus and the male monarch was that the appealing neutrality of the speaker’sA master-mistress inquiries the thought that male and female qualities function as oppposites. Within each drama, the being of a foreign “ otherness ” can be seen as a another effort to oppugn the widely considered premises that societies are ruled by patriarchs.A A A A It is within the combination of these challenges to gender stereotypes, we can happen repeating subjects of reproduction, forgiveness and hermaphroditism throughout each alone text.A A This suggests Shakespeare ‘s deliberate purpose to dispute and retrace the conventions of gender relations.A

Within the gap scenes in both Cymbeline andA AMSNDA a patriarchal context is created by the scene of the authoritive tribunals of the governing work forces and establishes the patriarchal stereotype of Renaissance literature.A A A In AMSND, Egeus ‘ high quality over Hermia is highlighted by his elaborate cognition of Lysander ‘s romantic gestures and with his continued belief that “ she is mine. “ A A He claims that by being supported by the opinion powers, he can claim that her refusal to obey him would ensue in decease as is set in “ the ancient privilege of Athinais ” through his perennial insisting that “ she is mine. ” This is confirmed by Theseus but he besides offers an alternate penalty where she must:

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. . . be in fly-by-night religious residence meow ‘d,

To populate a waste sister all your life

Chanting swoon anthem to the cold fruitless Moon.

Thrice blessed they that maestro so their blood,

To undergo such inaugural pilgrim’s journey

( AMSNDA 1.1.71-5 )

A Theseus indirectly goes against his ain sexual thrust with a pilgrim’s journey that ascribes to the female “ inaugural ” but the male high quality over the blood needed to fulfill the terminal, reflects the males power to uphold female celibacy, which controls the right to reproduce.A A His claim that nuns are “ thrice blessed ” gives grounds of the importance ofA A spiritual backup to support his determination, which reflects the impact of spiritual rule on back uping a patriarchal society.

Regardless of the portraiture of the Athenian patriarchate in the beginning of the drama, Shakespeare creates more tense state of affairss where those values are challenged.A A While Hermia ‘s beauty is credited to her male parent, it does non happen to him that possibly siss sever stringency may be the cause of his “ obstinate abrasiveness ” .A A And when Hermia asks if merely “ my male parent looked but with my eyes ” , A A Theseus responds by rearranging her words “ Rather your eyes must with his opinion expression ” .A A This exchange of points of position signifies the extent that Hermias will and want is surpressed by patriarchal rule.A A Her desire is treated as insubordinate feminine emotion that must be controlled by masculine ground, which is summed up in the quotation mark “ suit your illusions to your male parents will ” .

While Athenian Law proclaims masculine values, fairyland in many respects dispenses with patriarchal norms, and alternatively suggests that “ Titania is an independent sovereign with her ain tribunal. . . [ that is ] non subservient, to her hubby ‘s. “ A In contrast to Theseus, Titania is fleet to take control of her ain matrimonial gender, uncovering to her faeries in the presence of Oberon that she has “ forsworn his bed and company ” ( DreamA 2.1.62 ) . Yet despite the faery sovereign ‘ unfastened relationship, it is Oberon entirely who is accused of sexual conquering, with Titania observing pointedly his playing “ pipes of maize. . . / To amative Phillida ” ( DreamA 2.1.67-8 ) . In contrast, Titania is non challenged for indulging her lecherousnesss, but is alternatively accused of enabling Theseus to indulge his ain with Ariadne and Antiopa.

Peter Holland interprets the drama ‘s Moon imagination as stand foring Diana ‘s transmutation from “ the goddess of the ‘cold fruitless Moon ‘ . . . into the goddess of married celibacy, ” A a transmutation enacted through the disintegration of the effects of Cupid ‘s flower by Dian ‘s bud, and in bend, mirroring Hermia and Helena ‘s transition toward chaste matrimony and maternity. However, Titania ‘s enraged Moon figuratively enacts Theseus ‘ earlier fright of an unmanageable muliebrity, a reading emphasized in productions such as that by Peter Brook ( 1970 ) which cast the same histrions in the functions of Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania to propose “ pent-up emotional turbulency ” in the Athenian relationship.

Some critics argue that the function of male loverA constitutes “ a ‘feminized ‘ place in so far as it separates work forces from. . . military chases, ” 11A and so Helena sees their behaviour as desiring maleness, declaring that, “ If you were work forces, as work forces you are in show, / You would non utilize a soft lady so ” ( DreamA 3.2.152-3 ) . In contrast, others hold that the consequence of the drug exaggerates the “ normal male pattern. . . of faithlessness that is ironically displaced from its conventional topographic point as an property of adult females. “ 12A This sarcasm emphasizes a dual criterion in patriarchal political orientation ; while Theseus, in the gap scene, threatens Hermia for wanting the incorrect adult male, he offers schooling to Demetrius for his broken vows to Helena. In bend, the drug appears to breed masculine traits in Titania, with her insisting that Bottom “ shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no ” ( AMSNDA 3.1.135 ) repeating Theseus ‘ earlier effort to command Hermia ‘s evildoing. However, if an indirect consequence of the drug is to transform Helena ‘s soft evocation of school-day company into the vindictive claim that Hermia “ was a harpy when she went to school ” ( AMSNDA 3.2.325 ) , so her earlier claim that the friends are “ with two looking organic structures but one bosom ” ( AMSNDA 3.2.213 ) reaffirms a female affinity present under normal fortunes. That such affinity is negotiated in different footings for the male characters is established early through Theseus ‘ direction to Egeus and Demetrius that, “ I have some private schooling for you both ” ( AMSNDA 1.1.116 ) , corroborating that even under patriarchate there remains a masculine hierarchy.

Although bothA AMSNDA andA CymbelineA commence in the tribunals of governing work forces to set up the patriarchal context of subsequent action, A Cymbeline ‘s opening scene presents a more expressed illustration of female evildoing. While Hermia is threatened with captivity for wanting the incorrect adult male, Innogen is already imprisoned for continuing with a forbiddenA matrimony. Furthermore, while Hermia relies on Lysander to oppugn Theseus ‘ logical thinking, Innogen herself interrogates her male parent ‘s edict, reasoning that, “ It is your mistake that I have loved Posthumus: / You bred him as my playmate. “ A Cymbeline ‘s response is to asseverate alternate familial ties by keening that she “ mightst have had the exclusive boy of my queen! ” ( Cym. 1.1.139 ) , and reveals a farther issue that she “ took’st a mendicant ; wouldst have made my throne / A place for sordidness ” ( Cym. 1.1.142-3 ) . The class-based disapprobation of Posthumus combines with the sexual inflexion of “ sordidness ” to uncover Cymbeline ‘s concern with royal line of descent. However, he negates Innogen ‘s ability to reproduce by take a firm standing that she “ languish / A bead of blood a twenty-four hours ; and. . . / Die of this foolishness ” ( Cym. 1.1.157-9 ) . While the blood beads may typify diminishing birthrate, they besides suggest the lineage that Cymbeline is eager to maintain-emphasized through his earlier claim that Innogen is “ toxicant to my blood ” ( Cym. 1.1.129 ) . By imprisoning his girl, Cymbeline sabotages his ain line of descent, a concern implicit in Innogen ‘s supplication: “ Harm non yourself with your annoyance ” ( Cym. 1.1.135 ) . In more general footings, the struggle illustrates figuratively how patriarchal control can be as compressing to work forces as to adult females.

The attendant grade of control which Innogen retains over Cymbeline ‘s line of descent is mirrored by the perceptual experience in the universe of the drama that she herself defines her hubby ‘s character. During the gap duologue, a courtier asserts that Posthumus ‘ virtuousness “ [ by ] her election may be genuinely read ” ( Cym. 1.1.54 ) . The penetration foreshadows that which Giacomo astutely exploits to sabotage Posthumus ‘ maleness, asseverating to Philario and the Frenchman that by “ get marrieding his male monarch ‘s girl. . . / [ Posthumus ] must be weighed instead by her value than his ain ” ( Cym. 1.4.11-12 ) . Posthumus seems cognizant of this generalA A perceptual experience of his unstable maleness, beging Innogen on their separation:

“ O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause To be suspected of more tenderness Than doth go a man. ” ( Cym. 1.1.94-6 )

Although the gap ofA CymbelineA establishes versions of female evildoing, the assorted secret plan lines throughout the balance of the drama are chiefly concerned with “ the convalescence of male power over the female. “ 14A Posthumus ‘ bet on Innogen ‘s celibacy stems partly from insecure maleness, and during the progressively fraught exchange with Giacomo, he insists, “ She holds her virtuousness still, and I my head ” ( Cym. 1.4.61 ) . The word “ still ” relates to her uninterrupted virtuousness, but besides to stableness, and conveys Posthumus ‘ demand forA Innogen to possess a steady muliebrity against which he can safely mensurate his ain masculine “ head. ” However, because he doubts his ain maleness, he hence doubts her virtuousness, and as a effect, is more susceptible to the belief that she has been unfaithful than that her watchband has been lost or stolen ( Cym. 2.4.123-5 ) . The ferocious monologue which follows is seen by Janet Adelman to encapsulate the drama ‘s “ anxiousnesss about male individuality and female power to specify the male, ” A and associates both subjects with “ the female parent ‘s capacity to undo the boy ‘s individuality through her sexual mistake. “ A This “ mistake ” is finally conceived as engagement in reproduction, and in a address which echoes Cymbeline ‘s concerns about Innogen ‘s influence over his royal line of descent, Posthumus admirations, “ Is there no manner for work forces to be, but adult females / Must be half-workers? ” ( Cym. 2.4.1-2 ) . Furthermore, Posthumus ‘ contemplation upon maleness reveals an equivocation of duty and self-recognition that is necessary to all manifestations of misogynism:

. . . there ‘s no gesture That tends to frailty in adult male, but I affirm It is the adult female ‘s portion: be it lying, note it, The adult female ‘s ; flattering, hers ; lead oning, hers ; Lust and rank ideas, hers, hers. . .

All mistakes that may be named, nay, that snake pit knows, Why, hers, in portion or all ; but instead, all

( Cym. 2.5.20-8 )

While Posthumus presupposes an essentialism refering fixed gender properties, he besides laments that such properties are an ineluctable portion of being male, given the too bad necessity of female engagement in reproduction. Overall, the drama reveals the round logical thinking implicit in patriarchal political orientation, viz. theA a prioriA premise that negative properties are basically feminine, irrespective of the sex of the individual representing those character traits. The jubilation of androgyny nowadays in theA SonnetsA can be read as a response to this false belief.

Both Posthumus and Cymbeline fail in the class of the drama to turn to the patriarchal false belief of fixed gender properties. It is suiting that Posthumus, who wishes to be rid of the feminine infection of his character, is for most of the drama incapable of right construing his ain married woman ‘s character, whom Giacomo right esteems as “ whiter than the sheets ” ( Cym.A 2.2.16 ) . Similarly, while Innogen recognizes the Queen ‘s “ [ vitamin D ] issembling courtesy ” ( Cym. 1.1.85 ) , Cymbeline himself appears about wholly swearing of his married woman, larning merely after her decease that she abhorred his individual ( Cym. 5.6.40 ) . The male monarch ‘s journey through the drama is to “ larn to distrust-and hence to divide himself from-his married woman, ” A and while her decease engenders the convalescence of his masculine control, it is besides enacted figuratively through reunion with his boies. Janet Adelman argues that the two princes “ are an experiment in male parthenogeny, a part of Cymbeline ‘s ain maleness split away and preserved from the contamination of adult females. “ A Yet despite this “ contamination, ” Cymbeline frames himself, non as a male parent, but as a female parent, inquiring “ am I / A female parent to the birth of three? ” ( Cym. 5.6.369-1 ) . Having received verification from Belarius that the princes are “ blood of your begetting ” ( Cym. 5.6.332 ) , Cymbeline regains from Innogen full control over his line of descent, stating her she “ hast lost by this a land ” ( Cym. 5.6.373-4 ) . However, her unconscious choler is expressed through violent imagination in his guiltless observation that:

. . . she, like harmless lightning, throws her oculus

On him, her brother, me, her maestro, hitting

Each object with a joy.

( Cym. 5.6.395-7 )

As with the gap scenes ofA DreamA andA Cymbeline, the gap sonnets ( 1-19 ) set up patriarchal orthodoxies which are disrupted in the ulterior sonnets of the sequence. In one sense, “ [ what ] ‘ought to be ‘ in the manner of gender dealingss. . . is represented [ here ] as an ideal. “ A The talker in these early sonnets encourages the young person to continue his beauty through matrimony and reproduction, take a firm standing “ your sweet gloss to some other give, ” A and that through heterosexual matrimony “ sire and kid and happy female parent, / . . . one delighting note do sing ” ( Son. 8.11-12 ) . Furthermore, the talker ‘s averment that the young person “ art thy female parent ‘s glass ” ( Son. 3.9 ) contrasts with Theseus ‘ patriarchal position that Egeus entirely composed Hermia ‘s A beauties, and in bend, celebrates in physical signifier the “ adult female ‘s portion ” lamented by Posthumus. However, Sonnet 3 conveys elusive misogynism as the talker criticizes the young person ‘s looking reluctance to reproduce:

Thou dost beguile the universe, unbless some female parent.

For where is she so just whose uneared uterus

Disdains the cultivated land of thy farming?

( Son. 3.4-6 )

The deduction that “ adult female ” is synonymous with “ female parent ” leaves adult females without kids alienated from their biological sex, while connoting a metonymic nexus between “ adult female ” and “ uterus ” suggests a position of adult females as merely a beginning of kids, capable to the “ cultivated land ” of work forces. Furthermore, although dental initial rhyme in the phrase “ Disdains the cultivated land ” conveys the disgust of the conjectural just adult female who rejects the young person, it besides suggests the contempt of the talker for such a adult female, clashing with the soft consonants of lines 5 and 7. The phrase besides contains an reverberation of “ discoloration ” and “ loot, ” proposing the menace of implemented intercourse and possibly connoting a moral jussive mood for adult females to go female parents. The deduction that any adult female would make for the immature adult male ‘s undertaking seals the talker ‘s objectification of adult females.

At best, the misogynism of the early sonnets might be read as the talker ‘s petroleum effort to convey to the young person a homoerotic desire through ambivalency towards female gender. Sonnet 20 is frequently read as an look of the talker ‘s homosexualism, with the predating sonnets organizing a narration in which “ homosocial desire alterations by grades into homosexual desire. “ A However, in footings of the representation of gendered dealingss in the sequence, the verse form besides explores the slippery interplay between sex and gender:

A adult female ‘s face with nature ‘s ain manus painted

Hast 1000, the master-mistress of my passion ;

A adult female ‘s soft bosom, but non acquainted

With switching alteration as is false adult females ‘s manner

( Son. 20.1-4 )

Enjambment between lines 3-4 enacts the “ shifting alteration ” the talker considers an indispensable property of adult females, repeating the patriarchal frights of faithlessness expressed inA Dream. Similarly, the continuant phrase “ false adult females ‘s manner ” forcefully labels all adult females fallacious, repeating Posthumus ‘ essentialist frights. However, the talker ‘s belief that the young person possesses a “ adult female ‘s face ” and “ soft bosom ” relies upon the transference of purportedly fixed feminine qualities. His elusory hermaphroditism is encapsulated in the talker ‘s phrase “ maestro kept woman, ” and in bend, is conveyed officially through feminine stoping and slant rime ( “ a-doting ” / “ nil ” ( Son. 20.10, 12 ) ) . Yet despite the talker ‘s attractive force to the young person ‘s muliebrity, he insists that the young person retains masculine control over these traits, depicting him as “ A adult male in chromaticity all ‘hues ‘ in his controlling ” ( Son. 20.7 ) . Overall, the sonnet suggests that the talker is both attracted to and troubled by the young person ‘s hermaphroditism, and possibly in bend, suggests the trouble for work forces in reacting to the aforesaid round logical thinking at the bosom of patriarchate.

While merely one of many nonliteral schemes in theA Sonnets, hermaphroditism, in one sense, symbolizes the talker ‘s struggle between the masculine and the feminine, a struggle which is mirrored by the scope of competitions described in the sequence. Throughout Sonnets 79-86, the talker meditates upon a rival poet ‘s claim for the young person ‘s fondnesss. However, he reverses the gendered outlook for a contentious male challenger by praising the poet in phallic, masculine footings, claiming, “ I am a worthless boat, / He of tall edifice and of goodish pride ” ( Son. 80.11-12 ) , while professing his ain feminine response to the young person: “ I faint when I of you do compose ” ( Son. 80.1 ) . Later, while reflecting on his “ mature ideas, ” he likens composing to reproduction as he compares his ain encephalon to “ the uterus wherein they grew? ” ( Son. 86.3-4 ) . A farther competition is A addressed refering the young person ‘s relationship with the talker ‘s kept woman. The gap quatrain of Sonnet 144 reveals:

Two loves I have, of comfort and desperation,

Which like two liquors do propose me still:

The better angel is a adult male right just,

The worser spirit a adult female coloured ailment

( Son. 144.1-4 )

Although the talker asserts that the young person is the “ better angel, ” the sentence structure suggests balanced resistance. The simile in line 2 invites a nonliteral reading of the young person and the kept woman as bodying the “ liquors ” of maleness and muliebrity. However, the talker ‘s fright that “ my angel be turned fiend ” ( Son. 144.9 ) suggests gender fluidness, while gendered outlooks are reversed by comparing “ his pureness with her disgusting pride ” ( Son. 144.8 ) . Overall, the competitions described in theA SonnetsA between the talker and the topics of his verse form possibly mirror the relationship between masculine and feminine properties within the talker himself: “ two liquors do propose me. ” Furthermore, while the talker recognizes tenseness between these assorted properties, his embracing of the feminine facet of his ain character is in pronounced contrast to both Posthumus ‘ explicit disgust after similar contemplation and Cymbeline ‘s nonliteral convalescence of masculine control.

Many critics argue that her darkness should be understood figuratively as offering a unfavorable judgment of Petrarchan love sonnets-poetry, which in the procedure of idealising the invariably “ just ” female topic, serves merely to “ dehumanise [ them ] and

constitute [ s ] an inexplicit rejection of the imperfect organic structures of existent adult females. “ A In Sonnet 130, the talker asserts that, “ If snow be white, why so her chests are dun ; / If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her caput ” ( Son. 130.3-4 ) . Comparing “ white ” with “ snow ” underlines how all tegument tones are “ dun ” in comparing, while comparing all hair to “ wires ” detaches the inkiness of the kept woman ‘ hair from racial meaning. An alternate nonliteral reading interprets the kept woman ‘ darkness as meaning moral degeneration.

While it is possible to read the darkness of the kept woman in theA SonnetsA as wholly nonliteral, critics have argued that, in the universe ofA Dream, “ Athenian patriarchal constructions. . . are established in inexplicit resistance to [ the ] apparition of female and racial distinctness. “ A This resistance is established by the exchange between Theseus and Hippolyta which opens the drama, in which the Amazonian queen responds to the Duke ‘s restlessness with the declining Moon with a address that is frequently performed as an lament for lost freedom:

Four darks will rapidly woolgather away the clip ; And so the Moon, like to a silver bow New-bent in Eden, shall lay eyes on the dark Of our sedatenesss.

( AMSND 1.1.8-11 )

A Hippolyta ‘s nonliteral linking of the Moon with her former place as reigning Amazonian bowman establishes the significance of the Moon as the symbolic apparition of boisterous muliebrity, foreign in both an astronomical sense, and in the sense of an allusion to a universe beyond the stenosiss of patriarchate. Theseus is fleet to disregard all intimations of melancholy, take a firm standing that this “ pale comrade is non for our gaudery ” ( AMSNDA 1.1.15 ) , yet implicitly he refers here to the Moon, whose “ bow ” he counters with his ain evocation of force, reminding Hippolyta that “ I woo ‘d thee with my blade, / And won thy love, making thee hurts ” ( AMSNDA 1.1.16-7 ) .A A A Trying to convert Helena of his sudden love, Lysander draws upon the symbolic resistance between white and black nowadays in theA Sonnets, inquiring “ Who will non alter a Corvus corax for a dove? ” ( AMSNDA 2.2.120 ) . However, his rhetoric is fleetly literalized into racial slurs, naming the now hated Hermia, “ Ethiope ” and “ tawny Cream of tartar ” ( AMSNDA 3.2.258, 264 ) . It remains for Titania to repossess foreign muliebrity in her description of her pregnant votaress, dish the dirting together “ in the spiced Indian air by dark ” ( AMSNDA 2.1.124 ) -an familiarity in blunt contrast to the racism and force enacted by the Athenian work forces.

A While bothA AMSNDA and theA SonnetsA set up affinity between muliebrity and the foreign, Jodi Mikalachki argues that the antonym is the instance forA Cymbeline, where “ [ n [ ationally inflected gender anxiousness haunts the play, emerging peculiarly in competitions over Roman-British dealingss. “ A This anxiousness is manifest in studies to Giacomo by the Frenchman, who tells how he and Posthumus each “ fell in congratulations of our state kept womans ” ( Cym. 1.4.54 ) . The metonymic association between adult females and their state of beginning is affirmed by Innogen, when during Giacomo ‘s tall narrative of Posthumus ‘ fraudulence, she reflects, “ My Godhead, I fear, / Has forgot Britain ” ( Cym. 1.6.112-3 ) . While it might be alluring to read this association as reflecting patriarchal phantasies of conquering and control, it is the Queen herself who delivers the famed and ardent chauvinistic address to Lucius refering Caesar ‘s failed invasion, mocking how his ships, “ Like egg-shells moved upon their rushs, cracked / As easy ‘gainst our stones ” ( Cym. 3.1.28-29 ) . Nevertheless, Mikalachki underlines the patriarchal privilege, detecting that, “ respectable patriotism depends in portion on respectable muliebrity, ” A and Cymbeline finally blames his married woman ‘s fraudulence for his rued cancellation of Britain ‘s testimonial to Rome, claiming, “ We were dissuaded by our wicked queen ” ( Cym. 5.6.462-3 ) .

A The gap scenes in bothA AMSNDA andA CymbelineA present patriarchal societies in which both male and female characters negotiate masculine control. The premise that each sex conforms to its apposite gendered class is transformed under patriarchate into an expressed force per unit area to make so. While both Hermia and Innogen express monogamous desire, male authorization responds to their perceived evildoing with the menace of captivity as an effort to command female gender and take their right to reproduce. For Cymbeline and Posthumus, this urge is an look of their fright of taint by muliebrity, andA CymbelineA has been read to ordain “ the convalescence of male power over the female ” .A A AlthoughA AMSNDA concludes with the assimilation of three female characters into conventional matrimony bonds, the imagination of the Moon and foreign muliebrity “ suggests that a subliminal discourse on female gender pervades Shakespeare ‘s text, ” A touching to a kingdom beyond the bounds of Athenian patriarchate. While the misogyny nowadays in theA SonnetsA remains steadfastly within such bounds, the representation of transgressive gender is used to research the blending of masculine and feminine gender qualities into an tempting hermaphroditism. This signifier of hermaphroditism, while disenabling to Posthumus, is present inA Dream ‘s fantasy world, and characterizes the effects of Oberon ‘s drug upon the immature Athenian lovers. It is this really quality of the young person that the talker of theA SonnetsA attempts to carry him to commemorate throughA reproduction, a procedure he likens to his ain immortalization of the young person in poetry. Overall, the representation of gendered dealingss in each text suggests that destabilising gender outlooks could be emancipating for the full scope of human relationships.

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