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The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies

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Length: 1710 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)
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The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies

In Shakespeare’s tragedies and his plays in general, we can come across several types of female characters. Their influence with other characters and their purpose or role, often underestimated like women themselves, will be this essay’s main subject.
Women in Shakespearean plays have always had important roles, sometimes even the leading role. Whether they create the main conflicts and base of the plays, or bring up interesting moral and cultural questions, they have always been put in challenging situations. Some women are stronger than others, and their effect on the play is different for each one. They often even surpass the male heroes. It’s almost unbelieveable, if we take into consideration the status of women, of course with its discrimination and cruel conditions, in Shakespeare’s days - sixteenth century Elizabethan England. But there could have been many reasons, why he gave his characters such qualities. It could have been the Queen Elizabeth I. on the throne, or a certain influence of his marriage with older woman. Some modern critics claim, he was a feminist, or on the contrary it is historically incorrect, because we shouldn’t forget that he wrote maily for a male entertainment. Particulary in his comedies we frequently see a woman take on the strongest character, while often in his tragedies he has a male play the isolated tragic hero.
It’s highly necessary to know the context to fully understand it. The ...


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It is evident the women’s role in Shakespeare’s tragedy is unlike his comedy. In comedies the women are empowered, that means they are mostly strong, independent, and capable, despite the male-dominant society of Elizabethan England. But in fact, women who were gifted and imaginative were not given the chance to develop their skills to become better in their craft. are often depicted as meek, obedient, and vapid creatures who stand behind their husbands. Their biggest role is usually one as wife or sister, hardly ever straying to be different. And that reflects exactly on Shakespearean tragic female characters, along with all difficulties, struggle and despair.

Unfortunately, some of these characters survived not only in drama...

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