Essay on A Man's World

Essay on A Man's World

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Traditionally, men are recognized for their achievements and women recognized for their man’s achievements. Society has always given different roles to the two genders but with men receiving the position of authority almost every time. In King Richard III, Shakespeare publicizes this idea of male supremacy through his misogynistic and demeaning portrayal of women. Firstly, he introduces female characters in terms of their relation to important male figures and being noble solely because of these affiliations. Furthermore, he undermines women as mere objects for men to exploit for personal gains. Finally, he portrays women as being heavily dependent on their husbands and losing all their influence and nobility when their husbands pass away. By portraying women solely as extensions to noble male figures, Shakespeare effectively disempowers women in King Richard III and strengthens the social stigmas of women during the Elizabethan Era.
When Shakespeare introduces a female character in King Richard III, he often mentions their affiliations with an important male character. This takes away from what they represent as a character, undermining them as symbols of these men. For instance, when he introduces Lady Anne, she says in her soliloquy she’s “wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son” (1.2.10). Likewise, he introduces Queen Elizabeth as worrying over her husband’s sickness and Queen Margaret saying “Thou kill’dst my husband, Henry, in the Tower” (1.3.117). Here, as Madonne Miner explains, “…women must depend on men for identity”, meaning women are not ends but means of representing these men (Miner 51). In fact, when Richard decides to marry Lady Anne, he says he will “…marry Warwick’s youngest daughter” rather than sa...


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...ale relations. He portrays women, not as scheming and plotting, rather as being in the schemes and plots of others. Finally, he does not challenge the norms and beliefs of the Elizabethan Era, portraying women as reliant on their husbands. Women have been disempowered for most of history and this topic is prevalent in many works of Shakespeare. As he is famous for writing about themes that transcend time, one can only wonder whether the debate about the roles of men and women will ever be settled.



Works Cited

Miner, Madonne M. “‘Neither Mother, Wife, nor England’s Queen’: The Roles of

Women in Richard III.” William Shakespeare’s Richard III (Modern Critical

Interpretations). Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 45-60.


Shakespeare, William. King Richard III. Eds. Pat Baldwin and Tom Baldwin.

Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005.

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