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.
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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