Gender Roles: Men and Women from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance Era Part 1

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What if women never established rights? The world would not be the place it is today if that was the case. Women are able to do just as much as men are and even more. What if men were treated the same way as women were one thousand years ago? They would have felt just as the women did, hurt because the treatment between men and women was unfair. The fact that men and women were not treated equally was wrong in many ways, but that was the way of life during those times. In the British culture, from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance time period, the men were respected on a higher level than women, and women were to always be subservient to men, which were demonstrated throughout many works of literature. During the Anglo-Saxon time period, women had rights, but they were limited. The Anglo-Saxon time period began in 449 and it lasted until 1066 (Leeming 10). In the later times of that era, research proves that women were able to inherit and maintain control of that property (Leeming 10). Even if the women got married, she still held control of her property, and not her husband (Leeming 10). Although, the men of this time were supposed to be in control at all times, they did not have any other choice in that particular situation. According to David Leeming, “A prospective husband had to offer a woman a substantial (called the morgengifu, the ‘morning gift’) of money and land" (Leeming 10). The woman would make a decision to keep, sell, or just give the gift away. There were not many opportunities that were offered to women during that time. Because of the limited amount of things women could actually do, they often joined religious groups (Leeming 10). Christianity was actually one way that women were offered opportunity (Leeming... ... middle of paper ... ... Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 1-16. Print. Leeming, David Adams. “The Middle Ages.” Element of Literature, Sixth Course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 72-88. Print. Main, C. F. “The Renaissance.” Element of Literature, Sixth Course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 192-212. Print. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Element of Literature, Sixth Course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 300-382. Print. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Element of Literature, Sixth Course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 161-172. Print. Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. "Do Women Need The Renaissance?" Gender & History 20.3 (2008): 539-557. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. Richmond, Macrae Hugh. "Women's Roles" Shakespeare's Theatre: A Dictionary Of His Stage Context (2004): 502-504. Literary Reference Center. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

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