In the epic poem of “Beowulf,” Grendel’s mother is portrayed as a strong, evil-fighting woman. Yet, with the superiority of men, women are also looked down upon and withheld from several rights of passages and freedoms. In Puritan times, women were regarded as only being useful for their domestic abilities and child-bearing capabilities. As time moves forward, several outstanding women have worked to gain their own rights and fight for equality with men. A crucial part of each women’s rights movement is the first-hand perspective from a female poet or author.
Goddesses, such as Aphrodite or Venus, the Virgin Mary, Nature; these women are central figures in the beginning of the Anno Domini era, through medieval literature, all the way to present day. In medieval times, ‘everyday’ women in the literature are even described by their beauty. Women who have the strong, driving roles in works of this time period impart wisdom, kindness, the feeling that although men were the superior gender, the women are still the ones who bring life to this world and make this life worth living. In the writing’s of Boethius, Alan de Lille, and Chaucer, there are three women whose beauty and physical characteristics are central in the understanding of their personalities and the works themselves. The women are that of Lady Philosophy, Nature, and the White Queen.
Although both the perspectives of Cixous and Gilbert/Gubar are evident within the text, ultimately it is the friendship of the two women that prevails and is deemed most important. This prevailing celebration of womanhood in all of its dualistic and mysterious aspects is exactly what Cixous pushes women writers to attempt. First there is the presence of the old stereotypical woman character, a woman split between the conventional and nontraditional roles of women. No differences are apparent initially between Morrison's Sula and any other women's literature in the past. Women are depicted either as docile servants to men, like Nel, or ball-busting feminist monsters like Sula.
In medieval literature, the role of women often represents many familiar traits and characteristics which present societies still preserve. Beauty, attractiveness, and grace almost completely exemplify the attributes of powerful women in both present and past narratives. European medieval prose often separates the characteristics of women into two distinct roles in society. Women can be portrayed as the greatest gift to mankind, revealing everything that is good, pure, and beautiful in a woman's life. On the other side of the coin, many women are compared to everything that is evil and harmful, creating a witch-like or temptress quality for the character.
I believe that each and every woman possesses the qualities like ‘the empowered woman’ in Carroll’s poem. Through my essay, I’d like to show how females in both the plays, during the adversities and extremities of time, evolve into empowered women. I believe that the idea of female empowerment, through these characters, inspires fellow women to make names for themselves rather than being labeled or controlled by men. Over the centuries, writers have used literature to show the societal status and the mind sets of the people in their era. ‘Antigone’, a Greek tragedy, and ‘A Doll’s House’, a highly controversial drama, inhibit the same thematic approach, depicting the oppression and submissiveness of women in male-dominated society and how they overcome their obstacles with firm will, inspiring millions of audiences from then till now.
It could be argued that one of the most important powers of women is that of controlling men with their trivial problems and needs. Perhaps Pope was demonstrating women's skill in controlling men by simply playing the part of the vain shallow debutant. Whatever his intentions were it is clear that Alexander Pope did not in fact find the women of his time to be completely powerless, instead they were the driving forces of the household and of society. Works Cited "The Rape of the Lock." The Norton Anthology of English Literature.
Many would argue that Shakespeare depicted the condition of women within a patriarchal system and created female characters, which in their richness transcend the limitations of his time. Shapiro, for example, goes so far as to claim that Shakespeare was 'the noblest feminist of them all.' Though Shakespeare pays more attention to the roles that men play in society and many of the female characters are constricted in their experiences. They do not have the same ability to be as fully human as the men. They do not learn by their experiences, except Paulina who is eventually chastised and pa... ... middle of paper ... ...sion.
These characters really don't speak well for womankind for two reasons. First of all, it's difficult to tell who their real life counterpart is, assuming that this... ... middle of paper ... ...st writers. It's obvious that Atwood intentionally set herself apart from these writers with The Handmaid's Tale. At times, she seems to disagree with them completely, such as when she shows pornography in a favorable manner. At other times, she portrays feminists themselves as the powerful women they would like to be seen as, but it's always with full disclosure of their human frailty.
The Roman people see Cleopatra as threatening primarily because of her beauty and open sexuality. Enobarbus captures the essence of Cleopatra in his proclamation in Act II.ii.236-241: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety: other wome... ... middle of paper ... ...ip is heaped onto Octavia, a minor female character. This shows that women were not held in as high regard as men in their time. Heloise holds tight to the Old Testament views of femininity where women are under the authority of men. These beliefs are in turn the ones that show through in the text.
Arcite also loves Emelye and ridicules Palamon's thoughts about Emelye being a goddess, he states, "Though woost nat yet now / Wheiter she be a womman or goddesse"(1156-1157). When Arcite falls in... ... middle of paper ... ...e and foolish people can act while in love; this is something that many stories try to teach their readers. Finally, somehow, Chaucer may have been reaching out to women with The Wife of Bath's Tale, although some believe she is used as an anti-feminist tool, perhaps Chaucer's point was to have that woman teach other women the positives of being in control. No matter what message these women bring, Chaucer clearly appreciates their importance not only to his readers, but also to his tales. Works Cited Brown, Peter.