Slave to Man

1120 Words5 Pages
Sonnet 143 by William Shakespeare creates a patriarchal ideology constructing gender and women’s role in society supported by feminist criticism, which implements patriarchal woman, traditional gender roles, biological essentialism, othering, and sexage. By forcing women to be seen as biological creatures and/or insignificant objects with specific characteristics, a social construction is made. Instantly the typical patriarchal woman in traditional gender roles of “housewife” and “mother” is cast upon the main character in Sonnet 143. She has “internalized the norms and values of patriarchy, which can be defined, in short, as any culture that privileges men” (Tyson 85). The dark lady/mother is given the task to stay home and care for her child. She is shown as a nice wife who “runs to catch / One of her feathered creatures broke away,” taking care to watch the family bird or chicken while she “Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch” (Shakespeare 143.1-3). She is given the task to chase after a bird, which seems to be in their house, showcasing she must be poor and in a lower class, making the impression that while the man is away, she is less privileged and must stay home with the child in untidy conditions. Furthering this scene is the fact that she is described as the sole caregiver to the child. “Traditional gender roles cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive; they cast women as emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing and submissive” which are seen in the relationships and characters of Sonnet 143 (Tyson 85). The speaker or child tries to gain attention from his mother or the dark lady. He wishes she would “play the mother’s part, kiss me, be kind” (Shakespeare 143.12). The child is acting as a d... ... middle of paper ... ...ats women, whatever their role, like objects” (Tyson 91). She is nothing of value, besides pleasuring the young man; she is not even fit to be a successful mother. So the mother, who is seen as biologically the better nurturer, is therefore a bad caregiver since she has other duties that come before that of her child. Overall, the woman is showcased as obviously living a less-fulfilling life as the man, she is forced to take care of the child, abide to the speaker’s cries, and chase after the “feathered creature,” all in poor conditions, whiles the man has patriarchal control (Shakespeare 143.2). When seen as the dark lady she is nothing be a sex object, fulfilling his desires and pleasures. The speaker already has the education to write the poetry. Using his schooling, he illustrates that even though the woman holds his desire, he has power over her actions.
Open Document