The Perfect Women of As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing Rosalind and Beatrice, the principal female characters of Shakespeare's As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing respectively, are the epitome of Shakespeare's ideal woman. From these two characters, we can see personality traits and characteristics of what Shakespeare might have considered the perfect woman. Rosalind and Beatrice are characterized by their beauty, integrity, strength of character, intelligence, gaiety, seriousness, and warmth. Shakespeare used Rosalind and Beatrice to portray his belief that the ideal woman is a woman of beauty. In the play As You Like It, poems were written to Rosalind by her lover Orlando praising her beauty and fairness.
However, in other aspects it appears to be more of a praise towards him, meticulously alluding to countless amounts of Shakespeare’s works. Angela Carter uses Wise Children as her invitation for her own feminist criticism as well as paying homage by tempting the reader into comparing herself and Shakespeare, to hold them in the same high regard. Angela Carter’s work could be described as radical, original, surreal, and has also incorporated elements into her novels that create a Shakespearean presence among them. Wise Children, manages to coalesce allusions and imagery towards Shakespeare’s plays, almost as an homage to the writer. The most comprehensive allusion perhaps being the book itself, which is structured with five chapters, an allusion to Shakespeare’s five act plays, accompanied with a Dramatis Personae at the end of her novel.
Throughout the play so far, Cleopatra has been presented as a very confident woman who adores playing numerous tricks with Antony. By Shakespeare creating the sense that Cleopatra controls Antony through her witty actions and words, it re-enforces her role in the novel as an independent, slightly deceitful woman. (1.1.14) 'If it be love indeed, tell me how much', this displays Cleopatra's clear determination in wanting to know how she is thought of by Antony. Shakespeare presents Cleopatra like this to prove that both her image and personality are very important to her because she is so desperate to know what Antonys opinion of her is. Here, Shakespeare's presentation of Cleopatra highlights her unique female qualities in a way that represents women throughout the play and Cleopatra as an individual.
She questions the long accepted opinion that Rosalind is the heroine not only in As You Like It, but is the epitome of all of Shakespeare's comic heroines (94). Calvo gives equal accolades to Celia and her important friendship with Rosalind and to Celia's initiative, decision and capacity for action"(95). She explores the diminishing of Celia in order to elevate Rosalind to mythical proportions in both feminist and non-feminist criticism (95). In Calvo's words, " the interest aroused by the figure of Rosalind has tended to eclipse the importance of other characters"(92). Calvo concentrates on the friendship between Rosalind and Celia ... ... middle of paper ... ...hers of English Studies 56 (1991 Sept): 5 - 11.
The Character of Portia in Merchant of Venice In his Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wants the reader to admire Portia, arguably the most powerful character in the play. However, it is easy to mistake the word ‘admiration’ to mean simply a liking of someone’s positive virtues. Rather, we should like Portia because of those things that make her a multi-faceted character. Though she can appear to be an “unlessoned girl,” she is also conniving, manipulative, and powerful. Three examples that effectively show her prowess and as a result win our admiration of her occur during the casket, the trial, and the ring scenes.
In many of Shakespeare's plays, he creates female characters that are presented to be clearly inferior to men. The one female, Shakespearean character that is most like Portia would be Beatrice, from Much Ado about Nothing. Both of the women are known for their wit and intelligence. Beatrice is able to defend her views in any situation, as does Portia. Shakespeare gives each of them a sense of power by giving their minds the ability to change words around, use multiple meanings and answer wisely to the men surrounding them.
As You Like It is love: The Language of Love The most obvious concern of As You Like It is love, and particularly the attitudes and the language appropriate to young romantic love. This is obvious from the relationships between Orlando and Rosalind, Silvius and Phoebe, Touchstone and Audrey, and Celia and Oliver. The action of the play moves back and forth among these couples, inviting us to compare the different styles and to recognize from those comparisons some important facts about young love. Here the role of Rosalind is decisive. Rosalind is Shakespeare's greatest and most vibrant comic female role.
Katherine of Aragon - Tragic Heroine of Henry VIII Among the bevy of female characters to grace the Shakespearean stage, Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII is perhaps the most enigmatic. Despite the range of possibilities in other female roles-such as Cordelia and Desdemona, in whom one certainly finds desirable traits-Katherine stands out as a tragic heroine: a secure, strong-willed woman who is articulate, passionate, charismatic, and altruistic. The unique qualities of Katherine are achieved through Shakespeare's careful accretion of rhetorical devices in her speeches. Interestingly, however, the paucity of critical attention given to Katherine's language suggests that many scholars have relegated this great lady to secondary importance in the grand scheme of the play. With Act II, Scene 4-the hall at Blackfriars-- Shakespeare provides the most complete rendering of Katherine as a dynamic character.
Along with Mary Tudor and Mary Stuart who were strong, independent, and feared by their people. Additionally, Shakespeare never failed to include women who were viewed as sexual creatures. Therefore, the concept of femininity can be debated. His readers might have wondered what exactly made a feminine woman feminine and how was Shakespeare able to determine this? Also, was Shakespeare influenced by the women in the Elizabethan Age and if so, did he foreshadow the rise of women?
She was a true 16th century woman. Works Cited Amussen, Susan. "The Family and the Household" in A Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. David Kastan.