The Roles of Women in Shakespeare's Works

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The Roles of Women in Shakespeare's Works

During Shakespeare's time there was a system which divided the people

- and the women - into different classes. Women from the classes were

also treated differently - from each other and from present time. The

population had two classes - the upper class and the lower class.

Upper class women were effectively property of their father or their

husband and they had no wealth of their own. On the other side of the

scale were the lower class that could actually "own" property and

wealth. One may state "Surely the lower class should be the upper as

they have personal assets?". However the class was given owing to the

fact the upper class women had a higher status in society.

Women are portrayed in countless talented roles and Shakespeare hints

at the roles of women behind the scenes. Each of the three leading

women characters is different. The wife and family mother is portrayed

by Lady Capulet - upper class. Shakespeare does not choose to promote

the upper classes in status. He demonstrates their ways as daft, he

shows them to be slothful with no respect for others and this is shown

by the two family's conflict which no one can seem to remember why

they are fighting. Romeo and Juliet said that they would give up their

names - ""and I'll no longer be a Capulet" - to be together. Giving up

the names were enthusiastic ideas of the pair, otherwise they would

have defended it by killing each other.

Lady Capulet is younger than her husband which was the norm in that

time and it is also probable that she married very young to Capulet.

From this we can understand that Lady Capulet would sympathise wit...

... middle of paper ...

...uliet, there would be no

violence. In the play she is owned by her father, Capulet, who

transfers ownership of her to Paris. Juliet says that she can love

Paris if her parents like - "I'll look to like" - and we can see this

is logical for her as she was safeguarded from males except the ones

in the family.

When we look at Romeo, we can see Shakespeare making the point that

men are usually to blame instead of the women. It's true that the men

in the two families started the war, not the women. Romeo falls in

love in with a younger girl who he has only just discovered;

thoughtlessly sleeps with Juliet (so she is now not a virgin and

cannot be married to Paris or any other 'gentleman'. Shakespeare

enforces this point by making the male characters seem idle and have

not much to do, and also brawl for the sake of it.
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