Chaucer's view on women, demonstrated by the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” and the Wife’s belief that all women desire sovereignty, is welcomed by William Shakespeare but not achievable by Hamlet’s female protagonists, Gertrude and Ophelia. Chaucer’s view aren’t clearly stated but it can be interpreted that he respected the male social hierarchy. However, he liked women to show their beliefs and be able to gain their respect in society. In, Women in Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: Women as a Narrator, Women in the Narrative, written by Vladislava Vaněčková, Chaucer classifies women into their distinct social levels and claims to give them a chance to express their somewhat selfish beliefs so they can achieve happiness (4-5). Some women seek to mainly better themselves, while other women seek to better all women; demonstrating hardly known traits of a feminist (Vaněčková 5-6).
Women are the jewels of creation. They are seen today as the most beautiful treasure that a man feels the need to protect. However, back in the time period of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, women weren’t treated nor did they act the way they do today. Back then, women were “expected to assume a more passive role” (Bolon). This however was changed when Shakespeare decided to show that women could be different, especially in his Lady Macbeth play.
A product of their time: Sexual Equality in Much Ado about Nothing Written in a time of patriarchal societies, with a distinct hierarchy of sexes, it was no surprise that even the strongest willed women eventually conformed to the norms of the 16th century. Behind all the comedy, laughter and wordplay, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing began to explore the much more controversial topic of Sexual Equality in the Elizabethan Era. As we continue reading the comedy, we begin to see how the play sought to challenge and deafest the norms of gender roles through Shakespeare’s strategic selection of the female characters. In Beatrice, unlike her soft spoken and conformed cousin Hero, we find both the strong and independent push for sexual equality
Literary Essay: Macbeth The “strong independent woman” is an amalgamation of modern attitudes towards women. Feminist, outspoken, and sexually liberated, this entity breaks the “mother figure” stereotype usually attributed to women. Current society reinforces these unconventional notions, however this was not so in Shakespearian times. In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, most female characters are portrayed in “unstereotypical” ways. Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me speech” leads her to acquire male attributes throughout the play, Lady Macduff openly criticizes her husband for leaving, and minor characters such as “the sailor’s wife” are inhospitable and unaccommodating.
Her personality is strong and she is independent, unlike most women. This makes her unattractive to most suitors and gains her the label of shrew. She demonstrates her personality in the beginning of the play: "I pray you sir, is it your will to make a stale of me amongst these mates?" (1.1 57-58). Shakespeare uses the characterization of Kate to demonstrate the defiance against traditional gender roles and how Kate almost immediately speaks out for herself, unlike her sister Bianca.
They felt the reason for male superiority was because they built societ... ... middle of paper ... ...th century were put down and seen of as lesser then men. They didn’t get any fair chances and had control of absolutely nothing in their life. The roles of women ranged from mother to wife, and went not far beyond. There was no way to gain any independence. Despite, the inferiority of Mrs. Linde, she defied the stereotypical ideas of women of her time and learned to be prosperous on her own.
Challenging Gender Roles in English Society The age of Shakespeare was characterized by an overwhelming tendency for women to be looked down upon as the inferior gender. Women of the time were expected to be submissive, dutiful, obedient, and predominantly silent. The idea of an independent, out-spoken woman would have challenged all of the societal values of the time. Shakespeare, however, challenged the traditional patriarchal values of his time by introducing powerful and highly influential female characters in some of his most memorable plays. Lady Macbeth and her earlier counterpart, Volumnia, both serve pivotal roles as dominant and commanding mother figures and also challenge the traditional role of the dutiful wife.
One might assume that women were greatly respected because of Queen Elizabeth rule of England. Others can think that Shakespeare did not respect women because of how they were treated in Taming of the Shrew. In Shakespeare’s time, he wrote his plays to reflect the morals on how women were seen as lower-rank to men. He agrees with those beliefs by having women be obedient to their husbands. Some people believe that Shakespeare resented the morals towards women because the women were outspoken in their character roles.
Despite qualities women were expected to have in Shakespeare’s time, Lady Macbeth disregarded the manner in which most women of her time acted. During the Renaissance period, women had no status and relied on male figures for guidance and support (“Elizabethan Women”). Lady Macbeth challenges the role of women during Shakespeare’s time, as she is stronger, more vicious, and more ambitious than her husband. Shakespeare illustrates a contradictory characterization of Lady Macbeth in contrast to the subservient women of the Renaissance era, creating an intriguing relationship between her and Macbeth in their quest for power. Upon the introduction of the Macbeths in the play, it is apparent that they do not exemplify the conventional men and women of Shakespeare’s day (“Elizabethan Women”).
Hermia ... ... middle of paper ... ... to tell whether Shakespeare is promoting the objectification of women, or speaking out against it. However, even with the few moments of ambiguity, Shakespeare appears to be saying that women in his society have come a long ways since the time his play was set in. Queen Elizabeth is proof positive enough that women can be strong and need not be use as objects for men’s fancies. Shakespeare has proven himself as a progressive person throughout his plays and sonnets. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is another one of Shakespeare’s works that quietly calls for change.