(Essay intro) In the modern day, women have the luxury of belonging to themselves but unfortunately this was not always the case. During his life, William Shakespeare created many positive female characters who defied the traditional gender roles and brought attention to the misogynistic patriarchy of Elizabethan England. One of these true feminist icons is ‘Much Ado about Nothing’s. Beatrice. The women in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ defy traditional gender roles. Beatrice represents a brave and outspoken woman who defies the oppressive, traditional gender roles for the female sex. Her cousin Hero, however, represents those women who were successfully oppressed by the patriarchy and accepted the traditional gender roles without much complaint. The Elizabethan society in which Shakespeare lived during his life held a misogynistic ideology in high esteem. ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ was written in 1598-9, during a time when women were second class citizens compared to males and were considered to be inferior to males in every way. As soon as she was born, a female was her father's property until she was married off by her family when she then became her husband's property. A woman was expected to be seen and not heard, she was to be chaste and submissive. Women were uneducated and undervalued, they were not their own person. This misogynistic attitude is present in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. In the play, Messina is presented as being a positive and cheerful community and the woman appear to have freedom, however those misogynistic attitudes of the time period are still demonstrated. When Leonato tells his daughter, Hero, “daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.” Don Pedro is b... ... middle of paper ... ... of defiance are different but they do both show some forms of defiance of the traditional gender roles. Shakespeare was clearly ahead of his time with his view of women. He likely drew inspiration for his female characters from Elizabeth I, the English monarch at the time. Like Beatrice, Elizabeth I was a strong and very independent woman, she was the sole ruler of England during her reign as she never married. Elizabeth I was a strong ruler, defying the traditional gender roles for women, which Shakespeare would have drawn from for his characters. Shakespeare's works were fictional so even though he portrayed women in a positive way, society wished to oppress women and portray the kind of independence that Beatrice shows as being a negative thing. Shakespeare used his characters as a subtle way of empowering women by casting strong women in a positive light.
...ould merely be because of the Italian value of loyalty to the family before all, however, it is more probable that Beatrice was stuck in a situation which offered her no way out. In the 1950s, women are to marry, give birth to children, and be homemakers, and there was very little opportunity for women to succeed in a working environment as men were considered to be superior in this area. Beatrice thus would not be able to live her own life without Eddie, even if she had considered leaving him. This shows that women back then may have been deprived of a social stature that would allow them to live in their own free will. Arthur Miller has thus brought the aspect of women and femininity in the Red Hook community in the 1950s to light in A View from the Bridge, providing a thinking point for all readers alike, especially compared to today’s roles of women in society.
Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. In the Elizabethan era, women were viewed as inferiors and faced sexist problems. Women were only seen as property for men to dominate and critique. William Shakespeare presents an overview of women’s social conditions in the play, “Othello.” The tragedy explores issues for women in society such as confidential marriages, adultery, and the social status of the women. The two main lady characters Desdemona and Emilia undergo predicaments that justify sexism in Othello. Desdemona is subservient and Emilia is ambivalent of the story. Desdemona is the devoted wife of Othello, despite the fact that he is of another descent which is frowned upon during
Imagine a world where women were completely subservient to men. Imagine what it would be like to live in a society where women were home-schooled, and not allowed to attend any type of university. What would today’s society be like if women lawyers, doctors, actors, and military soldiers were nonexistent? It would be a modern day version of the Elizabethan era in England. This was a time period where women had little rights, but the dramatic arts flourished due to Queen Elizabeth’s appreciation for them. It was during this time period that literary genius William Shakespeare wrote his many plays including The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Living in this time period caused him to look at women in a somewhat submissive way and portray them as so.
Shakespeare illustrates the injustices done to women by demonstrating the treatment Desdemona and Emilia received after having been framed of adultery. Because both women are though of cheating on their husbands, they no longer fit in society’s model of an exemplary wife. Despite having proved their affection for their husbands countless of times, not having a pure image led to Iago and Othello mistreating of the women they once loved. Once both women began to stand up for themselves and challenge the authority of their husbands, the repercussions of their bravery were both women’s death. Which shows, women’s only source of authority was their reputation as a wife. Once they lost that status, they no longer held any form or respect in society or with their husband’s.
Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing is, on the surface, a typical romantic comedy with a love-plot that ends in reconciliation and marriage. This surface level conformity to the conventions of the genre, however, conceals a deeper difference that sets Much Ado apart. Unlike Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, Much Ado about Nothing does not mask class divisions by incorporating them into an idealized community. Instead of concealing or obscuring the problem of social status, the play brings it up explicitly through a minor but important character, Margaret, Hero’s “waiting gentlewoman.” Shakespeare suggests that Margaret is an embodiment of the realistic nature of social class. Despite her ambition, she is unable to move up in hierarchy due to her identity as a maid. Her status, foiling Hero’s rich, protected upbringing, reveals that characters in the play, as well as global citizens, are ultimately oppressed by social relations and social norms despite any ambition to get out.
Being a women in Shakespeare’s time seems as if it is nothing to be proud of. Women were treated poorly, almost like second class citizens. William Shakespeare did give women a bit of a voice and shed a new light on them through his plays. He showed that women could be strong, smart, and even showed that they could be violent and cruel. This would be a huge contrast to the quiet subordinate women he was used to seeing. Shakespeare contrasted the type of women he knew to the type of women he thought the world would never see.
...These characters all show traits of wittiness, determination and strength. The traits Queen Elizabeth expressed as she ruled England, a single woman taking on a man’s job. Shakespeare included these characters in his play because he knew the Queen would enjoy seeing characters that portrayed her; it showed a sign a respect towards her. The Queen supported the theatre and Shakespeare in his work. Shakespeare thanks her by giving her females characters leads in his play with characteristics of her reflected in them. Queen Elizabeth ruled throughout Shakespeare’s life so it would influence him in his writings. She showed him through her rulings that she was a feminist. She did whatever it took to get what she wanted and to rule her country, she showed fierceness and compassion. Shakespeare took these characteristics and portrayed them in his female characters.
William Shakespeare quotes, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." in Hamlet. During the Elizabethan era women were considered weak and had no say in their life. They could not have a profession except being a young mothers, and being ruled around by their fathers or their husbands. In the play Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare, a feminist, idealizes women in many different roles. There are two main females in the play, Hero and Beatrice, who are complete opposites of each other, and their servants who play a minor role are Ursula and Margaret.
Society in the16th century was highly structured. Women of the upper class were expected to be trophies for their husbands. The men were required to hunt, lead, and go into battle. If one chose not to follow these dictates, the rest of society would question, look down on, or even punish the deviant. The prominent author, William Shakespeare, placed this subject into comedy and tragedy plays with dramatically different outcomes. In Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare makes fun of stereotypical gender roles by establishing Beatrice and Lady Macbeth as the dominant characters over Benedick and Macbeth through imagery, dialogue, and character personalities.
The theme for honour and fidelity apply for both men and women in Shakespeare’s play ‘much ado about nothing’. Honour and fidelity is represented very differently for men and women as it would have been for the people in Elizabethan times. In this first section of the essay, I will be exploring double standards and Shakespeare’s awareness of the double standards between sexes and his feminist approach, the differences of honour and fidelity for men and women and upper class and lower class comparisons.
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare focuses on the enormous gap between the power of men and where women stand. Women were expected to be obedient and dependent on men, innocent, and were also expected to be good wives. Shakespeare wanted women to see how the roles are changing for the better. In this play, there is difference between the traditional roles of women back then, and the ones that stand out from the rest. He depicts this through two characters. In the opening scene, where characters and their personalities, and roles are established; Hero has only one line, which is seven words. Even said that, these lines are just a comment on Beatrice. Hero is the daughter and the property of her father, Leonato. Her helplessness comes from her being overprotected by her father, and the need to obey him. Beatrice, by contrast, does not have a father, she lives on her witty personality and her intelligence. Beatrice has a dream to spend her life “where the bachelors sit, and there live we, as merry as the day is long” (2.1.40-46) When Leonato tells Hero, “Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer,” (2.1.60-63) she just stands there, silently obeying her father. Hero’s looks are her only advantage as a women, as they are what attracts Claudio. He falls in love with her at first sight in the first act, based only on her appearance.
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest provides dialogue that portrays the social expectations and stereotypes imposed upon women in Elizabethan times. Even though the play has only one primary female character, Miranda, the play also includes another women; Sycorax, although she does not play as large a roll. During many scenes, the play illustrates the characteristics that represent the ideal woman within Elizabethan society. These characteristics support the fact that men considered women as a mere object that they had the luxury of owning and were nowhere near equal to them. Feminists can interpret the play as a depiction of the sexist treatment of women and would disagree with many of the characteristics and expectations that make Miranda the ideal woman. From this perspective, The Tempest can be used to objectify the common expectations and treatment of women within the 16th and 17th Centuries and compare and contrast to those of today.
William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer of all time as well as the greatest dramatist. Shakespeare lived in Stratford-on-Avon and he dedicated most of his life to writing plays and poems. Shakespeare’s plays are well known and they have many of the same reoccurring and similar, underlying themes. One very interesting thing about Shakespeare is the way he approaches the women characters in his plays and how he treats them. In the Shakespearian plays, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Tempest, King Lear, Much Ado about Nothing, Othello, and A Midsummers Night Dream, the women characters are treated very similar, but also differently as well.
The play Othello is presented as a male-dominated society where women are only recognized as property; objects to own and to bear children. Women in the Elizabethan society and in Shakespeare society were not seen as equal to men and were expected to be loyal to their husbands, be respectful, and to not go against their husbands judgements or actions. Shakespeare presents Desdemona, Emilia , and Bianca as women in the Elizabethan time where they were judged based on their class, mortality, and intelligence. Shakespeare makes his female characters act the way they would be expected to act in an Elizabethan society. The role of these women in Othello is crucial because they show how women were treated and how unhealthy their relationships between men really were in both Elizabethan and Shakespeare's society.