Essay about Gender Roles in Shakespeare's Works

Essay about Gender Roles in Shakespeare's Works

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The well known and greatly respected, William Shakespeare has written an abundant amount of controversial, thought provoking, and needless to say, captivating plays within his time. His plays were centralized around love, the idea of being in love, and the consequences that may follow. With this being said, many of his plays were easily relatable and at various times his audience saw a mirror image of themselves on stage, which made the experience interactive and psychologically stimulating. In the majority of his plays, the woman in power was never blinded by love, instead, she always seemed to have men at her feet and used them to her advantage. On the contrary, women who were foolishly in love happened to be docile and had little to no power or control of their lives. Is this pattern a coincidence? One can say that Shakespeare was nothing but a mere example of an individual whose writing was influenced by his time. In his era he witnessed the reign of Queen Elizabeth who was the head of state and the most powerful person in England during the 16th century. 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? Shakespeare incorporated and focused on women who fit the traditional gender role in society and women who opposed their role in a patriarchal society.
Women in the Early Modern Elizabethan Age we...


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...rce: Estranging the Renaissance. Ed. Marjorie Garber. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987. 90-121.

Dash, Irene G. Women's Worlds in Shakespeare's Plays. Newark, DE: University of Delaware, 1997. Print.

Linda Bamber, Comic Women, Tragic Men, Stanford Univ. Press., Stanford, 1982

Tennenhouse, Leonard. Power of Display: The politics of Shakespeare's genres.

Camden, Carroll. The Elizabethan Woman. Houston [Tex.: Elsevier, 1952. Print.

Howard, Judith A. "Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories, And: Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge (review)." NWSA Journal 14.2 (2002): 192-95. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.

Wiesner, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1993. Print.

Tassi, Marguerite A. Women and Revenge in Shakespeare: Gender, Genre, and Ethics. Selinsgrove [Pa.: Susquehanna UP, 2011. Print.

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