Women as Authroity Figures in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Richard III by William Shakespeare

Women as Authroity Figures in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Richard III by William Shakespeare

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One cannot escape one’s fate. The theme of fate and freewill is central to William Shakespeare’s play Richard III, in which Richard III battles with the two in his quest for the crown. Richard seeks to escape his fate as a deformed and unfinished hunchback by using what little power he has to gain more power and respect. Although Richard thinks that he is acting on his own free will, fate still controls him throughout his journey. In addition, Richard’s fate is expressed in the form of a curse that Margaret delivers as punishment for his crimes against her and her family. Even though everyone sees Margaret as an irrational person, her curses against Richard and several other people end up coming true. Although Richard’s fate comes true, free will is still seen throughout the play, namely in the struggle of conscience.

The idea of women holding authority was unheard of in ancient times and more recently in Colonial America up through the mid twentieth century. It has always been thought that men are superior to women and that women are not strong enough physically and mentally to hold any true authority. For instance, women did not receive the right to vote in the United States until 1920; the first female senator wasn’t appointed until late 1922. In Chinua Achebe’s novel Thing Fall Apart, however, women do hold authority and some even hold more authority than men. Achebe describes how in the Ibo culture women hold the main positions in Ibo religion as priestess and Oracle and that even the strongest man in the Ibo village and the main character of the novel, Okonkwo, must obey the commands of these women.
To hold authority is to possess power, and when one has power over a person or people he or she is generally feared. In t...


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...reward them with plentiful harvests.
Throughout Things Fall Apart, Achebe shows that without women the Ibo village and culture would not be able to function properly. Women, in Ibo culture, are the caretakers that keep the Ibo village and its people functional and content. Without women in the Ibo village the villagers and clan members would have no one to go to when seeking advice, plentiful harvests, or when trying to settle a dispute. Women also hold these types of positions in other major religions throughout the world. For example, in Hinduism Sri Lakshmi is the epitome of everything good and prosperous in the world; in ancient Roman culture Ceres was the goddess of agriculture. Therefore, without women to grant the everyday necessities of life (i.e. crops) and to provide spiritual guidance to those seeking it modern day life would not be able to function.

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