Female figures such as Lady Mary Wroth and Elizabeth Cary could not attend university, but their families hired tutors early on in order to provide an education. With regard to her father and brother, the two direct ruling male forces in her life, Ophelia is also very much a victim.
As a result she becomes mad. The emphasis on marriage, especially for women, was important because it repressed lust and reinforced the nuclear family.
Within these two hierarchies, women in general faced severe limitations. In passionate disbelief and anger, she draws a knife on the messenger and strikes him with her bare hands. In the later tragedy, Othello, it can also be argued that the tragedy occurs from adherence to patriarchal rules and stereotypes.
However, when she is married she slips into the role of the submissive wife. They were also not aloud to go to the theater and or act on the stage. You are the lord of my duty, I am hitherto your daughter.
Cleopatra thus forces her access into the male arena, where Ophelia and Desdemona do not - and cannot of course, in the same way, for in her status as a middle aged woman and Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra naturally has more freedom.
My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty. English Literature Books Shakespeare, it is claimed by many modern critics, was a feminist.
Cleopatra, unlike Othello and Ophelia, is the dominating force of the play in terms of theme and also her personal presence. Although Antony occasionally lapses into judging himself by the standards of the patriarchy - for example, towards the end of the play dejected and shamed by his diminished political power, he becomes jealous and irrational and claims that Cleopatra has emasculated him: Her reaction when she feels herself wronged is in very stark contrast to the reactions of Ophelia and Desdemona.
Ophelia, the dominated daughter, is completely dependent. Having a husband as the head of a household meant that women and children fell under their protection and guardianship. This is certainly a convincing argument, for Othello all-too-easily accepts a stereotypical view of his wife based on the authority of a male voice.
And I of ladies, most deject and wretched That sucked honey of his music vowsDespite the fact that a single woman ruled England at the time of William Shakespeare, the Elizabethan society was patriarchal.
Women were considered the weaker sex and in need always of being. - Women in Elizabethan England and Shakespeare's Miranda in The Tempest Treatment of women has evolved much since Elizabethan England. As a preface to the dissection of The Tempest – in particular, the character of Miranda, Shakespeare’s role for women as a whole must be addressed.
Certain types of female characters often resurface in Shakespeare’s plays, telling us a great deal about his view of women and their status in Shakespeare's time.
The Bawdy Woman These characters are sexualized, cheeky and flirtatious.
How does Shakespeare treat women in his plays? Does he treat them as thoughtful, deep characters -- like he does with many men?
Why are so few of his lead protagonists women? In this essay I will explore chiefly Shakespeare's treatment of the three heroine's Ophelia, Desdemona and Cleopatra, of the tragedies Hamlet, Othello and Antony and Cleopatra, beginning with an exploration of Shakespeare's representation of the effects of a patriarchal system upon the characters.
An actress and Shakespeare expert, Packer has just published a new book - Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays. It looks at the way Shakespeare developed his female characters, and how his own views of women changed over time.Download