The Role of Women within Shakespeare

Essay by -BAABY- April 2007

download word file, 1 pages 2.0

Who would know better than William Shakespeare to start about a revolution within society? By simply taking the average woman's way of life and making it even more so important, Shakespeare dramatically changed how a woman's role in a community was perceived. This was the start of a new beginning for women everywhere. Shakespeare had given the female race a new level of importance that would carry on for years - even to this day.

The roles of women in the 16th and 17th centuries were not particularly important or cared for. Women were neither employed nor had much freedom, and to do so would mean requesting admittance from a male figure of authority. All political power was given to men, and all decisions within a society or even in a household were determined by the men in charge. Men were always in positions of power and stature, which in turn, over-shadowed the purpose of women, seeing as women were looked at as unequal.

Women were expected to take care of the household and raise the family. Their only expectations were to cook, clean, and work with textiles. Most women had very little education, and those who did were extremely wealthy. It is made evident that a woman wasn't respected as much as they are now, especially before Shakespeare helped elevate them and their roles in life.

In his works, Shakespeare managed to elevate women by giving them parts that either determined the outcome of the play, or substantially affect it. This is made true in all of his comedies, especially in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Twelfth Night", as well as in some of his tragedies, such as "Romeo and Juliet" (for obvious reasons) and "Antony and Cleopatra".