Lady Macbeth’s disposition brings to the fore many themes concerning gender, including; the definition of manhood and alternatively femininity, the role of women in the play highlighted through the characters of Lady Macbeth and the Witches, and the synonymy between masculinity and cruelty. Through key scenes in Macbeth, particularly Act 1, Scene 5 (Norton), Lady Macbeth’s gender is explored as she indicates that she must compensate for her husbands lack of masculine characteristics and thus propel him to commit Duncan’s murder. Similarly, the ambiguity of the Witches gender is reiterated through their very own being- a violation of how women were expected to behave. Act 1, Scene 5 introduces the audience to Lady Macbeth’s indifference to the feminine qualities not only of herself, but also those of which her husband possesses. Lady Macbeth decidedly usurps the dominant role because she feels her husband “is too full o’ the milk of human kindness” (i.v.16).
A feminist theory approach might have one interpret “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” as a clarion to the sexual ambiguity in the text. As Marilyn French points out re: the witches, “They are female, but have beards,” in itself pointing to the gender ambiguity in the play. (91). French goes on to suggest deeper issues with regard to gender roles in a male dominated society when she notes of women, “They are aggressive and authoritative, but seem to have power only to create petty mischief.” This all seems to suggest that the witches represent members of a society, (read here: women) characterized as having no true power, and with a penchant for wrongdoing. Lady MacBeth’s wish to shed her sexual identity, as seen through the “unsex me here” line, stamps an even greater importance on the notion that traditional male qualities alone are of any
How far do you agree with the idea that Donne is a misogynist and Webster an early feminist? It can be argued that the poet John Donne is a misogynist and John Webster was an early feminist from parts of their work, although it can be interpreted in different ways. In ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ Webster has presented the Duchess as a very strong and independent woman. The Duchess is the main character in the play and Webster has done this to emphasise her importance and independence in the play. Here it can be argued that he is a feminist because he has made a woman the main character instead of the stereotypically strong and brave male as the main character.
Feminist Criticism on “The Awakening” Kate Chopin wrote “The Awakening”, to show people of the nineteenth century society and the future generations, how hard women struggled to overcome their conflicting emotions and the oppression of society’s tradition to become more than just personal property for men to control. Feminist criticism portrays women in literature as the most important forms of ‘socialization’. All throughout “The Awakening”, Kate Chopin shows examples of how women should and should not act in society, in their homes, and with their husbands. In Edna Pontellier’s adopted society, women are viewed more valuable when they conform into the mother-woman role. The mother-woman role is another form of men control, because it dictates how women should idolize their children, worship their husbands, and honor their isolated but inferior positions.
Question: How is a specific group portrayed in the Test? Written Task Two: Portrayal of Women in Hamlet Hamlet is a play filled with many themes and motifs. Shakespeare uses several different literary devices to portray those themes. One of the major themes in the play is the roles of women and how they are portrayed as mentally weak, unimportant and second class, as well as being held to a double standard. Shakespeare’s use of allusions and metaphors portray this throughout the play as a whole.
The women's part: Shakespeare's feminist leanings I'm going to start with some disclaimers about my thesis. My basic argument is that because of the influence of his female audience, patrons, and personal relationships with women, Shakespeare wrote female characters that were independent, intelligent, and strong. I will even go so far as to suggest he was a proto-feminist, since he recognized the worth of the female mind. I know there are some objections to this idea, which I will address here. As brought up by Chris Welcker in a comment to one of my previous posts, Shakespeare wasn't always respectful to women.
This shows how the women are suppose to please the men no matter how much gruesome pain the women go through, therefore making wives a sort of ‘sex slave’. Alice Walker’s overall message, that men and women get treated unequally, sticks out like a sore thumb. One way she shows this message is by showing how men were allowed to have multiple wives. For example, in the beginning when Tashi is reciting a
In 'Othello' and 'The Tempest' "women are portrayed as victims due to male characters determining social organization." Discuss. Social organization in its simplest definition is when people in a society are placed into a system organized by wealth,family background and profession. In shakespeare's plays othello and the tempest,social organization is presented through hierarchical position of characters based on gender and race. Women are placed as central characters in these plays,however they face oppression and, like in 'Othello', often end up as victims due to men determining what they decide is right as they hold superiority over their women.
Women in Hamlet “Hamlet sees Gertrude give way to Claudius, [and] Ophelia give way to Polonius…” (David Leverenz) Examine how Shakespeare treats the female characters/ explores the role of the woman in Hamlet and what the response of a modern audience might be to this aspect of the play. • “[Ophelia] is a play within a play, or a player trying to respond to several imperious directors at once. Everyone has used her: Polonius, to gain favour; Laertes, to belittle Hamlet; Claudius, to spy on Hamlet; Hamlet to express rage at Gertrude; and Hamlet again, to express his feigned madness with her as a decoy. She is valued only for the roles that further other people’s plots.” (David Leverenz) • “For most critics of Shakespeare, Ophelia has been an insignificant minor character in the play, touching in her weakness and madness but chiefly interesting, of course, in what she tells us about Hamlet.” (Elaine Showalter) • “We can imagine Hamlet’s story without Ophelia, but Ophelia literally has no story without Hamlet.” (Lee Edwards) • “Since the 1970s… we have had a feminist discourse which has offered a new perspective on Ophelia’s madness as protest and rebellion. For many feminist theorists, the madwoman is a heroine, a powerful figure who rebels against the family and the social order…” (Elaine Showalter) • “Gertrude, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, has traditionally been played as a sensual, deceitful woman.” (Rebecca Smith) • “…when one closely examines Gertrude’s actual speech and actions in an attempt to understand the character , one finds little that hints at hypocrisy, suppression, or uncontrolled passion and their implied complexity.” (Rebecca Smith) • “Gertrude appears in only ten of the twenty scenes that comprise the play; furthermore she speaks very little, having less dialogue than any other major character in Hamlet… she
In Pygmalion women play some of the most important roles. Eliza Doolittle, Mrs. Higgins and Mrs. Eynsford-Hill are very interesting strong women roles. In the play women are perceived as a lower class and as an audience we are exposed to the way women are treated differently in society very much so at the time the play was set for; 1914. In the play the audience views how men treat women differently and with this they are able to see the difference when shown through the roles of the women through the play. This is the point or message Shaw is trying to prove or show making the role of women very important.