Despite being written during patriarchal Jacobean society, the protagonist is a female, which is was highly unusual in those days. Of course this protagonist is Lady Macbeth. Throughout the play, through Lady Macbeth's actions we are forced to believe that she is evil. In contrast, the novel John Steinbeck tells a story of dreams, hopes and loneliness. We are introduced to a majorly significant and complex character, named Curley’s wife.
During the time period in which Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, women were uneducated, they were forced to act submissively and never express their opinions. Shakespeare, by using several female characters, particularly the Three Witches with powerful roles, made a complete turnaround from the norm as he went against expectations for the time period. One of the first examples of this is in Act 1 Scene 3 when one of the witches reveals that she has been ‘killing swine’ this contradicts the way women should have behaved during the 1600s as they were perceived to be kind, caring creatures. This is one of the commonest charges brought against supposed witches in Shakespeare's day was that they maliciously killed by pestilence, or the evil eye, the domestic animals of those they had a grudge against. The fact that this is some of the first activity from the witches gives us an insight into the masculinity that the witches hold.
Lady Macbeth is the wife to the plays protagonist Macbeth. I would consider lady Macbeth as not being such a conventional Elizabethan woman being that women in this time where seen as weak and unable to control manly situations however lady Macbeth is shown to be strong and In control of Macbeth which was unheard of in Elizabethan times. An Elizabethan audience would react highly to the sight of a woman being in control of a man because it was seen to be not right to for a woman to be in control being that a man would normally be in control of a woman. The audience will be shocked an astonished by the way in which lady Macbeth acts. However a modern audience will not react as highly as an Elizabethan audience would, as now day’s people are more familiar to women being powerful of different places within society.
Though, when actually examined, the females portrayed in both literary works do show signs of bravery and rebellious spirit, which represents the actual mind of authors, they are still oppressed by the patriarchal society to a large extent. In Frankenstein, superficially, most female characters are portrayed as “heaven-sent” angels (Shelley, 34). The soul of them is like “a shrine-dedicated lamp” and they are “the living spirits of love to soften and attract” (38), which are fully consistent with the image of women in people’s minds in mainstream society in the 19th century (Sunstein, 4). Nonetheless, the weaknesses of them, which are used by the author to criticize the unfairness of the society, cannot be neglected. The two main female characters in Frankenstein: Caroline and Elizabeth are carefully analyzed in this essay, and from Frankenstein’s narration of them, we can see the author’s deep thinking and criticism about the unfairness of society.
Then the quote continues and states: “You will find them, [women] a set of harpies, absurd, treacherous, and deceitful—regardless of strong obligations, and mindful of slight injuries…” (86). The bluntness of this statement about women would not have come from a man seeking a wife during this time. The female villain of the novel, Mrs. Hammond exemplified these awful characteristics throughout the story. The author, Rebecca Rush was probably surrounded by women, during this time, willing to stop at nothing to secure their future. As the quote continues, “and when your integrity has been
However as both plays progress we begin to see that Nora and Mrs Arbuthnot are not like the stereotypical woman of this society when they begin to show courage and independence. Wilde has used the title of the play, ‘A Woman of No Importance’ to convey how woman were viewed in that society (which was second best to men.) This links nicely with Ibsen’s idea of calling his play ‘A Doll’s House’ and ‘doll’ being a metaphor for Nora and how she is treated by her husband. In ‘A Woman of No Importance’ the majority of the play is the unravelling of Mrs Arbuthnot’s big secret about her second life which presents woman to be highly secretive. In comparison, throughout ‘A Doll’s House’ we pick up hints that Nora is a secretive woman and later come to realise that like Mrs Arbuthnot she has being hiding a large and important secret from her loved ones, and that is that she has taking a secret loan out in her husband Helmer’s name which presents woman to be extremely devious.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets 127, 130, and 138 illustrate his love for a mysterious woman of abnormal beauty, expressing his unusual tendencies as writer and a lover. Shakespeare’s view of beauty is vastly different than that of many, as evident in Sonnet 127. The persona starts with the couplet “In the old age black was not counted fair, / or if it were, it was not beauty’s name” (1-2). At this time, “the archetype of beauty was the unretouched fair woman” (Vendler 540). Women with a dark complexion existed at this time, but were not considered by the majority of people to be beautiful.
Throughout the plot, she transforms from a courageous woman, to a rash murderer, and finally leading to a guilt-driven suicide. Strong-minded, fearless, and intellectually powerful are just a few of the terms that can be used to describe Lady Macbeth at the beginning. She was the mastermind behind the killing of Duncan, which led to the downfall of Macbeth as well. Her cunning plan to end the king’s life was nearly flawless; she had planned how to frame someone else for the deed and composed the perfect alibi. This plan triggers understanding of her intellectual level, which is far higher than where the other characters of the play expect her to be.
Because of this digression from the norms of society, Lady Macbeth stands apart from the other women of her society. For example, Lady Macduff, who is portrayed to be Lady Macbeth’s foil, represents a good example of a woman who abides to society’s expectations of being a proper maternal figure. When Macduff leaves Lady Macduff to England without notifying her, she cries “To