The Evolution of Women Essay

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The Evolution of Female Characters The relationships between many characters and their parents in William Shakespeare’s plays seem to be very difficult and under a lot of pressure. The relationship between women and men, specifically a father-daughter relationship, creates complex female characters throughout Shakespeare’s plays. The female characters are all constrained by their fathers, alive or dead. This causes an evolution of daughters across the plays. Hero’s innocence is a product of the power her father has over her in Much Ado About Nothing. Juliet rebels against her father and suffers for it in Romeo and Juliet. In contrast, Portia and Jessica have opposite relationships with their fathers, both becoming prosperous in The Merchant of Venice. What do these women characters become through the relationships they have with their fathers? For Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, her father’s control shapes who she is. Hero has a very good relationship with her father, but she still is his little girl. When Hero is called out for slander, her father, Leonato, is suddenly enraged. He cared about what was in his best interest: Strike at thy life. Grieved I I had but one? Chid I for that at frugal Nature's frame? O, one too much by thee! Why had I one? Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes? Why had I not with charitable hand Took up a beggar's issue at my gates, Who, smirchèd thus, and mired with infamy, I might have said, ‘No part of it is mine; This shame derives itself from unknown loins.’ (4.1.126-134) He automatically jumps to a conclusion and believes Claudio’s accusations; he is ashamed that Hero is related to him. Leonato is very quick to believe others over his own daughter’s words. He is very interested in what the situation reflects upon him, not Hero. He is the controlling factor that influences Hero’s decisions. It is her
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