Female Power In Richard III And The Duchess Of Mali

1945 Words8 Pages
Throughout the Renaissance, marginalised groups of society were often neglected in favour of the elite, which mostly consisted of rich white men. For the most part, men resided over their wives and were the dominant members of the household and consequently, society. Society expected women to be completely devoted towards their husbands and children; a role often discerned in Shakespeare’s plays and many others during the Renaissance era. It can be argued that this calibre of misogyny is reflected in the texts of the era and is a paramount explanation as to why women were often “punished” for their decisions, explaining the ending to The Duchess of Malfi. If women’s husband were to die, they certainly must not remarry and instead remain celibate. This attitude is reflected in The Duchess of Malfi, where the protagonist’s brothers shame her for expressing her desire to remarry after her husband dies. Even so, she possesses an extraordinary amount of power in the play that was prodigiously radical during the Renaissance era. Meanwhile, Shakespeare wrote Richard III which, for a play completely dominated by its titular character, has, in my opinion, some outstanding female characters that convey authority over him, however, as I will explain later on in my argument, many critics disagree with this. Throughout this essay, I will aim to express the argument that female power is represented positively in both Richard III and The Duchess of Malfi, despite their male counterparts,
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