Although being written centuries apart, the limited expectations of women presented in ‘Othello’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ differ little from each other. The female characters are confined by society’s expectations of male dominance, female purity and virginity, and the many passive roles of women. Despite the differing legalities surrounding the position of women between the centuries in which the plays were written, both plays explore the impact of how societal conventions confine women and the ways they must comply to be safe in a patriarchal society. The behaviours and treatments of Desdemona, Blanche and Stella illustrate the attitudes enforced on and the behaviours of women throughout both periods in time and it is these attitudes and behaviours that impact the plays to the greatest extent. When characters in either plays defy their norms, or demonstrate a lack of compliance they induce negative consequences, such as the murder of Desdemona and the institutionalisation of Blanche.
A world where men dominate women. This idea was the basis of many Renaissance era dramas. Writers always used to perceive certain genders as having distinctive qualities and traits. Men were held up to a higher respect and given more violent roles than women. Their tough archetypes were always present in many plays and reinforced the idea of male superiority. This fact held true, especially for a certain tragic classic by William Shakespeare. There was a misogynistic mentality towards women in Romeo and Juliet, evident through the way women were shown as objects, portrayed as weak, and made to seem unable to dictate their own lives.
For many centuries in our society women have been confined into a stereotypical idea of a patriarchal society. In today 's society the idea isn’t as much viewed upon with all the rights women have been given, but the concept still lingers in some of men 's minds. More so, than today, in the 19th century women were obligated to abide to the principle of gender roles and a male dominated culture. Women were seen as to be a slave and to act a certain way towards men as well as be able to gratify man 's lust of expectations of a perfect woman. These presumptions of women had been very much portrayed in short story , The Chaser by John Collier, in which a boy name Alan Austen seeks for a love potion from an old man, for a girl he likes name Diana. The short story really showed the judgement of men’s egotistical minds and also their lust in which clearly stated the true colors of what men really think of women. This establishes the stereotypical image of a woman becoming a man’s puppet, and having no voice in what occurs, but to only be there for an egotistical lust of love in a submissive form to fulfill a man 's desire.
Shakespeare's Othello is set during the Renaissance period and therefore the roles of the women in Othello are supposedly bounded by the period when women are considered to be of low intellect. In Othello, most male characters assume that women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why all three women characters in the play are accused of sexual infidelity. Yet Shakespeare develops the women to speak the most sense throughout the play and able to trust other characters in the play. To the men in Othello, female sexuality is a threatening force more than it is an attractive one.
It’s no surprise, that Shakespeare’s Macbeth was clearly constructed as a rebellion against femininity roles of the time. During the Elizabethan era, women were raised to believe they were inferior to men since men obtained desired masculine qualities such as strength, and loyalty, whereas women were viewed as figures of hospitality (1; 6; 28-31). Obviously, not being tempted by the luxury of subservient women, William Shakespeare rebuked this twisted belief, applying that women deserve more respect than their kitchen tables. However, if transcending female expectations was used as a weapon than for good, is it still considered an act of femininity? Of course not! It clears that although Shakespeare rebelled against gender roles of his time, he still believes that women/men should have moral intentions. With the character Lady Macbeth, we get a taste of what inhuman values, attitude and believes look like, and eventually what this lifestyle can lead to. (Hint: it is not good)
In today’s world, gender expectations and roles of men and women are a highly debated topic. However, the reconsidering of these expectations is not a new phenomenon. Set in Verona, Italy, the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare explores the reversal and fluidity of characteristics usually assigned to a specific gender. In this play, two young people fall in love and end up tragically taking their lives as a result of their forbidden love. Shakespeare suggests that men are not necessarily masculine, women are not necessarily feminine, and that when people are forced by society to act the way their gender is “supposed” to, problems will arise.
In Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, women are portrayed as either pure angelic beings and jewels, or as whores who are impure. They are objectified and shown as something to be used. The only women in this play are Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca compared to the main 6 male characters, not to mention the minor characters, who are also all male. Their depicted purpose is to belong to a man; Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca’s lives revolve around being wives to Othello, Iago and Cassio. This fits into the idea of a perfect Elizabethan woman, who’s lives are subject to their husband’s rule across all aspects, to be disposed of as men wish. Each female character is treated by men as a possession. However, there are also moments when they are presented as confident and challenge a male authority. This would have been exiting for Shakespeare’s female Elizabethan audience as women
William Shakespeare 's "Othello” can be analyzed from a feminist perspective.This criticism focuses on relationships between genders, like the patterns of thoughts, behavior, values, enfranchisement, and power in relations between and within sexes. A feminist examination of the play enables us to judge the distinctive social esteems and status of women and proposes that the male-female power connections that become an integral factor in scenes of Othello impact its comprehension. I believe that the critical lens that provides modern society with the most compelling view of literature is Feminist Criticism because it analyzes distrust and disloyalty among relationships, women being treated as possessions
Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, focuses on the tumultuous events that surround a regicide. Despite being the shortest of Shakespeare’s plays, in his critical study of the play A. C. Bradley concludes that due to its vehement nature the audience is left with an impression “not of brevity but of speed” . The principal female character of Lady Macbeth is arguably one of his most contentious. Consumed with intense passion, ambition and greed she challenges the subservient role of the traditional Elizabethan woman. She has disturbed, horrified and intrigued both contemporary and modern audiences alike through her powerful diction. This study will focus on the way in which Shakespeare crafts his play and uses dramatic devices in his portrayal of Lady Macbeth in order to confront the gender stereotypes of the time, femininity and the natural order of society. During the early 17th century there was a substantial fear that if women were liberated from their domestic, maternal roles, the historically patriarchal society would unravel. With prevailing challenges of gender such as “When you durst do it, then you were a man” Shakespeare uses the character of Lady Macbeth to transgress the natural limits concomitant with her sex.
The feminist movement has grown and spread in the past decade. Women all over the world are standing up for basic rights, such as education, that all people, regardless of gender can enjoy. This movement is not a new one, though. Women from times past had already started paving the way towards some of the rights women have today. The work is not yet complete, and is evident by looking at the domination of women throughout the centuries, specifically the 19th and 20th century, which was the height of the women’s rights movement. By analyzing two literary works from two different eras, “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the late 19th century and “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” written by Adrienne Rich in the mid-20th century, one can conclude that while there have been improvements to women’s rights, there is still discrimination prevalent.
Feminist point of view means the analysis of any literary works based on the feminist perception. Feminism has gradually become broad and noticeable in its attacks on male-dominated society. The Shakespearian era of the 16th century was a time when women were very inferior in the society. If we compare with other writers, Shakespeare was always careful of women and tried to give them respect in his different writings. If we look at his famous play named Othello we need to judge the equality of women in terms of political, social and economic perspective. The feminist perspective challenges sexism and other beliefs and practices that result in the domination of women. When we look at Othello from feminist point of view it is important to note how the women of this play are treated and stereotyped.
Shakespeare is often referred to as a man before his time, or even called a feminist. He revered amongst many audience members for his use of the woman in his plays. Others disagree, saying Ole Willy Shakes is a misogynist who hated women. Neither of the extremes is completely accurate, and neither have claims that could be taken very far. Shakespeare lives somewhere between being a feminist and being a misogynist, he uses female character radically; for his time at least. As explained by Bianca-Oana Petrut, “Despite the relative insignificance of women in Elizabethan social order, Shakespeare uses them in many significant ways. He seems to be extremely sensitive to the importance of women in society even though they are often overlooked. The idea that men are often a product of the women in their lives is indirectly suggested in the significant impact women have on the men in plays.” (Petrut) Stating the obvious; Petrut is saying that it is the women in Shakespeare who run the plays, not the men. It may seem like Shakespeare treats his female characters worse than his male characters, but it is his female characters that drive the plot
Mary Wollstonecraft an early feminist philosopher, writes about the ideals of equality and freedom both in her political rebuttal essay “Rights of Men” and her follow-up essay “Vindication of Women” in response to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Writing the “Vindication of the Rights of Men”, has led her to explore and express her opinions about the inequality of women during the Romantic period. As the opposition to post-revolutionary sentiment, extending rights as a just act to include the upper middle class of men, over maintaining the traditional rights given to men of nobility. Wollstonecraft interjects that women are also a vital importance to society and also deserve allowances of rights. Mary Wollstonecraft states her opinion on the argument that education is the basis for gaining equality within a society. Educating women begin the process of educating the next generation.
There’s a surprising amount of classic literature that pass the Bechdel test; Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Charlotte Brontё’s Jane Eyre, and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (depending on how one interprets Nerissa and Portia’s conversation about candlelight and music (V. I. 98-119)) all manage to meet the three requirements. Created by Alison Bechdel, the test’s rules are simple: there must be at least two women who talk about something other than a man. However, it would be rash to assume all works that pass are feminist masterpieces. Dracula strays far from the feminist ideal, painting Mina Murray, the fiancée of main character Jonathan Harker, as the “ideal” woman based off her role as an obedient wife and as a figure of purity. Jane Eyre shows a better portrayal of women, exploring Jane’s female relationships and providing a variety of characters that don’t quite fall into typical tropes, such as the pure maiden or the old hag. The Merchant of Venice proves to be more complicated; although Shakespeare often acknowledges the Elizabethan expectations for women, that they be docile and submissive, he rarely challenges societal norms in a way that inspires drastic changes, both inside his writing and outside in the real world. However, by writing realistic and fully human characters, Shakespeare created unique and varied women in his plays, which was a progressive act in and of