Contreras 1 Luis Contreras Yarisbel Rodriguez HIST 3401 19 September 2017 Revelations of gender and religious norms through the Salem witch trials There are certain events that when they occur they can reflect and show the kind of society we live in and sheds light on some of the norms we accept in our society. The events that occurred during the Salem witch trials revealed many norms about religion and gender. It demonstrated how religion and superstition was held in higher regards and standards than science and logic. It also showed how much influence people in the church had over the people.
In the 1600’s, there were strict guidelines to how a person should behave. In this time period, it was the man’s job to provide for his family; which is not quite different from today’s views of what a man should do. Men were thought of as powerful masculine beings, who defended honor. When it came to marriage, men owned everything their wife had and after the marriage.
“Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper” This repetition exposed that as a woman in thet Elizabethan era must conform to her gender’s expectations, obliging to anything that men do, as she as a woman does not have the right to be in charge of herself and must need a man to guide her as a woman couldn’t do it
“And though she be but little, she is fierce” -William Shakespeare. In today’s day and age, one of the greatest topics of debate is gender roles. It is evident everywhere, from cyberspace to the streets of home, from online petitions to marches across the country such as the Women’s March. Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan Era of England, where Queen Elizabeth I, the virgin queen ruled.
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.
She must fear her husband and listen to his every command. “Wife and servant are the same/ But only differ in the name” (1-2). She exhibits affinity between a wife and a servant by using a metaphor. The title of being a wife is the only thing that makes them different.
In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the female characters' desire to question the law of Athens and select their own husbands drives most of the conflict in the play. In a way, Hermia, Helena, and Titania are the protagonists of the play because each of their desires are being thwarted by the patriarchal structure of the society in which they live. The way the women try to overcome such hurdles does not sit well with the men. Accordingly, the men get on edge when their patriarchy is disrupted, so they make strict laws to try and keep the women under their control.
Throughout history, men have always dominated. They never let a woman rise to power or have the same rights. This sexism has been ingrained in society for thousands of years, so much so that it has defined some of the most famous works of literature, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This play was written during the Elizabethan Era, an era in which a woman had all the power imaginable (Queen Elizabeth), and yet, women were still severely discriminated against. Women had no say whatsoever in their society; they were not allowed to vote and they had very few legal rights (Papp, Joseph, Kirkland).
Women’s Rights In Romeo and Juliet Juliet being forced into marriage, showed how little input women had during the Renaissance period. Renaissance is a period in which the ancient writing of Greece and Rome, “Rebirthed”, or came back into practice. During the Renaissance period, women had limited, to no rights. They were required to follow orders made by their husband’s or superior male figure. This is presented in the play Romeo and Juliet made by William Shakespeare.
Today, men and women have equal rights, but that does not mean life has always been simple for both genders. When Shakespeare writes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there are roles, behaviors, and expectations for the dominant men and submissive women. This literature portrays the major changes in the lives of both sexes throughout the years, which shows the advances women gain with time. The gender issue of men being dominant and women being submissive used in the drama, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shows the differences in the roles, behaviors, and expectations appropriate for each gender and is an example of an outdated stereotype.
Many female critics have looked towards The Wife of Bath as a feminist role model (Reisman) She wanted authority over her five husbands, “She’d been respectable throughout her life, with five churched husbands bringing joy and strife, Not counting other company in her youth;” (Chaucer, l. 459-461) In Othello, the society centered around the men having all the control over women except in their beds, which was when the women could take control. Othello uses his power to over Desdemona to mock her,“Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn. Sir, she can turn, and turn, and get go on, And turn again.
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.
During the Elizabethan period, the role of women in society was very different from what it is today. According to the system of patriarchal society that dictated that women were inferior to men, they had to obey the male figures in their lives. The woman was seen as the weaker sex either physically or emotionally which meant that it was entirely dependent on her husband if married and members of his family if single. Moreover, in the Elizabethan theater, women were not allowed to play because of this hierarchy. Therefore, they were replaced by men disguised as women.
Although Emilia does not ever say these powerful words out loud, she is still willing to not follow her husbands commands despite his strong character. Emilia proves again that she has powerful thoughts when she stated that,”Let husbands know, Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour As husbands have’ (Othello IV.3.92-5) Emilia contends that women are physically the same to men,they both get distraught and have issues that trouble each other, they should treat each other similarly. Women can still analyze literature about the inequality and rights for women through many of the injustices that are modern today.