Essay On Gender Roles In Twelfth Night

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“Grab them by the p***y,” states our now 45th president Donald Trump. In a lewd conversation, back in 2011, Trump degrades women by treating them unfairly and as objects. For a long period of time, women have not been held to the same standard as men, which is still prevalent in today’s society. In the sixteenth century, women are not seen as equal as men. Women were widely viewed as matriarchs of the domestic household, who were meek and submissive. Men were seen as masculine and powerful. Shakespeare heavily illustrates the sixteenth century stereotypical gender roles throughout his play, Twelfth Night. During Shakespearean times, women were prohibited from performing on stage, instead, men played their roles. In Twelfth Night, the imitation of the opposite gender originates from necessity and fear. Viola dressed as a man named Cesario to protect herself when she arrives upon foreign land. When Sebastian,her twin brother, arrives, Shakespeare utilizes the comical aspect of mistaken identity and confusion to show that it can be destructive. The plot in itself raises questions about gender, identity …show more content…

For a woman to show interests in current affairs, express opinions, write literature was unladylike. Viola, fending for herself, in distant land, disguises herself as a boy named Cesario. Cross-dressing, in Elizabethan society, was seen as highly immoral. Viola 's male disguise “allows her to escape the confinement of a single perspective and a single voice by momentarily unfixing sexual stereotypes (184)”(Melchoir). Furthermore, Viola’s situation in Twelfth Night is not typical of an Elizabethan woman because she proves herself to be capable and intelligent. In doing so, she challenged gender roles and pushed limits in same-sex desire. Viola by necessity choose to take a different path and denied the stereotypical behavior of women in the sixteenth

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