Women In Shakespeare's Play

1179 Words5 Pages
“Shakespeare’s presentation of women in his plays demonstrates his feelings about women and their roles in society,” claims author and teacher at Stratford-upon-Avon College, Lee Jamieson. Not only do the women in Shakespeare’s plays represent his feelings toward them, but they reflect society 's view of them in that time period. Back then women were seen as many things, such as deceivers or submissives. Now, as we look back on Shakespeare 's plays it is obvious that women are the main drive behind the plot of his stories. There are two types of women in all of Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet, Othello, MacBeth, and Lear: the first are villainous, and the second are submissives, but both are the driving force behind the plot of each story.…show more content…
According to Shakespeare, there are two types of women, and other than women containing wicked characteristics he shows his belief that women are also weak. In the plays Hamlet, MacBeth, and Othello, many women are put into a light that displays them as fragile creatures that must be taken care of. Poor Ophelia from Hamlet, falls apart directly after the loss of both her love Hamlet and her father. It seems as though without a man in her life Ophelia is helpless. This makes her appear weak, and dependant, just like a woman should be in those days. Lady MacDuff from the play MacBeth is not only seen as weak, but also pathetic. She is used by Lady MacBeth in the play, and is eventually killed by her. The role of Lady MacDuff shows off the submissive nature of women in Shakespeare’s time. Within the play Othello Shakespeare continues the societal standards of women appearing weak, and also submissive. In Act two, after the marriage of Desdemona and Othello, Othello is quoted to say, “Come, my dear love,/The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue,” (2.3.8-9). This implies that their marriage was a ‘purchase’, and nothing more. Desdemona is considered no more than property in this play. When considering Emilia’s role in the play it is obvious that she too is considered an object to her husband. Iago finds it necessary to ask his wife to steal a handkerchief from Desdemona for him, using her to aid his selfish endeavors. Critic, Roy Mitchell, is quoted to say that, “...women are…show more content…
The role of women in Shakespeare’s plays cannot be overlooked. They represent a time when women were considered property, and sometimes dangerous if they knew too much. The plays, Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and MacBeth all hold examples of evil women and weak women. Each and everyone holds the responsibility of keeping the story moving. They contribute to the plot and themes of these plays just as much as the male characters. Maybe even more
Open Document