Shakespeares Portrayal Of Women British Literature Essay

Shakespeare's female characters are displayed across a number of social classes. In this essay I'll explore how Shakespeare portrays women in A Midsummer Night's Perfect inclusive of several female character types in this play. This enables us to look at comprehensive, to a very limited level, how these were treated in population and the stereotypical assignments Elizabethan society enforced upon them. I am examining specifically the individuals and portrayal of Hippolyta, Helena and Hermia and how they defy the stereotypical notion of how women were cured by men.

Firstly, the most clear aspect regarding Shakespeare's portrayal of women in this play is the fact the female gender is commodified. Throughout the play, women are cured like things to be sold or exchanged. With reference to the background of the people Theseus and Hippolyta, Greek mythology state governments that whenever Theseus, the Duke of Athens, sailed to the land of the Amazon, the Amazons offered Theseus gift items of calmness. However, Theseus kidnapped Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazonians, and forcefully made her his partner. This resulted in the war between your Athenians and the Amazons. Theseus's action of declaring Hippolyta as a prize and a partner might show that he snacks them as things rather than human beings. This idea is reinforced when Theseus says 'Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword, and received thy love doing thee accidental injuries' (I. i. 16-17). This statement identifies how Theseus earned the struggle with the Amazons and in conquering the Amazons; he has "conquered" their queen, Hippolyta, both in physical form and emotionally.

Hippolyta's lines in this play are of relatively insignificant amount and value when compared with Theseus's. For example, in the first Function, Hippolyta only comforts Theseus by declaring that 'Four times will quickly steep themselves in nighttime; Four nights will quickly desire away the time' (I. i. 7-8) and they'll have the wedding ceremony soon. Furthermore, Theseus appears to be making the decisions regarding everything, which range from their relationship to Hermia's relationship. That is significant as it shows that Hippolyta is subservient to Theseus as she's little say in these status events despite being sitting next to Theseus. Furthermore, Hippolyta's silence could possibly show how she actually is unhappy about being forced into a marriage with Theseus as shown in the 1970s BBC development of the Midsummer Night's Fantasy. Hippolyta's silence may be seen as a rejection of male dominance. However, additionally it is significant that Hippolyta gets is given more of a voice in the last scene after being married which will be explored later.

Another relationship that implies the marginalizing of women sometimes appears again between Egeus and Hermia. Egeus, Hermia's daddy, has made up his mind to marry Hermia to Demetrius but Hermia refuses to do it. Egeus then introduces this problem to Theseus, wanting Theseus is able to help him. In doing so, Egeus is shown to regard Hermia as a item. Egeus says that Hermia has 'switched her compliance, which is due to me' (I. i. 37) which since 'she is mine, I might dispose of her' (I. i. 42). These 2 lines show Egeus dealing with Hermia as 'mere property' because he made her and hence Hermia must listen to her father's instructions. This notion is also proven by some parents in the early 17th century such as Sir Edward Coke who whipped his child into marriage with a mentally unsound man.

Moreover, Theseus becomes the personification of regulations in Athens as he explains to Hermia to 'either to die the death, or even to abjure for ever the population of men' (I. i. 65-66). According to the 'historical privilege of Athens' (I. i. 41) a woman's father has the right to decide who she should marry and she's no say in his decision. If the woman goes up against the wishes of her dad, she can either be placed to death or to stay a virgin permanently by becoming a nun. The number of different options given by both Theseus and Egeus only goes to support the fact that Renaissance women were constrained in the verbal medium and that silence was 'the virtue most stringently required from Renaissance women. '

However, it is also through these three women that people see the feminine gender defying the society's treatment of women then. Hippolyta, Helena and Hermia go against the grain in their unique ways and show that regardless of the limitations and laws that modern culture imposes after them, they are able to assert themselves and show culture they have the actual to be as in a position as men. Critics have said that Shakespeare's portrayal of ladies in this manner may be his own stand about how women should be treated equally as men but since he belongs to the Elizabethan period, it is still difficult to garner Shakespeare's specific views on feminism and its own issues solely founded A Midsummer Night's Goal and even if we could, it continues to be problematic to judge his 16th - 17th hundred years mindset predicated on the meanings and conditions of twentieth century feminism. Furthermore, Shakespeare is based in the Elizabethan period yet he writes about the lives and behaviour of the early Greeks. This suggests that interpreting Shakespeare's state of mind from his works is only reliable to a small scope. Hence, his representation of women only acts as an understanding to how he was unorthodox in the gender assumptions of his era.

One extremely effective method of showing that ladies should assert having their viewpoints and rights acknowledged by men is to have the characters in the Midsummer Night's Fantasy either take part in a power have difficulty or a role reversal. The 1st power have difficulty shown in the play exists between Egeus/Theseus and Hermia. In Take action 1 Field 1, Hermia openly defies Egeus's needs for her to marry Demetrius instead of Lysander. Through Egeus's sight, Hermia sometimes appears to truly have a 'tenacious harshness' (I. i. 38) and she will not 'consent to marry with Demetrius' (I. i. 40). She defies Egeus despite understanding that ancient tradition grants the father capacity to marry his girl off whoever he wishes to. Nonetheless, she even conspires with Lysander and agrees to his plan of departing Athens to Lysander's widow aunt whose house is 'remote control seven leagues' (I. i. 159) and out of reach of the 'razor-sharp Athenian rules' (I. i. 162). While working away might seem to be just like a nuanced and simple form of defiance, it continues to be an affirmation of Hermia's protection under the law and liberty as a woman to choose who she marries.

In the same picture, she defies Theseus in both her tone and her vocabulary. For example, when Theseus will try to persuade Hermia to marry Demetrius by expressing that 'Demetrius is a deserving gentleman' (I. i. 52) Hermia asserts, 'So is Lysander' (I. i. 53). In addition, when Theseus instructs Hermia that she encounters either a nunnery or fatality, she replies that 'My spirit consents not to give sovereignty' (I. i. 82) and she'd rather be a nun than having to marry Demetrius. In Hermia's case, the action of women asserting themselves is almost unheard of as Shakespeare 'lived in a patriarchal culture in which authority and privilege is specially committed to the hands of the patriarch of a family. ' This implies that women were subordinate to men.

The most apparent exemplory case of gender reversal is between Demetrius and Helena. In Work 2 Landscape 1, Helena reminds the audience relating to this role reversal by saying, 'We cannot battle for love, as men may do; we ought to be wooed, and weren't designed to woo' (II. i. 241-242). This brand identifies how, in this situation, Helena is playing the role of the male running after the female (Demetrius) through the woods and persuading Demetrius to love her. Although I recognize that Helena is obligated to woo Demetrius due to her situation of unrequited love, it isn't proper for a woman to behave in this manner in Ancient Greece.

This role reversal between Helena and Demetrius suggests that in Ancient Greece, women were generalized as insensible and struggling to make proper judgments and hence needed a male guardian. By getting Helena to play the role of men, Shakespeare creates comic alleviation as the audience sees it as absurd and absurdly funny. In addition, some participants of the audience may feel sympathetic for Helena instead. Inducing sympathy and challenging the followers' belief of women might have been Shakespeare's intentions to promote equal treatment regardless of gender. Nonetheless, this seemingly comic situation still is true even today even as we, to a tiny level, still stereotype women as humans to be wooed by men despite various organizations driving for female equality. This may be due to our genetic cosmetic as human beings or cultural influences about women but we do nearly know.

The final instance of a ability struggle between your genders occurs between Theseus and Hippolyta. In Action 5 Picture 1, Hippolyta voices out that she disagrees with Theseus on the occasions that happened to the lovers the previous night time. While Theseus says that he 'may never consider these antique fables' (V. i. 2-3), Hippolyta disagrees and says so it must have been true because 'all their brains transfigured along' (V. i. 24) and it was 'more witnesseth than fancy's images' (V. i. 25). Hippolyta's verbal answer can be seen in two ways. Firstly, Michael Boyd, a stage director implied that Hippolyta has accepted Theseus as she gives her hubby a kiss. This shows that Hippolyta is simply discussing the complete issue about the fans with Theseus. The darker way of looking at this is the fact Hippolyta is involved in 'problems for electric power in a patriarchal world. ' In doing this, Hippolyta empowers the feminine gender by heading against how women were supposed to be submissive and agreeable to their husbands.

In conclusion, I hope this essay demonstrates Shakespeare's several mindful and subconscious feminist intentions, by using a Midsummer Night's Fantasy, in his portrayal of women as 'opposition to the expected virtues of marriage. ' More importantly, this paper could have suggested a Midsummer Night's Fantasy may be interpreted to imply Shakespeare being truly a proto-feminist who realized and sympathized women who were treated unfairly.

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