The Stereotypical Male Character and Masculinity

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Social pressure often compels people to do things against their own will. The role of the male in a society is based on a stereotypical figure which represents what all real men should be like. In Romeo and Juliet, the protagonist is an effeminate version of the males in his society. As a result, he is depressed and feels left out. Contrarily, Mercutio is a manlier and more provocative male which portrays the alpha male and all his obligations and responsibility that comes along in his society. In Brokeback Mountain, Jack and Ennis portray the image of American cowboys, but ultimately are unable to maintain this image due to their desire for each other. In Romeo and Juliet and Brokeback Mountain, the term masculinity differs depending on the time frame and restrains the role of the male in the society in which they live in. Masculinity works differently in Romeo and Juliet and Brokeback Mountain as it can be represented as an obligation, a facade or a constraint due to social pressure.

In Romeo and Juliet, masculinity is regarded as a role that the male is obligated to take in order to satisfy the social construct of his time. Romeo is forced into real society and he feels that he does not have any alternative in his life. Consequently, he is depressed and hopes for someone that could free him of this desperation. Juliet serves as a catalyst in Romeo’s life as she convinces him to be who he is. Unfortunately, his role of the alpha male takes priority as his best friend, Mercutio dies: “My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt... O sweet Juliet, / Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, / And in my temper softened valour’s steel” (Shakespeare act 3.1, 110-15). Even though Romeo does not want to fight, he is forced to do so or else he would be seen as a coward who let his best friend die in vain. To mask his own weakness, he finds the excuse that Juliet’s beauty blinded his judgement. Furthermore, the harsh reality of the social construct is directly reflected...
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