Women in Shakespeare

Topics: Macbeth, Elizabethan era, English-language films Pages: 3 (1027 words) Published: August 12, 2012
The women presented in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth have challenged the cultural values and assumptions of the role, rights and power of women during the Elizabethan period. The typical role of Elizabethan women of looking after the household and handling the kids is contradicted; the rights of Elizabethan women are defied; and the power of Elizabethan women in the household and the society is taken to new extents. The role, rights and power of Elizabethan women is confronted upon with the use of the female characters in the play Macbeth as well as the various language techniques used throughout the play. Shakespeare has used the female characters in the play Macbeth to challenge the role Elizabethan women play in society. Women during the Elizabethan era were required to look after the household, the kids, simply be feminine and look good. Lady Macbeth is an important character who most strongly challenges this typical role. She does much more than look after the household; she presents herself more as a man than a female saying, “unsex me here”. Here she portrays the desire to be more than just the ‘woman’ in the house by removing here feminine qualities. This is also evident in the quote She further challenges the typical role by showing disregard for her children if she had any, “would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from the boneless gums, And dash'd the brains out, had i so sworn”. This quote shows the extremes to which Lady Macbeth can go and even take life out of her child. The imagery portrayed by the quote makes it seem bloody and extremely unfeminine. A typical Elizabethan woman doesn’t behave so. These scenes also portray her lack of the ‘innocence’ that women are meant to have. Another character that shows defiance against this role is Lady Macduff. The typical role of Elizabethan women is to be accepting of everything their male relatives do and never speak ill of them. However Lady Macduff, when Macduff abandons them, speaks...
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