Explore the gender roles in Macbeth and the Taming of the Shrew

Topics: Gender, The Taming of the Shrew, Gender role Pages: 4 (2016 words) Published: September 19, 2014
Explore the gender roles in Macbeth and the Taming of the Shrew “Shrews” and “Tyrants” are explored in Macbeth and the Taming of the Shrew through generic contextual gender stereotypes. Shakespeare outlines the controversy of gender roles during the Renaissance period; these works have become ever more dubious as ideas of feminism have in recent years overcome most misogynistic concepts. The exploration of the perception of masculinity and women being outsiders in both plays has been interpreted by many directors and actors; they remodel the plays in order to highlight the changes in the views of the audiences by reinforcing or discouraging the gender roles. Shakespeare enforces the idea that for a woman to be different, she is an outsider, for example in Macbeth the witches are seen to be outcasts of society. Macbeth refers to them as “imperfect speakers”, the emphasis on the word “imperfect” suggests that Macbeth believes the witches are inferior to him and what they say shouldn’t be taken seriously. Shakespeare gives the idea to the audience that there is a ‘perfect’ speaker, someone who can manipulate him that he respects and listens to. Perhaps his ‘perfect’ speaker is Lady Macbeth, despite the fact that she is a woman Macbeth recognises and acknowledges her thirst for power. Not only are the witches’ outcasts to society, they are also women, who in the Jacobean era would have been considered as the underclass and inferior to men. Women with the power to determine the fate of a higher class man would have been seen as something quite disturbing to a renaissance audience, a woman’s duty was to marry and have and take care of children not to govern the life of a man. The witches evoke “a fear of female power”[1] in the audience, in the text there are examples to back up this view, when Macbeth says, “I will to the weird sisters go”, implying that they are not in fact of lesser importance than Macbeth but powerful beings and capable of much more than just...
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