Shakespeare's Women

Topics: William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Gender role Pages: 3 (944 words) Published: February 18, 2013
Shakespeare's women

Shakespeare’s presentation of women in his plays demonstrates his feelings about women and their roles in society. As our guide to the types of female roles in Shakespeare demonstrates, women had less freedom than their male counterparts in Shakespeare's Time. But in his works, Shakespeare gives the women more power and intelligence. Through the female characters of Shakespeare's plays, it can be seen that he felt a successful woman could integrate masculine and feminine characteristics to create a whole person. Lady Macbeth as the main female characters in “Macbeth” and Portia as a part of the main characters in “The Merchant of Venice”, both are balanced and well-built women that with the masculinity inside them develop the plot of both plays.

In most of the Shakespeare’s works, the women are the downfall of the men. Macbeth is the prime example of how women can influence men. Lady Macbeth is the archetypal femme fatal. Her manipulation of Macbeth inevitably leads them to their deaths: she commits suicide and he is slain. In her ambition to become Queen, she encourages her husband to murder. Macbeth’s alteration is caused by the heartless information that Lady Macbeth is transmitting into Macbeth’s mind. “And to more than you were, you would be much more than man.” By stating these words, Lady Macbeth pushes her husband beyond the limits. Lady Macbeth continually refers to question Macbeth’s manhood in order to get what she desires. She is feeding his thoughts with negative comments in order to make him feel like a “coward”. Lady Macbeth leaves Macbeth with only one choice, not because it’s obligatory for him but because a woman is questioning his manhood. In his position, he has to maintain his dominant role. Killing Duncan gives him nights without sleep with words hearing “Sleep no more Macbeth, does no murder sleep.” Lady Macbeth illustrates her ambitions from the beginning. With desire to be “unsexed”, Lady Macbeth suggests her...
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