Women in Renaissance

Topics: Shakespeare's sonnets, Macbeth, The Winter's Tale Pages: 3 (743 words) Published: December 23, 2012
Answered by: Hussein Salimian Rizi
Presented to: Dr. Tavassoli

1. Comment on the depictions of women in Renaissance drama by referring to specific plays.

I. Introduction
In the Renaissance period, women commenced to gradually gain a fairer and more logical status, though it was still far away from thinking of equality with men. Women started to appear as more significant and effectual personas through literature, with many medieval conventions being held alive, especially the Petrarchan ones, which typified women as genuinely beautiful, unattainable, disdainful, and cold-hearted mistresses. These conventions emerged mostly in sonnets written by Sidney, Shakespeare, Spencer, etc. Women also took active roles in drama, being depicted differently; sometimes realistically and sometimes unrealistically. This paper is a succinct attempt to elaborate on different depictions of women in Renaissance Literature, with the spotlight on drama. II. Women as properties

Based on the outdated notion pertaining women as properties in the hand of men, such an unfair quality of women is portrayed directly or indirectly in literature; for example in The Tempest (1611) by Shakespeare, Miranda, Prospero's daughter, takes almost no liberal action but those allowed by her father. Although she unintentionally falls in love with Ferdinand, she has no choice until her father makes the final decision. The property-viewed quality is also depicted in Pericles (1606-1608) by Shakespeare on Marina, Pericles' daughter, when she is carried off by pirates and sold in Mytilene to a brothel. There she is treated like an object belonging to the brothel owner; however through chastity and purity, she makes her way out. III. Submissive, faithful and pure

The oft-expected trait of women emerges in their submissiveness, faithfulness, and purity, which are sometimes taken to extremes and unreality in literature. Faithfulness and purity come out in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale...

Cited: Donne, John. (1901). Poems of John Donne. Vol, 2. Ed. E. K. Chambers. London: A.H.Bullen.
Drabble, Margaret. (2000). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. (6th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shakespeare, William. (1821). The Sonnets of William Shakespeare. Ed. Edward Dowden. London: The Dryden Library.
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