Equality of the Sexes: Elizabethan Era and Now (as Conveyed in Romeo and Juliet)

881 Words Oct 31st, 2012 4 Pages
Equality of the Sexes: The Elizabethan Era and Now
Equal rights have always been a major issue and dispute. Analysing the role of women in the Elizabethan Era, through Shakespeare’s representation in Romeo and Juliet, and comparing them to the role of women in the 21st century, will help to demonstrate that equality of the sexes has been achieved, and come a long way in the past 400 years. Three ways in which equality of the sexes has been achieved is the role of a married, and unmarried woman, and roles of women in society.
Married women’s roles have changed significantly since the late 1500s. A dowry has been abolished when women get married. Their sole purpose of being has changed and is no longer to just provide and raise children
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Arranged marriages for unmarried women were very common in the Elizabethan period, as fathers wanted their daughters to marry somebody of a higher class to improve the family’s social status. Fathers liked to arrange a marriage as soon as sensibly possible, because unmarried women were looked upon with suspicion. In Romeo and Juliet, Lord Capulet arranges a deal with Paris about the marriage of Juliet when she was only 13. Capulet describes Juliet’s age, “…She hath not seen the change of fourteen years...” (Act I, Sc. II, 9). Paris replies with, “Younger than she are happy mothers made,” (Act I, Sc. II, 12) which is representing the fact that women in the Elizabethan Era could be married and have children as young as 12. In a modern Western women’s world however, women no longer have arranged marriages and are allowed to choose their significant other. They are not looked upon with suspicion if they are unmarried, as it is very common in the 21st century, and women often don’t marry until around the age of 25 or older. In summary, an unmarried woman’s roles and rights have changed considerably since the Elizabethan period, and Shakespeare has conveyed an unmarried woman’s tradition through Romeo and Juliet.
The roles of women in society have changed a sizeable amount since the late 1500s. In the Elizabethan period women

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