Essay On Female Exclusion In Shakespeare's Plays

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Female Exclusion in Shakespeare’s Plays
If William Shakespeare was alive today, he would most likely be considered a “mennist”. In many of his plays, he included a large number of male characters, but only a handful of female characters. If one were to ask someone on the street what female roles were in Shakespeare plays, only a few would be easily retrieved for most. Of course, those female roles would be the infamous Juliet from Romeo and Juliet, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth, Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, and possibly Titania from A Midnight’s Summers Dream. Most people cannot think of many more female Shakespearian characters than those few. Although it makes sense due to the time period and the fact that only men were allowed to act
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During her appearance in the first scene of the second act, she only has a single line that has little importance to what is actually going on. She asks about John of Gaunt, but King Richard follows her line with his own question. He seems to dismiss her question, which in turn makes her appearance in the scene insignificant, and the queen is merely an object next to the king during the scene. Women during this time period were meant to be mainly for housekeeping and childbearing, but being the queen is of royalty, it is puzzling that she is given the same respect that a commoner woman would receive from her husband. Although the queen is insignificant in her first appearance, she has more of a spotlight in the last scene of Act 3. In the scene, she is with her Ladies trying to get her mind off of her husband. However, her husband is mentioned by the gardeners, and the King seems to have more importance in the scene although he is not physically seen. The queen hears of her husband’s issue of possibly being dethroned, and she returns to the scene to emphasize this issue. Near the end of the play, the queen is used to make the king look “good” and provide the audience with a reason for sympathy. It is not her sadness of being separated from her husband that seems to be of importance, but rather that King Richard will be taken away from his wife. Overall, the queen and the other two …show more content…
Romeo’s mother and father never discuss if Romeo should ever marry, although he is older than Juliet, and there is not a scene with Romeo even speaking to his parents. He is often found with his friends, Benevolio and Mercutio, while Juliet is seen either alone or with an adult telling her what to do unless she is with Romeo. Juliet’s Nurse, a woman of lower status, seems to even have more independence that Juliet, and Juliet has her nurse bring news to Romeo because she cannot do so herself. Juliet is forced to be preparing to marry Paris because her father demands it. Juliet is simply a pawn of her father’s gameboard, for he wants to use the marriage as a distraction from his nephew’s death. She vows rather to die than to be married to Paris. She would be committing a sin unknown to her family, as she is already married to Romeo. In the end, when Romeo hears of Juliet’s fake-death, he uses poison to end his own life next to his love, but not without first giving a long 40 line solliloquy. Once Juliet awakens to see Friar Laurence nearby, she becomes confused about where Romeo is, and once she hears that he is dead, she simply kisses him in hopes that he left some poison there. After this, she says two more lines, with her last being “This is thy sheath. There rust, and let me die.” before stabbing herself with Romeo’s dagger. There is quite a difference in her death compared to Romeo’s,

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