Female Exclusion Of Shakespeare 's Plays Essay

1286 Words Sep 29th, 2016 6 Pages
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 on stage during Shakespeare’s lifetime, female characters were insignificant even in the plays where their name was in the title of the play. Shakespeare includes a small number of female characters between his plays King Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, and Romeo and Juliet, but only the male characters are given any importance to the plot. Juliet, King Richard II’s Queen, and Lady Percy are three characters that may have served a more important part to their respective plotlines if Shakespeare had not excluded them as he did.
In William Shakespeare’s historical play King Richard II, there is an interesting notion of gender and gender roles. There are only three titled female characters, the Duchess of York, the Duchess of Gloucester and…

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