Femininity In Shakespeare's World

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The early modern period, with its political uncertainties, religious turmoil, and social changes, was a time of great instability and unpredictability for many members of English society. Feeling dejected and despairing of their lot in life, many men and women in the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages found themselves powerless to fight against fortune and fate, forces which appeared to rule the world as they knew it. Stephen Greenblatt’s “Shakespeare’s World” depicts the hardships and struggles of the time period that led many to feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. Throughout his article, Greenblatt cites the high death rates, plague, violence, and poverty as powerful and unpredictable sources of struggle (2). These were struggles that were outside of the control of the common man or woman, leaving them powerless to defend themselves or change their situations. In Radical Tragedy, Jonathan Dollimore expounds further on Greenblatt’s description of the early modern period. In …show more content…
Yvonne Noble, in describing the early modern ideas of femininity, shows how passion, emotion, and exoticism characterized the east, and by extension, femininity, in the the early modern period and additionally, in Marlowe’s play (852). These attributes, portrayed in Dido as her love for Aeneas begins to overpower her commitment to her duty, extend from the power of fortune and fate that, like Elizabeth, attempt to control her and threaten her rule. In contrast, Marlowe depicts the western world, through Aeneas and the Roman gods, with masculine traits such as strength and honor. Through these depictions, the western rulers in the play and within the early modern period, including Elizabeth I, are identified as separate from and superior to the eastern world with their masculine strength and

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