Gender Roles In Shakespeare's As You Like It By William Shakespeare

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In the present day, women are encouraged to be independent, equal, and strong. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, females have the advantage on school grades regardless of material. This is admirable considering only one lifetime ago, women weren’t allowed to vote. Even before that, in the Elizabethan period, women were restricted in their lifestyle choices. In Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It, Jacques says to the Duke, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” However, even those women would be played by men. Due to the differences in the gender roles, women were generally not allowed to act in plays, and female parts would be played by men. The first woman to play in a Shakespeare …show more content…
Lady Macbeth’s iconic speech after she receives the letter from her husband directly addresses these expectations. “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty.” (1.5.30-33) Lady Macbeth calls upon spirits to free her from society’s idea of femininity so that she may have what it takes to achieve her goals. She is then in control, manipulating her husband to do what she wants in her plan to kill King Duncan. At first, Macbeth has doubts about this plan. “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself.” (1.7.12-16). Macbeth’s doubts appeal to his honor as King Duncan’s subject, and as his host. As both subject and host, he should protect King Duncan from danger instead of being the danger himself. All of these concerns are very noble, as Macbeth proves himself to be a loyal character in the beginning of the play. However, when he voices these concerns, Lady Macbeth shows no mercy in questioning his soberness, willpower, and bravery. After he calls for her to stop, she takes it a step further and questions his manliness. She is fulfilling the perceived man’s role when Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to follow through with the plan. She acts far from the idea of a dainty lady that is …show more content…
During the time of this play’s release, women weren’t allowed to act in plays, and this creates a dilemma. Although he can use male actors to play the parts of females, there might be some confusion about the gender. Given that women generally have higher voices and more body, it would make it harder for a man to act in a woman’s place. Compensation for a man’s lack of body could create heat problems on stage. The inclusion of women actors could also be beneficial to the stage in talent. Generally, if you have more talent to pull from, you have a greater selection of high quality actors, including those that could play female roles. Another reason may be to appeal to a wider variety of audiences. Such a powerful female lead could interest more women, especially some who are unhappy with their powerless positions in life. This would also help him with the ladies as Shakespeare has a selection of love sonnets and other poems that are rumored to be written to court women, the most famous being Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s

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