Stereotypes In Literature

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In classical literature, men and women have clear, defined characteristics which usually mirror the gender roles and expectations of their time. As a result, there are distinct personalities traits and behaviors that appear throughout stories. Because of these common distinctions, there have been definite literary types of both genders that have come about; in short, constant traditional portrayals of each gender have caused the rise of gender stereotypes.

Comparison of Male Characters:
In popular literature, there are several different types of men found in hero stories, applicable to and regardless of different cultures and times. From this characterization, one can categorize individuals through their features, and
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To many, the issue is not in the presence of women but rather in their representation. Just as in the case of their male counterparts, women can oftentimes be assigned certain roles and titles, based on obvious traits, motives, and actions. The female gender may be categorized, for example, as archetypes like the Virtuous Woman and the Sensuous Woman, with other female stereotypes in literature also including ones such as the Sentimental Stereotype, or like the Liberated Woman (Wolff). Using this categorization then, throughout each of their stories, Eve and Penelope from Paradise Lost and The Odyssey respectively, depict many of the characteristics commonly associated with these the Virtuous Woman and the Sensuous Woman–often grouped together due to commonly appearing alongside one another. In the case of these two stereotypes, a distinction may be made that “there are ‘good’ women–for whom he feels fondness and respect; there are ‘bad women who arouse him sexually”; in simple, the virtuous woman “reflects his inhibitory tendencies–his ‘super-ego’ ” while the sensuous woman “reflects his libidinal or ‘id’ tendencies” (Wolff). During much of both of these epics, the female leads present themselves as the Virtuous Woman, there to appeal to the rational side of males around them. In this sense, the women primarily act as aid and driving force for the men’s moral standard and logical thought. Further on in these works, though, both may be viewed as the sensuous woman instead, inspiring their men to act more in line with their primal instincts, with less thought towards reason or

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