The Tempest By William Shakespeare Essay

1321 Words Nov 7th, 2016 6 Pages
In the early 1600’s, achieving gender equality wasn’t exactly the number one priority for most Europeans. William Shakespeare, however, sought to speak up and use his writing as a means of addressing this problem, among many other major social and cultural issues as well. His play, The Tempest is intended to be a microcosm of seventeenth century Europe: a society in which it was normal for women to be not only overshadowed by men but also objectified for their value as wives and child-bearers. Ultimately, Shakespeare’s goal in re-creating European society in his play was to criticize the male-dominated hierarchical system that existed within it. At the time when The Tempest was written, a man, namely, the father, would unquestionably be at the head of the typical family household. Being in this position of power allowed him to make and enforce the rules that governed what the rest of the family—especially his wife and daughter—could do. Because the father was considered superior and all-knowing, the opinions of the women in the family would automatically be regarded as null. In The Tempest, this exact characteristic of the patriarchy is captured in Prospero’s reaction to Miranda’s attempt at stopping him from fighting Ferdinand after accusing him of treason. When Miranda stands up for Ferdinand and tries to explain to Prospero that he means no harm, Prospero condescendingly spits back: “What, I say? My foot my tutor?” (I.II.471-472) and then silences her by threatening to…

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