Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare Essay

1835 Words Nov 19th, 2015 8 Pages
Twelfth Night was written near the end of Queen Elizabeth 's reign in England. The notion of a strong female, such as Elizabeth, choosing to lead a country without the help of a man began to provoke people to consider what truly a woman’s role was (Callaghan, 86). For the most part, up until this time literature strongly focused on powerful male leads that expressed dominance and intelligence greatly surpassing the minor female characters in literature (Callaghan, 32). Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night strongly questions whether men are superior to women or society has simply forced women into the background, ignoring women 's ability to rival men 's talents and rationale. Feminism in Twelfth Night detects negative attitudes towards women of the time, while also proving that women can overcome those stereotypes. Viola, Olivia, and Maria are three strong female characters in Twelfth Night that challenge the traditional role of women.
The evolution of feminism can be seen in part through some of Twelfth Night’s female characters. There are three waves of feminism in the nineteenth and twentieth century that each compare to select characters. The first wave of feminism is mostly characterized by the battle for women’s suffrage and right to property. It began in the late nineteenth century in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom (Aikau et al. 5). Women were still not seen as equal to men after this wave, but they were able to enjoy some of the same rights that were…

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