Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This weeks topic was surprisingly fascinating, as I had expected to hear about what I had previously discussed about the women of shakespeare during the English classes when I was reading those plays.  Mrs. Hamovitt did not simply talk about literary devices, however, (which I appreciate) but went in depth about the attitude towards women (particularly strong women) at the time of Shakespeare.  I learned the the stronger a women became, the more quickly she was dismissed as crazy.  Something that I believe I will not forget, for example, is that the word 'hysteria' derived during the renaissance, coming from the latin word for uterus, hysterum.  

In Macbeth, we discussed how the witches and lady Macbeth largely drove the storyline for most of the play.  they were not necessarily respected leaders, however, because witches during that time were burned at the stake, and Lady Macbeth was driven mad by the end of the play.  What I found most interesting about that was how lady Macbeth seemed to regret ever having tried to lead her husband, and suddenly, moments before her death, wished to be a a loving wife and mother and asked Macbeth to go to bed with her.  The theme of powerful women being driven mad and regretful for their actions continues in the example of Calphernia in Julius Cesaer, as she is shamed by her husband for imploring her to stay home, simply because he found it embarrassing in front of a male colleague.

The women in Shakespeare's plays are strong for the renaissance, but ultimately never end up on top.  They also are all characters driven by their male counterparts.  No woman has a motive for herself that doesn't have to do with a man.  It was an enlightening lecture that I will remember in English class for every story we read, not just Shakespeare's.

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