Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women In Shakespeare

Learning about women in Shakespeare was a new concept to me. Although Shakespeare has women in his play they don’t play a huge part in the scene and are typically rushed off stage. Each social class has specific jobs for women, if you were upper class you could be a wife, mother, daughter (to be offered for marriage), nun or if tragedy struck your family you could be a widow. If you’re middle or lower class you could be a wife, mother, daughter (and you could marry for love), or work in trade. There was also the option to be a wet nurse, upper class women would have children and send the babies to the countryside to these women who would breast feed and raise these children.
The role model forced upon women in the Renaissance era was the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary was the ideal women, things were done in her honor. As a women your duty was to get married and have children. I find it hysterical that women were supposed to be model saints, and were put on this pedestal that is nearly impossible to achieve in life. Why did only women have to act this way and not the men too?
Men diagnosed women with hysteria because doctors believed that a woman's uterus caused you to go crazy when it was actually just PMS. Whenever a women tried to be a powerful influence, be confident or even show affection towards their husbands or fathers they had to be put in place. Calpurnia is talking to her husband, Julius Caesar, and they’re having a tender moment together but when he is in front of a crowd he mocks her and makes her kneel to him. Calpurnia is worried for her husband and expressing her troubles and Julius Caesar is embarrassed, he reminds his wife that she has yet to have a baby and publicly embarrasses her to prove that he is not a sap.
Hearing Mrs. Hamovit’s presentation really got me to thinking about the women we read in Shakespeare and how they are so easily ridden off. Women today have more opportunities in looking for a job and are not forced to being a stay at home mother if they do not wish to be one. Although women can have powerful roles in business companies, government etc. we are still seen as weak compared to men. I would like to say we have taken leaps and bounds from how women were treated in the Renaissance era and written about in Shakespeare plays but have we really gotten that far? We certainly have more issues but there is clearly still a divide and gender roles and norms for men and women and maybe we won’t see equality until we crush those stereotypes.

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