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Gender

Gender

Elizabethan Expectations of Gender


 MaleFemale 
 Protective
Obedient
 StrongChaste 
 ProudSilent
 UnemotionalPious
 ProviderConstant
 HonourHumble
 LeadersPatient 
 DecisiveWeak 
 AggressiveSubmissive 

Shakespeare allows males to display "female" characteristics and vice versa.  His greatest female characters are all the more extraordinary for the time he wrote in.


Some of the ways Shakespeare's female characters are more than the passive gender:

  • self-awareness
  • use reason
  • mobile
  • control the action (though often by dressing as a man)
  • intelligent
  • strong characters
  • have integrity
  • able to defend themselves
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