Elizabethan Expectations of Gender


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