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GENDER ROLES IN ELIZABETHAN SOCIETY

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GENDER ROLES IN ELIZABETHAN SOCIETY Bharathi Ram Kiely Pham Scott Sok Samir Hamsafar Pauli Wilhemsen ELIT 17 PESANO Gender Roles in Shakespeare Gender roles in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: GENDER ROLES IN ELIZABETHAN SOCIETY


1
GENDER ROLES IN ELIZABETHANSOCIETY
Bharathi Ram Kiely Pham Scott Sok Samir
Hamsafar Pauli Wilhemsen
ELIT 17 PESANO
2
Gender Roles in Shakespeare
  • Gender roles in Shakespeares work is a critical
    point in understanding the characters involved.
  • Overall, Shakespeare sees women as extremely
    powerful beings, even if they are not viewed as
    such by society. However, Shakespeare still
    acknowledges in this work that women are often,
    unfairly or not, the scapegoats or the tools of
    men.
  • Possibly a tribute to Queen Elizabeth.

3
Power factor in Gender Roles
  • Shakespeare often plays with gender roles in
    his writing, sometimes making women more or less
    powerful in actuality than they originally
    appear.
  • In Macbeth for example, Shakespeare explores the
    relationship between gender and power, portraying
    male characters as strong willed and courageous,
    but at the same time giving a female
    characterLady Macbeth a ruthless, power-hungry
    personality which is typically more associated
    with masculinity.
  • The main source of Macbeths power stems from his
    wife, Lady Macbeth who is the brains behind the
    plot to murder King Duncan and seize the throne
    of Scotland. The type of power that Lady Macbeth
    wields over her husband is unusual in literature
    of this time, and certainly would have been
    atypical for a husband and wife during the time
    in which Macbeth is set.

4
Contrasting Views
  • Shakespeare often contrasts mens view of women
    with womens view of men.
  • For example, in Othello, Iago warns Othello
    "Look to your wife observe her well with Cassio
    Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure...
    They women dare not show their husbands their
    best conscience/ Is not to leave't undone, but
    keep it unknown.
  • Iago describes women as deceptive and secretive
    people, who have the somewhat surprising ability
    (surprising in the sense that men during this
    time period controlled their women, or at least
    believed they could control them in whatever way
    they wished) to manipulate and deceive their
    husbands.

5
Contrasting Views (cont.)
  • Another  example is given by Iago's wife, Emilia, 
    when she complains about how women seem 
    to serve as men's scapegoat for everything. 
    She says "A man... They are all 
    but stomachs, and we are all but 
    food They eat us hungerly, and when 
    they are full, They belch us.
  • Emilia touches on exactly what Iago is doing to
    Desdemona using her as a scapegoat for his own
    villainous actions. Emilia complains that men
    only use women, using the metaphor of a hungry
    person eating until they are full and then moving
    on. Although Iago uses Desdemona for furthering
    his evil plan, he doesn't actually belittle her.
    In a weird and twisted way, Iago has praised
    women for having the keen ability to outsmart
    their husbands, although he warns Othello against
    this.

6
  • The protestant leader John Knox wrote
  • "Women in her greatest perfection was made to
    serve and obey man. 
  • Even though there was an unmarried woman on the
    throne in Elizabethan England, the roles of women
    in society were very limited.
  • Most women were given education only if they were
    members of the nobility. Otherwise, they had to
    stay home and learn to run the household and
    become the housewife.
  • Many women in this period were highly educated,
    like the Queen herself, who was tutored by the
    famous Elizabethan scholar Roger Ascham.
  • Education included knowledge of several
    languages, including Latin, Greek, Italian, and
    French. However, even noblewomen were not allowed
    to go to university and were only taught by
    tutors who visited them in their home.

7
  • Women were not allowed to enter the professions
    i.e law, medicine, politics, but they could work
    in domestic service as cooks, maids etc, and a
    female painter.
  • Women were also allowed to write works of
    literature, providing the subject was suitable
    for women mainly translations or religious
    works. Women were not allowed to act on the
    public stage or write for the public stage.
  • They were strictly forbidden from the Army and
    Navy.
  • From birth, Elizabethan era women were taught how
    to
  • govern a household and perform domestic duties so
    that when they married, their husbands would be
    proud.
  • Childbearing was considered a great honor to
    women, as children were seen as blessings from
    God, and they took great pride in being mothers.

8
  • Women were regarded as "the weaker sex", not just
    in terms of physical strength, but emotionally
    too. All throughout their life, the women of the
    Elizabethan times were made to become dependent
    on a male relative - father, brother, uncle,
    husband, or other.
  • Disobedience was seen as a crime against their
    religion and the Church continuously quoted the
    Bible in order to ensure adherence to this
    principle.
  • Women, regardless of social position, were not
    allowed to vote. Neither could women inherit
    their father's titles. All titles would pass from
    father to son or brother to brother. They were
    strictly forbidden from the Army and Navy.
  • The only exception was, of course, the crown. The
    crown could pass to a daughter, and that daughter
    would be invested with all the power and Majesty
    of any king.
  • In a way, despite the limitations, women had more
    freedom in the Elizabethan period than they had
    had previously. The Renaissance brought with it a
    new way of thinking. It was thought men and women
    could do anything and be anything they wanted to
    be, that their capacity for knowledge was
    limitless. Thus, noble women were given an
    impressive education in the classics,
    mathematics, and all other academic subjects of
    the day.

WOMEN
9
HOMOSEXUALITY
  • The term homosexual was not used in during the
    Renaissance instead the term sodomy was used
    to label same sex relations.
  •  Elizabethans acknowledged the existence of
    same-sex desire through all levels of society,
    but religious teaching and the law strictly
    prohibited sodomy.
  •  Such acts could be presented as evidence of
    witchcraft or wizardry, and those caught in the
    act (or in some cases accused) could be put to
    death.
  • Shakespeare and Homosexuality
  • Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece
    dedicated to the Earl of Southampton.
  •  
  • Shakespeares Sonnets are clearly addressed to a
    young man.
  •  
  • Was Shakespeare gay?
  • What is Queer Theory?

10
CROSSDRESSING
  • Sumptuary Laws called the 'Statutes of Apparel'
    attempted to limit the expenditure of people on
    clothes and to maintain the social structure of
    the class system.
  • So crossdressing threatened the carefully
    constructed hierarchal social order, and
    regulation of dress was necessary to mark and
    secure social difference.
  • These statues were impossible to enforce and were
    essentially a lost cause.
  •  Shakespeare, Crossdressing, and the Theatre
  • Actors were exempted from the Sumptuary Laws on
    stage, but outside of the theatre they could not
    legally wear their costumes. 
  • Women were forbidden to act on the public stage,
    so female roles were played by prepubescent
    boys. 
  • In certain comedies, women crossdressed as a
    strategy to achieve their goals.

11
MEN IN ELIZABETHAN ERA
  • Woman in this eras, lives are more analyzed and
    documented because of their limitations.
  • Men lived life as the superior gender, thus life
    was just considered normal.
  • Both gender and the patriarchal dominance were
    assumed to have been set in place by God and
    nature
  • Men virtually ran all aspects of society.
  • They were the only ones allowed to go to war.
  • To be lords and accepted artisans
  • Any position of power besides the queen.

12
MEN IN THE FAMILY
  • The Elizabethan family life for men was one of
    power. The men made the decisions and the women
    were expected to obey them.
  • The men were expected to support the family from
    a whole variety of occupations.
  • Expected to improve the positions of all members
    of the family through influence and patronage
    from wealthier people and families than their
    own.

13
QUIZ TIME!
  • How was it possible for a woman at the time to
    receive an education?
  • Name two characters from our past comedies that
    showed abnormal (for the time) strength as a
    woman?
  • What is the other term used for homosexuality
  • Who are Shakespeares sonnets directed to?
  • Who played women on stage?
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