Gender In Shakespeare's As You Like It

1967 words - 8 pages

Questions of Gender in Shakespeare's As You Like It

 
     Throughout history, men and women have been assigned specific roles to which society prescribes standards and qualifications. There are certain tasks that have been traditionally completed only by men, and others that have been assigned to women; most of which are separated by the realm of the domestic sphere. During the period of the Renaissance, men and women were assigned very different roles within society. The value, social expectations, legal status, and rights of citizenship differed greatly between the sexes as well as among the classes. Many of these gender roles can be identified through careful readings of the ...view middle of the document...

Such a life was impossible for women . . . because for a woman, a public reputation was dishonorable, a sure sign of immorality and scandal" (Wiesner 12). Women were excluded from any position of meaningful authority in any realm of society. Men were even valued for their ability to classify an object or being as beautiful. During this period of great creative accomplishments, men may ". . . have taken to commerce or to drink, but as a matter of fact they took to visible beauty" (Putnam 164). They established beauty as an important quality of life, and only men had the capacity to differentiate between that which was beautiful and not beautiful.

Women, therefore, were often valued for their physical features. In the Renaissance, ". . . the beauty of woman is more praised and esteemed than any other beauty . . . [for] it appears to be the order of nature that what is lacking in one sex is supplied in the other, and since man is endowed with wit, judgement, and a mind almost divine, . . . woman is given bodily beauty that she may be superior to man in this respect" (Camden 20). Women were object to be viewed with pleasing affections, not with any sense of worth other than their physical features; ". . . the only positive demand of the woman was that she should be beautiful" (Putnam 164-165). Women were also valued for qualities that define them as submissive and passive. A woman's character should consist of specific attributions such as chastity, modesty, humility, constancy, temperance, piety, patience, and kindness (Dunn 17). All of the characteristics listed describe someone who has no authority in decisions and subscribes to being passive and obedient. Also, "her behavior was carefully prescribed. She was to tend to her household duties industriously, . . . she must be silent most of the time and not speak out or argue, . . . [and] she must never be witty or clever" (Dunn 17). It becomes quite obvious that the value of women during the Renaissance was almost opposite than that of men.

The legal status of men and women in Elizabethan society also had distinct features. While men held almost absolute authority, married women had virtually no rights as citizens. "Women differed from the men in their ability to be witnesses, make wills, act as guardians for their own children, make contracts, and own, buy , and sell property" (Wiesner 4). They were legally powerless in the society in which they lived. The men in their lives, whether their fathers or their husbands, had complete control over all constitutional matters of their lives. Women were definitely not free; "'free' meant to them [Renaissance scholars] enjoying the rights and privileges of a citizen and possessing an educated capacity for reason, neither of which was possible for women" (Wiesner 1). While married women had few rights within society, "single women, whether widowed or unmarried, could, if they were of full age, inherit and administer land, make a will, sign a...

Other Essays Like Gender In Shakespeare's As You Like It

Belonging; as You Like It Essay

952 words - 4 pages belonging have been effectively communicated through William Shakespeare’s comedy “As you like it”, John Donne’s poem “Batter My Heart” and David Fincher’s movie, “The Game”. It is through these texts, that the composers have been able to effectively communicate the concepts and features of belonging and not belonging. William Shakespeare has been able to effectively demonstrate the impacts of the past experiences of belonging with the use of

As You Like It - From Triviality To Complexity

1579 words - 7 pages reveal the truth.I do not agree with critics who consider this play as a trivial one and that is the reason I choose to write about the complexity of As You Like It. I want to insist on the fact that Rosalind is a superior character, who controls everything; Shakespeare even seems to live in her hands the final of this play, but everything is calculated to produce an effect on the public. And this effect is essential and reveals the appearance of

Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 2,

1182 words - 5 pages upset and shocked "he" faints. Aliena and Oliver fall in love after their brief meeting.(All throughout this there is a little love triangle between Audrey, William and Touchstone. Touchstone loves Audrey is a sexual way, and William loves Audrey in a shy way. Audrey and Touchstone end up getting married with the other couples)And now we come to this part of the play "As You Like It" - Act 5 Scene 2. This scene is set in the mystical Forest of Arden

Belonging Shakespeares as You Like It and Tim Wintons Cloudstreet

686 words - 3 pages as unstable and tumultuous. Similar to As you like it, Cloudstreet begins in conflict and social alienation but ends with harmony, love and marriage that has been fostered by altered outlooks. The unforeseen marriage of Quick and Rose presents the importance reconciliation can have to belonging. “Together they make a balloon of heat inside the cold nausea of that dead room whose timbers twist and creek; a new dwelling place. Love rattles the

Gender bending concept in 'Some Like It Hot'

1034 words - 5 pages character development, the crucial tipping point for all characters involved in the plot including the comedic value expected from the cross dresser as expected from a gender bending comedy. Bibliography. Refractory. 2012. Disruptive Influence: The Enduring Appeal of Some Like It Hot – Suzanne Woodward. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Mar 2014]. Garber, Marjorie. Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing & Cultural Anxiety. New York: Routledge, 1992. Kuhn, Annette. The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality. London; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

Gender Justice: What Does It Look Like

2370 words - 10 pages between men and women as well as the process to bring about the change.The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth United Nations General World Conference on Women in 1995 required member countries to ensure fundamental rights of both men and women in all areas. It was recognized that there is a tendency of marginalization of "women's issues" as a separate and somewhat inferior status. Gender mainstreaming by which all strategies

It Feels Miserable Without You…Almost Like Having You Here

1400 words - 6 pages Satire. A trend of the ancient times, following America like a lost a puppy. But where did it come from? Why did it get started? To answer these questions take a look at satirical historians. They believe the starting point of satire most likely goes back to many ancient ethnic groups who used it in rituals. The people believed that their words were just as powerful as their swords, making satire a thing to be feared. In fact, satire was so

You Know That When Expanding and Investing in Projects Overseas as Acme Plans to, It Is Essential to Understand Such Things as Return on Equity (Roe) and Internal Rate of Return (Irr). Using Internet...

655 words - 3 pages Return on Equity (ROE) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) are two very important tools which can be used in decision making in expanding and investing in overseas projects. Return on Equity (ROE) tells how much profit company is generating with shareholder's money. ROE is calculated as: ROE = Net Income/Shareholder's equity This net income is income after paying tax and preferred stock dividend but before paying common stock dividend.ROE

Compare the Representation of Teenage Girls in the Films ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and ‘Mean Girls’

1185 words - 5 pages Compare the representation of teenage girls in the films ‘Bend it like Beckham’ and ‘Mean girls’ Bend it like Beckham was released in 2002 and was directed by Gurinder Chauda. The main parts of Jess and Jules are played by Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightly. Gurinder Chauda has also directed ‘Angus thongs and perfect snogging’, ‘Bhaji on a beach’ and ‘What’s cooking?’ They are all light hearted chick flicks as well as all British films. Mean

The Mythilogical Figure Bellerophon. It Is Written In First Person Perspective Like Bellerophon Is The Speaker

532 words - 3 pages I, the once great and powerful Bellerophon, shall tell you the tale of how greed and jealousy led to my destruction. Born the son of a human mother and the God Poseidon, at birth my destiny pretold of a greatness disturbed. During my childhood on earth with my mother Eurynome and my foster father Glaucus, I developed a fascination with horses. Both of my fathers, known as expert horse riders, surrounded me with animals. This involvement in

Ironic, Isn’T It Oedipus As In Most Ancient Greek Plays,

777 words - 4 pages Ironic, Isn't it Oedipus As in most ancient Greek plays, dramatic irony plays a huge role in Sophocles's "Oedipus the King." From the beginning of the play Oedipus is ignorant of the dreadful acts he has committed: the murder of his father and marrying his mother. But the audience watching the play is well aware of these facts. Therefore every word, every reaction of Oedipus' with regards to the murder lends itself to dramatic irony. This

Related Papers

Analysis Of Shakespeare's “As You Like It”

956 words - 4 pages Analysis of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” Act I: Orlando, the youngest son of the recently deceased Sir Rowland de Bois, describes his unfortunate state of affairs to Adam, Sir Rowland’s loyal former servant. Upon his father’s death, Orlando was bequeathed a mere 1,000 crowns, a paltry sum for a young man of his social background. His only hope for advancement is if his brother, Oliver, honours their father’s wish and provides him with a

As You Like It Essay

1601 words - 7 pages a place in the world helps shape our identity, ideology and sense of self as well as depicting how the barriers that prevent belonging can create a need to belong. These three texts all depict aspects of belonging and show that belonging must arise out of the connections we make with others and the world around us. The setting of As You Like It plays a crucial role in shaping the idea of belonging in the play. Like the typical pastoral, the

As You Like It Essay

801 words - 4 pages Introduction: The theory to truly belong, one must truly understand is seen through Shakespeare’s play As You Like It and artwork Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States by Frida Kahlo, as one’s inability to understand their own identity and the difference of others can lead to exclusion and alienation. As You Like It In As You Like It, Oliver and Duke Frederick do not truly belong, as they do not fully

As You Like It Essay

1222 words - 5 pages she thinks of it as a sport, and that one should not love in earnest or let her honor be threatened. The two cousins joke about the roles of Fortune and Nature in determining a person’s appearance and character. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Touchstone, whose dullness is a source of humor, “the whetstone of the wits.” Touchstone reports to Celia that her father desires to see her and makes various jesting side