This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

All’s Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare

1537 words - 6 pages

In William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, performance is closely intertwined with gender and identity. Because the traditional fairy-tale structure is inverted in the play, Bertram, the son of the late Count of Roussillon, is made to portray the traditionally female role, while Helen aptly performs that of the male. Bertram’s masculinity is collateral in Shakespeare’s reversal, as he is barred from asserting his own patriarchal power, and is thus left to attempt to form an identity through defiance. Bertram’s unwillingness – and later, inability – to play a new part in society implies that manifestations of gender are fundamentally a sort of performance, and are thus dependent upon direction, societal expectations of each sex, and the ability to portray a role that acknowledges the inversion of the social order. Because the play inverts the traditional positions of female and male characters, Bertram is forced to forge a new sort of identity, and its effectiveness becomes reliant on his ability to portray a challenging role in a foreign social and sexual hierarchy.
Like a stage actor, Bertram’s actions are contingent upon direction from his superiors and contemporaries. After Helen has chosen Bertram as her prize and husband, however, he resists, impeding upon the King’s authority by asking “But follows it, my lord, to bring me down / Must answer for your raising?” (2.3.108-109). By interpreting his new role as a form of declension and consequently defying the King, Bertram asserts his unwillingness to conform to his new role. He is admonished, however, as the King declares his directive authority by telling Bertram to “check [his] contempt; / obey [the King’s] will” (2.3.153-154). Upon the public stage, he appears to perform in compliance to the commands of the King, but while speaking privately with Paroles, Bertram illustrates the ways in which he believes he has been “Undone and unforfeited to cares for ever” (2.3.251). Bertram’s concern with being “undone” is revealing: he fears for the loss of his reputation, and an inability to “ever” gain it back. The inversion of gender permeates his fear, as it echoes Helen’s early statement that she “will stand for [her virginity] a little” (1.1.126), and suggests that Bertram has already subconsciously begun to conform to the role he attempts to defy. Bertram, a character who is constantly being given direction by others, is left lost when their demands pose a threat the development of his own masculinity. After retreating to the wars, Bertram unknowingly follows the direction set out for him by Helen, Diana, and the Widow in their “wicked act” (3.7.46). Helen plots Bertram’s actions with an incredible degree of precision, and he subconsciously follows them with theatrical aptitude – despite the fact that he believes he is still acting in defiance to the directions of others. Significantly, it is while Bertram is playing precisely into Helen’s plot that he most thinks he has escaped his...

Find Another Essay On All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare

Respect Well Deserv'd Shakespeare was a feminist, his writing proves it

2290 words - 9 pages treated. William Shakespeare must have had a problem with this. In several of his plays he dresses women as men. He was doing this to show that women can do anything that men can do. When, in The Twelfth night, Viola dresses as a man to gain rights, power, and freedom; it was Shakespeare's way of commenting on the lowly status of women in the society of the times.The Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, is open to interpretation. there is

How to Ensure the Call Center Staff Is Successful and That Customers Are Well Served

948 words - 4 pages How to Ensure the Call Center Staff Is Successful and That Customers Are Well Served There is several ways through which the management can ensure that distant call centers for their organizations are successful and that their customers are well served. Some of these include: Customer service staff training and development New employees should be thoroughly trained on communication skills over the phone and online. This should be done by

The Flaws that Lead to the Downfall of Othello and Macbeth in the Plays by William Shakespeare

1091 words - 5 pages Compare the Ways that Shakespeare Presents and Develops the Flaws that lead to the Downfall of Othello and Macbeth In the two plays both Macbeth and Othello have weaknesses that bring them astray this deteriorates their personality. Macbeth’s weakness is portrayed through his ambition, whereas Othello’s weakness is portrayed through his jealousy. Macbeth from the very start is described as a “good guy”… and he is also represented as a brave

Othello describes himself as "one that loved not wisely, but too well." Is this how we might judge him?

696 words - 3 pages , but too well."Othello is a man of action and as a result, is extreme in whatever course of action he chooses. Othello's extreme haste and resolve is best evidenced when he sorrowfully exclaims "Nay, that's certain; but yet the pity of it, Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it Iago!" a sorrowful cry for his belief that he has committed himself to action and although he wants to change his course of action, feels bound by a duty to act upon his previous

Is it right that college graduates earn higher salaries than the less well-educated in the community?

589 words - 2 pages in question rests on an assumption that it is always the case that people with higher education make more money than those less well-educated. But salary or income is, in most cases, based on contributions made by employees to companies or organizations in which they are employed. Statistics in the labor market indicate that people with professional training tend to find jobs easier than college graduates do and that blue-collar workers who do

Essay based on Macbeth by William Shakespeare following the question 'Some critics argue that Macbeth was not ultimately responsible for his eventual downfall. Discuss'

1310 words - 5 pages Macbeth is a tragedy written by the playwright William Shakespeare for King James VI. It is about Macbeths change from brave soldier to uncaring murderer. In this essay I will be discussing whether Macbeth was responsible for his actions and his ultimate downfall.The play starts with the three witches on a moor during a battle between the Scots and the King of Norway aided by the traitorous Thane of Cawdor. They plan to meet with Macbeth. By

(Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare) --- What do you think of the idea that Mercutio was killed off by Shakespeare as he is a much more interesting character than Romeo?

1333 words - 5 pages spotlight. He is evidently a most important character and his death has repercussions that reverberate throughout Verona. His death is, in effect, "a plague a' both" houses. Had he been allowed to live on, he would have overshadowed the romance itself and Shakespeare could not let that happen. The only way to turn the focus back onto Romeo is to get rid of Mercutio. After the ensuing fight, the audience forget about Mercutio and turn their attention to Romeo and Juliet. This saves the play from turning into a comedy but rather into a tragic tale of two "star-crossed lovers".[essay written by Jonathan Kenton]

If William Shakespeare's "King Lear" is a bleak nihilistic play or a hopeful one. This is a very informative well written essay

737 words - 3 pages King Lear: Is Lear a bleak, nihilistic play, or a hopeful one?The play King Lear can easily be portrayed as one that is bleak, and nihilistic but this in not the case. Many people interpret the play to be about the wrongful acts of others and the effects that they cause. That is not the case. The truth is that the play King Lear is quite opposite of this and is actually about the loyalty, nobility and helpful acts by others in order to give hope

Proof That William Shakespeare Did Not Write All of His Works

801 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare is known as one the world’s most famous writers. This one man supposedly wrote thirty seven plays, one hundred and fifty four sonnets, and four poems. He was said to have such and insight of human nature and understanding of love, truth, and loyalty that it almost seemed impossible to for one man to write all one hundred and ninety five pieces of literature and create numerous words to add to the English language. There is a

An argument to support the view that "everything about the play [King Lear] hangs on the first two scenes not just the plot but the values as well."

1465 words - 6 pages An argument to support the view that 'everythingabout the play [King Lear] hangs on the first two scenes notjust the plot but the values as well.''King Lear, as I see it, confronts the perplexity and mystery of humanaction.' (Shakespeare's Middle Tragedies, 169) As the previous quotationfrom the scriptures of Maynard Mack implies, King Lear is a very complexand intricate play which happens to be surrounded by a lot of debate. 'Thefolio of 1623

This essay is a typical admissions essay that describes your personal and professional goals as well how how you plan on achieveing them

552 words - 2 pages growing up. I don't know what my father looks like. I've never had an older sister to get advice from. That's where my goal of having a family stems from. I want to share my life with someone as well as start a family so I can give my children what I never had. While this goal is not for the immediate future, it still means a lot to me and is one of my main goals.Each of these goals is each at different ends of the spectrum. By staying focused and poised I know that each goal is attainable. With your help I know I can reach the first, it's the second that's going to be a bit tricky.

Similar Essays

This Is An Excellent Review/Summery/Report On William Shakespeares' Alls Well That Ends Well

1213 words - 5 pages Well is likely an edited or reworked version that Shakespeare published at a later date.In either case, the source for the story is more obvious--it is derived, more or less directly, from the ninth story of the third day of Boccaccio's Decameron, a classic of early Renaissance literature written between 1348 and 1358. The work, and the story in question, were translated into English in the mid-16th century by William Painter as The Palace of

Comparing Sexuality In All's Well That Ends Well, Measure For Measure, And Troilus And Cressida

1488 words - 6 pages Women: Historical Facts and Dramatic Representations."  In Holland, Norman N., Sidney Homan, and Bernard J. Paris, eds.  Shakespeare's Personality.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. Shakespeare, William.  All's Well That Ends Well.  Bevington 362-403. ---.  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.  Bevington 1060-1116. ---.  Measure for Measure.  Bevington 404-443. ---.  Othello, the Moor of Venice.  Bevington 1117-1166

It All Turns Out Well In "Shakespeare In Love"

693 words - 3 pages 'It all turns out well'. What turns out well in Shakespeare in Love?It can be said that in John Maddens film Shakespeare in Love that 'It all turns out well'. The events which turn out well in Shakespeare in Love consist of the winning of the bet, Will joining the theater company, the production of 'Romeo and Ethel the pirates daughter', and Viola and Wills departure.Will is unable to write because of lack of inspiration. In the first scene Will

'in Act 1 Of Macbeth How Does Shakespeare Prepare The Audience For The Evil That Will Follow?' By William Shakespeare

2240 words - 9 pages before the murder. Macbeth declares "I am settled; and bend up/… false must hide what the false heart doth know." The last two lines end with a memorable rhyming couplet. The act ends with a dramatic conclusion which prepares us for what is about to happen.Overall, there are many themes that occur through the play. Ambition plays a key role as it drives many of the characters to their fate. William Shakespeare manages to capture the fine