Gender Expectations And Women´S Role During The Elizabethan Era

1198 words - 5 pages

Introduction
Gender expectations limited personal choice to a great extent during the Elizabethan Era. The Elizabethan Era was the period in which Elizabeth I ruled England from 1558-1603. There was a strong view on women should be the property of men and must obey them. William Shakespeare influenced this time period massively and incorporated the different gender roles and expectations into his plays. Personal is defined as something concerning one's private life, relationships, and emotions rather than one's career or public life. Choice is defined as an act of choosing between two or more possibilities. Therefore personal choice can be seen as how someone chooses to life their personal ...view middle of the document...

”[Induction, Scene2, Line10]. Sly's ignorance of social custom shows that she is rebelling against the idea that men are the higher sex and that she is owned by her husband. Beatrice from 'Much ado About Nothing also revolts against the inequality between men and women, “Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd with a piece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none. Adam's sons are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kinred. [Act 2, Scene 1, Line 57] . Beatrice uses 'man' in the general sense (as in mankind), she then talks the inequality of genders when married. 'Ashes to ashes' is a notation that everyone is equal, so Beatrice states that it isn't fitting that woman should be ruled by a man. The concept of being owned by man once a woman is married limits the personal choice and legal status of women entirely.

Marriage
Getting married wasn't always a young girls dream during the Elizabethan Era. Once married, the woman lost all her rights as stated before, this limited her greatly as she had to obey her husband. A woman would be owned by her father and then passed on to her husband like property, not a human being. Queen Elizabeth I was reluctant to marry as she would have to obey her husband and he would rule England. Marry Queen of Scots- Elizabeth's cousin- had to obey her husband Lord Darnley. 'I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman;but I have the heart and stomach of a King' - Queen Elizabeth I during her Spanish Armada Speech. This quote shows that Queen Elizabeth knows she is of the weaker sex. A woman would on average have a baby every two years and to 'dishonour' by loss of virginity resulted in serious punishment for both woman and her father. This was the position Hero- in 'Much Ado About Nothing' was put in when she was framed of having an affair with someone when she was meant to marry Claudio, “There, Leonato, take her back again. Give not this rotten orange to your friend. She's but sign and semblance of her honour” (Act 4, scene 1, lines 31-33). Describing Hero as a rotten orange means that her looks remain the same however she has become rotten on the inside. This shows that women could be accused of...

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