Shakespeare's Interpretation of Women in "Measure for Measure"

928 Words 4 Pages
Shakespeare's interpretation of women in Measure for Measure very much reflects society's opinion of women at the time, which was that men have more freedom and should be given more respect that women. The society of the time was a patriarchal one, where a male God was the ultimate leader, and below him came the king, then the nobles. However, although the society gave men more rights than women, Measure for Measure demonstrates that they also had more responsibilities. This is shown through the situation with Claudio and Juliet, as although they are both equally to blame for Juliet's pregnancy, it is Claudio facing the death penalty.

Shakespeare shows the Duke's opinion of women in act 5, scene 1, when the Duke talks to Mariana and
…show more content…
This could be Shakespeare taking some inspiration from the Bible, as Eve is associated with taking the apple from the Garden of Eden, and her selfishness causes suffering for everyone else. Isabella can also be seen to be controlled by religion, as it is her religious beliefs that prevent her from saving her brother's life. This helps to give the audience the impression that she is very easily led, and it is easy for others, especially men, to manipulate her.

Shakespeare demonstrates his opinion of the importance of women in the play through the characters alone. There are a total of eighteen male characters in the play, but only five female ones. As well as this, although Juliet is crucial to the plotline, she only has a speaking part in one scene, which is Shakespeare showing that he wants only the minimum amount of female appearances in the play to make it work. Juliet's lack of appearances and speech within the play shows that her opinion is very unimportant compared to the men's, and that they can take over the situation without any input from her.

It is notable also, that it is the male characters who have all the positions of power and authority within the play. They are the ones who control what goes on, for example, Angelo is the only one who can decide whether Claudio will live or die. This example also shows the

Related Documents

SOLIDWORKS | You're the Worst 8.6 | Cerberus