Romeo And Juliet Patriarchy

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Elizabethan England is most commonly defined as “the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558–1603). Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history.” (Guy 32) This may strike people of the modern era as a tad confusing. How can a time period be so blatantly described as the, “golden age in English history” when half the population of that country was subjected to oppression? The patriarchy of England during this time period worked to force women into submission as they were thought to be inferior through their role as the weaker gender. These ideologies were carried onto popular works of literature produced in this time. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet reflects this reality through his depiction of…show more content…
He is her father and makes decisions on her behalf because it is his right as a man. Therefore he believes that his gender coupled with his status as her father makes him more than qualified to decide on who she marries, when she marries him and any other significant decisions in her life. This could add to the idea that women are not capable of making their own decisions and therefore need their families, specifically their fathers to handle these matters for them. According to Ahsan, this was a general trend for women in that era because, “their suggestions carried no value, they were not included in making important decisions, they were excluded from all important matters.” (Ahsan 2) This further adds to the fact that they were inferior to men. Because they were not capable of handling matters in their own life, their power in society and within their families was significantly reduced. A male role in deciding the fate of a woman additionally reaffirms the reality that is a patriarchal society. Women are to be controlled in every aspect by men because they are treated and valued to the same extent as an object. In the Shakespearean era, this was a reality as, “a majority of women had very limited rights in England. Despite the fact that England was ruled by a female monarch for over four decades, most women had little power over the direction of their lives.” (Flores 1) Women were forced into a submissive role so much so that it had become…show more content…
This role had many requirements. Of the most important were a woman’s ability to accommodate her husband’s needs through her activity in her home, her ability to act in a subservient manner around a man, and her physical attractiveness. The gender roles and requirements present for women within the play were not ideas that arose independently. The conditions that women were subjected to within the play and in the Elizabethan era were the result of more than 1600 years of oppression and that is just from the Common Era. Women had experienced unequal treatment from the moment settled society and agriculture had begun to develop. The standard of expected perfection was raised so much so that, “in a woman they looked for patience, chastity, reticence, humbleness, modesty, faithfulness, self-control, goodness, sympathy, and compassion, but for themselves (men) they could stoop as low as possible.” (Ahsan 3) The fact that such drastic double standards existed, even to this day, is appalling. In conclusion, it should be understood that cultural trends like gender inequality that were so deeply imbedded into societal values had surely stood the test of time. The Elizabethan Era was indeed golden age of England for a large variety of reasons. However, with the aforementioned analysis of the depiction of women during this era kept in mind, it was not the golden age for

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