Stereotypes In Shakespeare's Works

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Shakespeare and Stereotypes Shakespeare’s famous works can be found almost anywhere. What made his works-- more specifically his plays-- so popular? In the “Revisiting Shakespeare and Gender” critique by Jeanne Marcum Gerlach, Rudolph Almasy, and Rebecca Daniel, they explain how Shakespeare broke through the Renaissance female stereotypes. In the critique, they explain how and why he did so as well as bringing these qualities to today’s society. They supply examples such as Portia from The Merchant of Venice and Rosalind from As You Like It. These strong women break through the stereotypes of Renaissance females by taking control and showing common masculine qualities for that time period-- which was rare during that time. As they provide…show more content…
Juliet shows that women play an important role in any relationship-- even if the two families are enemies. First of all, Juliet proposes to Romeo-- not the other way around "If that thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow," (2.2.157-158). This shows Juliet’s strength because she knows what she wants, unlike other female characters in Shakespeare’s plays. Juliet rebels against her family as well to get what she wants. No woman in that time would dare to do such a thing. She agrees to take the potion from Friar Lawrence to be with Romeo: “Give me, give me! O, tell me not of fear!” (4.1.131). She is desperate to take the potion so she doesn’t have to marry Paris. Usually the woman would just agree with it-- even if she doesn’t want to. Juliet breaks through the obedience stereotype to be happy with the man she truly loves. But through a man’s eyes in Romeo and Juliet, men see women differently: “Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, / So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies / Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes” (2.3.73-75). Men are shown as only loving how women look and not their personality or skills. Shakespeare was supporting the stereotypes here when he portrays women as mere objects. But that was a stereotype back then: women were meant to be the nurturers in the home; nothing more. But Romeo has some feminine qualities that need to be considered as well. “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs, / Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes, / Being vex’d, a sea nourish’d with loving tears” (1.1.190-193). Romance fills his daily thoughts which gives him satisfaction and the utmost happiness. His thoughts result in him being teased by his friends and enemies. He also states that he sees them lower in status compared to Juliet which seemed terribly wrong back then: “O, speak again,

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