Vinsamlegast notið þetta auðkenni þegar þið vitnið til verksins eða tengið í það: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/34782
This essay explores how William Shakespeare represents women in the sixteenth century through his literary works. The female characters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing and the Twelfth Night are analyzed. Therefore, self-governing female characters such as, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Beatrice and Viola encourage the idea of Shakespeare representing a rather modernistic idea of a woman. Although the female characters in the plays are embodied with liberty, it is important to remember how women outside the theater existed and what their status was in society during the sixteenth century. When considering the female characters in Shakespeare’s tragedies, it becomes apparent that the women help male characters develop in the plot, while they themselves retire from the leading character into a minor role, which later concludes with death. Furthermore, when considering Shakespearian comedies, the outcome for women is similar. Although Shakespearian comedies tend to conclude with a pleasing ending, it does not seem to be the case for Beatrice as she accepts marriage due to pressure and social humiliation. This essay is an analysis of how women are depicted through gender status, language and historical context. Issues such as women’s independence and self-awareness will be examined as well, as the language used towards women, or by women. Finally, there will be a connection made between Shakespeare’s female characters and factual phenomena. For the purpose of finding a connection of women’s independence in sixteenth-century literature works. An overview is provided by examining existing research in the field, such as, close readings, textual analysis of Shakespeare’s work and different points of interpretation.