Ancient Egypt Essay

1382 Words 6 Pages
Within the society of ancient Egypt, having a good Pharaoh was considered to be absolutely vital for the functioning of the country; and it was for this reason that Egypt had been ruled by these supposedly half gods half humans for over three thousand years. The position of the Pharaoh was auspiciously passed down through the royal family and traditionally to the eldest son when his father died. Hatshepsut was a significant individual who thwarted this convention by depicting herself as a male so that after her husband/brother Thutmosis II died suddenly she could become Pharaoh instead of the rightful successor, who was Thutmosis III. Because of the male-governed society of which she had lived in, Hatshepsut had to indeed subvert the …show more content…
This inequality extended further to who could hold positions of power. Apart from the two most distinctly famous female Pharaohs Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, most other known monarchs of ancient Egypt were male. Furthermore, Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of ancient Egypt while Hatshepsut ruled more than a millennium before her. The fact that even today, the term ‘Pharaoh’ normally has connotations with being male is suggestive that Egypt was essentially a male dominated country where a position of such high power was distinctly reserved for men. According to the highly acclaimed National Geographic journalist Chip Brown (2009), “kingship was meant to be passed down from father to son, not daughter”. From this it is evident that Pharaonic power was strictly reserved for men and thus that Hatshepsut would have subverted the patriarchal order to some extent for her to rule Egypt.
Through the propaganda she used and hoodwinking of the general populace into believing that she was a man when she was quite obviously a woman, Hatshepsut was able to subvert the patriarchal order to become Pharaoh of Egypt in 1473 BC. By becoming the monarch, Hatshepsut forfeited her representation as a beautiful woman and instead “chose to be represented as a man in both statues and illustrations on temple walls” (Thomas, 2003, p. 9). In doing this she shifted the predominantly male-based system into one that accepted her as a female ruler. An ancient
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