Feminism In King Lear

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According to Steven Lynn’s Texts and Context: Writing About Literature with Critical Theory, Lynn mentions that the purpose of the feminist criticism as analytical tool is to identify and challenge the ways in which women are oppressed”(Lynn 221). Women during the Elizabethan Period (1555-1603) were “subservient to men”( Elizabethan Era). Expected and raised with morals and values to believe they were inferior to men, to obey their husbands, to forge alliances with other powerful families through arranged marriages, Elizabethan women only learned certain skills at home. They learn various languages, dancing, music, and sewing. However, the women portrayed in William Shakespeare’s King Lear defy the traditional gender role for the Elizabethan time. The women in this play should not be underestimated. They are not your typical, sensitive, sheepish, loving women that the time expected of them. Goneril and Regan reveal a hunger for power through their words and violent actions, portraying women in a derogatory way while Cordelia the good daughter’s opposition to her sisters leads to her death. The chaos begins when King Lear of Britain elects to retire his kingdom to his daughters by playing a silly love test. The daughter that professes the most love for him will determine how he will distribute the land. The lust for power is evident in both Regan and Goneril when they profess their love with loaded language and not out of sincerity but out of greed for power (Rubio
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