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Shakespeare, Helena, And Feminism

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Shakespeare, Helena, and Feminism
Before someone has the ability to analyze a female character in one of William Shakespeare’s works, one must take into account Shakespeare’s views on feminism, as well as how females were viewed in the time period. Is Shakespeare teaching us that women have no greater value than a breeding mule, or that women are truly property, simply to be owned by men? Obviously Shakespeare’s opinion is that women are inferior to men, seeming that his views are clearly portrayed by Helena’s character in A Midsummers night’s dream.
Helena, portrayed as a poor dopey-eyed woman, in love with a man who does not desire her, symbolizes a trampled woman in need of a self-esteem boost. Helena is not so different than most women depicted in this time period. During the 15th and 16th centuries women were considered inferior to men, property of men, not much more than breeding stock expected to deliver heirs. Helena is depicted as a fool, a needy whiny woman who nobody loves. Helena, who is so consumed with her love of Demetrius, chases him into the wood begging him for attention, “I am your spaniel” ( ). Helena is begging Demetrius to love her again, telling him that the more he tells her no, the more he demands she go away, the stronger her emotions become. Helena cannot allow him to leave, even after he threatens her reputation and safety, she still desires to marry Demetrius. Helena is completely submissive in this scene, proclaiming that her desires mean
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