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The Treatment of Women in Shakespear´s Romeo and Juliet Essay

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Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in the 16th century, at a time when the role of the woman was to be subservient to men and act as a wife to their husband and a mother to their children. Women were expected to conform to the expectations of society, and were seen as possessions by their fathers and husbands. Fathers arranged their daughters’ marriages, usually for financial or social gain for the family. In Romeo and Juliet, the unfair treatment of women is conveyed through characters such as Juliet, a young girl who is growing up within the expectations of society, and Lady Capulet, who represents a traditional side of love, and values social position rather than men themselves. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet centres on the…show more content…
Young women could potentially be harmed if they were not physically ready to bear children, which highlights that the treatment of women was harsh and that from a male perspective, their ability to produce children was more important than their health. Additionally, Capulet is very complimentary to females, and calls them ‘earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light’, using a beautiful metaphor to contrast between dark and light to show he appreciates women. This establishes that Capulet is very admiring of attractive females and compares them to nature. In the opening lines of Act 1 Scene 3, it is implied that there is a stronger bond between Juliet and the Nurse than Juliet and her own mother, from the fact that Lady Capulet calls on the Nurse and asks ‘Nurse, where’s my daughter?’ From this we can understand that Lady Capulet relies on the Nurse to tell her where Juliet is, and is an ineffectual mother. This emphasises that mothers were distant from their children during Elizabethan times, and gives the impression that mothers had more important things to do than bring up their daughters. The Nurse provides a humorous anecdote from Juliet’s childhood, remembering how she fell over on her face, and how her husband had commented ‘Thou wilt fall backward when
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