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In Richard the third, there are many different female characters that are put in contrast to men. The audience is aware of their presence and effect on the men in the play. In this essay the four main female characters will have a character analysis and viewing scenes when women overcome men or either the men make them look vulnerable. The traditional view of men was that they were Dominant, strong, brave, owner and Lord of all that he possessed. The traditional view of women was the object of possession, weak, obedient and homely.
They were taught to stay at home, cook for the husband and bring up the children, also to generally do everything in her power to look beautiful for her husband. Men were expected to go out and work, to bring in money to bring up his family, to treat his wife as he saw fit and to be the master of the house. Shakespeare’s time is actually different to Richard the thirds time, however the view on women is still the same. However, ironically some of the strongest monarchs that England has seen have been women. This shows that although times change, women can still prove to be just as strong as the men.
Such as, Bodica who lead her Viking troops into war and defeated the Romans many times. Elizabeth the first was also a very strong monarch in Shakespeare’s time. That time was a patriarchal society, so men, who could influence the characters in Richard the third, dominated it. Women are seen as the victims. However, the longest reigning monarch is Victoria who reigned for 60 years. This demonstrates long life, strength in war and battle, and also strength of mind in many situations. Shakespeare’s female characters have been demonstrated as weak.
Such as Lady Macbeth. When she knows she has to murder another human, she calls “unsex me now”, which would demonstrate her needing to lose her traditional feminine self and caring characteristics to enable her to do such a deed. She has been subverted to the patriarchal society. Another female character that Shakespeare’s written of, is Hero in Much ado about nothing. She plays a weak character that the male villains set up a plot against her in front of her betrothed and other male witnesses. The plot is then announced in front of her whole family and household.
She is disgraced and Claudio will not marry her. In order to prove her innocence, she has to deceive all of her household until her innocence is found when she can truly step back into society. However, a very strong character is shown in the same play. Beatrice is a strong minded, outspoken and somewhat swaggering. Especially in her responses when Benedict challenges her, a male character that mirrors her perfectly. If the play were not set in such a loving family environment, she would not be accepted as an honorable wife or possession.
How the story ends is her strong character is just a front, and she loses it when she falls in love with her reflective character, as she does not feel threatened anymore. In Richard the third, there are many female characters that reflect Shakespeare’s views on females. The first character analysis is of Lady Anne: She is a woman in control and shows this in the first sexual scene when Richard seduces her. She is shown up at first as weak. She is walking behind the coffin of her dead father; this shows that the strong male in her life is no longer there to support her.
She is also in mourning and very vulnerable as she could be bewildered about her emotions. Richard knows this and so he makes sure it is used to his advantage. Everything he says to try and woe her though, she throws back at him. Line 50 Act 1 scene2 “Foul devil [… ] trouble us not” and on Line 70 “villain, [… ] no beast so fierce. These are insults thrown at Richard to make it seem like she does not care for his compliments and this male character will not knock her down. She represents female characters as strong in this scene, even if it is just a front to protect her from the exposed position she finds herself in.
However, Richard always replies with a compliment in order to woe her and targets her vanity. This works and she shows that she is helpless when she is flattered by comments like… Line 49 act 1 scene 2 “Sweet saint [… ] be not so curst. ” Here, Richard is deluding her whilst aiming at her weakness as he does with each of his victims in different ways. The significance that she is a woman is important because it demonstrates her as being a specific target that he is weakening.