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Shakespeare And Feminism Essay Research Paper By

Shakespeare And Feminism Essay, Research Paper By examining Shakespeare?s treatment of familial ties in his plays The Life and Death of King John and The Winter?s Tale, we can see how his attitudes and opinions towards family relationships evolved. In King John (written between 1594 and 1596), Shakespeare adopts what was then a fairly conventional attitude towards family relationships: his characters never question the highly patriarchal family hierarchy.

Shakespeare And Feminism Essay, Research Paper

By examining Shakespeare?s treatment of familial ties in his plays The Life and Death of King John and The Winter?s Tale, we can see how his attitudes and opinions towards family relationships evolved. In King John (written between 1594 and 1596), Shakespeare adopts what was then a fairly conventional attitude towards family relationships: his characters never question the highly patriarchal family hierarchy. They also assume that the majority of wives will be unfaithful, simply because they are female?however, they take the charge of adultery rather lightly. By contrast, in The Winter?s Tale (written between 1610 and 1611), he adopts a much more progressive, feminist view of family relationships. Women have a higher standing and more power in The Winter?s Tale than they do in King John. Also, Shakespeare mocks and punishes husbands that assume their wives are unfaithful without sound evidence. In both plays, he criticizes power-based and political relationships, albeit in two very different ways. In all probability, Shakespeare?s increasingly radical thinking changed Elizabethan society.

The family relationships in King John are unquestionably male-dominated. All of the men have some sort of power over their female relatives. Constance?s life is ded⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ ЄAȁerful male characters, apparently unable to improve her own situation.

Lady Faulconbridge must also rely upon the men in her life. Her honor rests in the hands of her sons, Robert and Philip. Robert calls her honor into question by claiming that Philip is King Richard I?s natural son in order to secure his own inheritance (1.1.111). Philip supports this claim, renouncing the name of Faulconbridge and adopting that of Plantagenet. When Lady Faulconbridge realizes that she?s been discovered, she immediately explains and makes excuses for herself to Philip (now Richard), and receives his absolution (1.1). Their conversation disturbingly resembles a sinner?s confession to her priest. She tells Robert, ?Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!? (1.1.256). He replies by assuring her, ?And they shall say, when Richard me begot,/ If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin./ Who says it was, he lies; I say ?twas not? (1.1.274-76). This obviously highlights the power differential between the Lady and her son.

The most vivid example of King John?s patriarchalism is found in the character of John?s niece Blanche. Her entire life rests on the men in it, namely, King John and Lewis the Dauphin. King John marries her to the Dauphin, because, as Eleanor advises him,

For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie

Thy now unsured assurance to the crown

That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe

The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit (2.1.471-474).

After Blanche?s marriage, Lewis uses her claim to the throne as a⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ 팀 ?

팀 ? 팀 ? 쨀 ? 숀 A Ԁ 萎U葝Uࠀ 萘￸萙 ☛⍠Ȥ܀ ␃ሃa愀̤଀ ␃ᄃ킄ሂa怀킄愂̤଀ ␃༃䲄ዿa帀䲄懿̤଀ ␃༁䲄ዿa帀䲄懿Hᘀ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ ܀ ␃ሃa愀̤A Ԁ 萎U葝Uࠀ 萘￸萙 ☛⍠ȤԀthe fault was hers?/ Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands/ That marry wives? (1.1.118-20). No one contradicts either of them. Additionally, when Constance and Queen Eleanor begin to argue, they accuse each other of infidelity and call each other?s sons bastards. All of this shows that in King John, women were assumed to be less faithful than men.

Despite the fact that wives? adultery undermines the entire family structure by calling a man?s heir?s legitimacy into doubt, the main characters in King John seem to take it in stride. This is concurrent with prevailing attitudes in early modern times. Elizabethans regarded women as weak creatures, unable to deny either their baser instincts or their persuasive lovers. In fact, the Bastard uses this logic when he exonerates his mother. He tells her,

Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,

Subjected tribute to commanding love,

Against whose fury and unmatch?d force

The aweless lion could not wage the fight,

Nor keep his princely heart from Richard?s hand.

He that perforce robs lions of their hearts

May easily win a woman?s (1.1.263-69).

The characters? rather lenient attitudes towards adultery can also be seen in King John?s ruling. He proclaims that although Philip is not Lord Faulconbridge?s son, he is still legitimate because he was conceived in wedlock (1.1.116-7).

None of the characters in King John ever protest, or even question, this male-dominated family hierarchy. Constance uses it, and the men in her life, to fulfill her royal ambit⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ 』၊洀H渄H甄C〄၊ ̍j ၊唀C䌄ᑊ 㘆脈࡝ᆁ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ r with adultery when they become angry. This mind-set reflects the prevailing attitude of the time?and Shakespeare?s conformity to it.

By contrast, Shakespeare advocates more feminist ideals in The Winter?s Tale, written fourteen to seventeen years after King John. The women in this play are certainly on a more equal footing with their men than are the women in King John. Clearly, King Leontes? personal happiness and family?s foundation rest on his queen, Hermione. When he doubts her fidelity, Leontes? peace of mind is shattered. He declares, ?Nor night nor day, no rest!? (2.3.1). Also, his family dissolves as a direct result of her fidelity being questioned. His son Mamillius dies of grief, while his daughter Perdita is lost for sixteen years. Hermione herself is presumed dead for these sixteen years. The audience is lead to believe that Leontes has unwittingly killed Hermione as kind of punishment for her supposed adultery. However, we later discover that Hermione has been in seclusion for sixteen years, letting Leontes think her to be dead. Therefore, it is she who punishes him for his tyranny.

Perdita also has power in her relationship with the man she loves. Prince Florizel announces,

?were I crowned the most imperial monarch,

Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth

That ever made eye swerve, had force and

Knowledge

More than was ever man?s, I would not prize them

Without her love; for her employ them all,

Commend them and condemn them to her service

Or to their own perdition (4.4.372-78).

Florizel makes it clear that nothing he could ever hope to have is worth anything without Perdita?s love. In King John, not one character so openly admits to another?s power over them through love.

Antigonus and Paulina?s relationship is likewise characterized by equality. When Paulina launches into her tirade, berating King Leontes for his unfounded jealousy, the King immediately blames Antigonus. He demands of him, ?What, canst not rule her?? (2.3.46), to which Paulina instantly responds, ??trust it,/ he shall not rule me? (2.3.49-50). Later on, Leontes again blames Antigonus for his wife?s behavior, saying, ?And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hanged,/ That wilt not stay her tongue? (2.3.109-10). Antigonus? rejoinder is to tell him, ?Hang all the husbands/That cannot do that feat, you?ll leave yourself/ Hardly one subject? (2.3.110-12). Thus, in The Winter?s Tale, Shakespeare mocks the old patriarchal family structure. This is a far cry from his adoption of the almost feudal values found in King John.

The feminist ideals promoted in The Winter?s Tale can also be seen in the kings? relationships with their young children. Both Polixenes and Leontes adore their children. In fact, Mamillius? death accomplishes what even the Oracle cannot by making Leontes realize his folly. Also, when Leontes asks Polixenes, ?Are you so fond of your young prince as we/ Do seem to be of ours?? (1.2.164-5), Polixenes responds fervently, saying,

He?s all my exercise, my mirth, my matter,

Now my sworn friend and then mine enemy,

My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.

He makes a July?s day short as December,

And with his varying childness cures in me

Thoughts that would thick my blood (1.2.166-71).

Male sensitivity and the father-child bond is the flip side of feminism. In a patriarchal system, no man would ever so admit to his love for and dependence on his child. In fact, the rearing of children would be completely relegated to the women. An example of this can be found in King John?s Arthur, whose sole value is as a political pawn. His mother Constance is the only one who even professes to love him, and even she often sees Arthur as a means to power, and a cause, rather than her son.

The Winter?s Tale?s characters also espouse feminist ideals in that they absolutely refuse to suspect their wives of adultery without proof. King Leontes is the only character with a cynical view of women?s fidelity, and he is mocked and severely punished for it. Shakespeare doesn?t attempt to rationalize Leontes? irrational jealousy by differences of age or race between him and his wife. He also doesn?t explain it with any imprudent conduct by Hermione. Rather, Shakespeare completely refuses to excuse Leontes? jealous tyranny. The characters surrounding Leontes also hold him accountable. They beg him to realize his folly. When he persists in it, Leontes is ruthlessly punished. He loses his best friend Polixenes, his advisors Camillo and Antigonus, his son Mamillius, his daughter Perdita, and, of course, Hermione. Leontes eventually regains the love of Polixenes, Camillo, Perdita, and Hermione, but Antigonus, Mamillius, and sixteen wasted years are lost forever. Leontes is Shakespeare?s admonition to Elizabethan men; he warns them that unreasonably jealous husbands?even kings?can lose everything.

The characters in The Winter?s Tale also differ from their counterparts in King John in that they do not take a charge of adultery lightly. When King Leontes suspects his wife of cheating on him, he threatens to have her burned at the stake, saying, ?Say that she were gone,/ Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest/ might come to me again? (2.3.7-9). At her trial, he tells Hermione, ?thou/ Shalt feel our justice, in whose easiest passage/ Look for no less than death? (3.2.89-91). Clearly, the characters in The Winter?s Tale hold their wives much more responsible for their actions than do those in King John.

It is obvious from these two examples that in the fourteen to seventeen years between King John and The Winter?s Tale, Shakespeare?s view of family relationships changed drastically. He originally accepted the status quo. He treated the patriarchal family hierarchy, with its distrust of wives? fidelity, as both natural and reasonable. However, later in life, Shakespeare came to challenge prevailing opinion. The families he depicted were more egalitarian and less hierarchal in nature. Also, he derided overly jealous husbands like Leontes, who served as a warning to Elizabethan men. However, despite these drastic changes in Shakespeare?s viewpoint, some of his opinions remained the same. For instance, he maintains his position against power-based, political family relationships and his belief that family membership isn?t necessarily defined by genetics.

In King John, Shakespeare undeniably critiques power-based and political relationships. In fact, the vast majority of these familial ties are, at least partly, political in nature. For instance, Constance uses more than loves her son Arthur. She exploits his claim to the throne of England in order to secure herself a position of power. When she hears of Blanche?s marriage to Lewis, Constance moans, ?France friend with England, what becomes of me?? (3.1.36). Arthur himself doesn?t want the crown of England; he declares, ?So I were out of prison and kept sheep,/ I should be as merry as the day is long? (4.1.17-18). Constance simply presses his claim for her own sake. She would not do this if she truly loved her son, knowing that it makes him a threat to King John. Tragical⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪

⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪WS\Profiles\Rachel\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\AutoRecovery save of ShakespeareEssay2.asd AmbereC:\WINDOWS\Profiles\Rachel\Aly love each other either. Instead, they simply use each other in the game of politics. King John relies on his mother?s advice, as when she urges him to marry Blanche to the Dauphin. Eleanor tells him, ?Son, list to this conjunction; make this match? (2.1.469). However, John?s grief when he hears of her death is limited to one line, when he says ?My mother dead!? (4.2.183). Indeed, his first reaction to the news is a political one. He frets, ?What, Mother dead?/ How wildly then walks my estate in France!? (4.2.127-8). Obviously, he used her rather than loved her. By the end of the play, they too are both dead.

Princess Blanche and Lewis the Dauphin?s marriage itself is purely political. King John gives Lewis Blanches? hand in marriage along with several provinces in order to win peace with France and to secure his claim to the throne of England. Blanche never pretends that she?s marrying out of love. In consenting to the marriage, Blanches says only, ?My uncle?s will in this respect is mine./ If he see aught in you that makes him like/?I can with ease translate it to my will? (2.1.511-14). (Immediately afterward, she corrects herself and replaces the word ?will? with ?love?). Indeed, she tells Lewis that she will not lie and say that everything she sees in him is worthy of love. Instead, she only admits that, ?nothing do I see in you,/ ?That I can find should merit any hate? (2.1.519-21). On the other hand, Lewis makes extravagant claims of love, protesting, ?I never loved myself/ Till now infix?d I beheld myself/ Drawn in the flattering table of her eye? (2.1.502-4). He is, of course, lying to gain the advantage of Blanche?s dowry. Throughout the play, we see nothing in their political marriage to make us think that they love each other, or t⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪

⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪osoft\Word\AutoRecovery save of ShakespeareEssay2.asd Amber=C:\WINDOWS\Profiles\Rachel\My Documents\ShakespeareEssay2.doc Amber honest characters Arthur and Blanche. Arthur genuinely loves his mother?in fact, when he is captured, his first thought is of her. He moans, ?O, this will make my mother die with grief!? (3.1.5). And yet he dies, sacrificed in a political game that he wanted no part of. There can be little doubt that Blanche enters into her marriage with Lewis for the good of her country, not out of hypocrisy, and yet the last lines we hear from her express her wretched state. Caught between England and France, she cries, ?I am with both: each army hath a hand,/ And in their rage, I having hold of both,/ They whirl asunder and dismember me? (3.1.328-30). When her new husband advises her that her fortune lies with him, Blanche replies, ?There where my fortune lives, there my life dies? (3.1.338). The Bastard, the only character who refuses to submit to ?tickling Commodity? (2.1.574), is also the only character left unpunished at the end of King John. He shows his family loyalty by killing the Duke of Austria (rather than welcoming him, as Arthur did), and by remaining with King John, even when it seemed that he?d murdered Arthur. At the end of the play, he is rewarded with the ascension of Henry III, who combines political legitimacy with the will to act.

Shakespeare criticizes political family relationships in a very different way in The Winter?s Tale: he simply omits them entirely. Hermione honestly loves her husband, calling his favor ?the crown and comfort of my life? (3.2.94). She also loves her children very much, describing them as her ?second joy? (3.2.96) and ?third comfort? (3.2.98). Leontes likewise loves his family, but his foolish jealousy alienates Perdita and Hermione, and kills Mamillius. The authenticity of his love is felt in the fifth act, when he is still acutely suffering from the loss of his family, sixteen years after Hermione?s trial and subsequent ?death.? Florizel and Perdita?s love is equally genuine. Florizel refuses to give Perdita up, even after they have fled Bohemia for Sicily, only to find that Polixenes has followed them thence. In the face of overwhelming adversity, he tells her, ?Though Fortune, visible an enemy,/ Should chase us with my father, power no jot/ Hath she to change our loves? (5.1.216-18). The other family relation⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪

⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ኁ0ကᤀ搀 ᤀ 崀RꔀH Ȁ 䐀 ࠀ茲 ჰࠀ ＀ዿ Ԁ䄀洀戀攀爀Ԁ䄀洀戀攀爀 ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ȁԀaA؇Ԃ € 匀礀洀戀漀氀 ㌀逦 Ȁ؋ȄȂȂ蜄: ＀ 䄀爀椀愀氀 ∀Ѐ㄀蠈 탰 栀 戀䱝戦䱝☦䯭ɦ 쐀

ሀCȀ∀ Ѐ`輐 휀

츀=Ȁἀ 茀 ℀ ჰ ionships. Everyone in The Winter?s Tale sincerely loves each other. This is as startling and as implausible as all of King John?s hypocritical relationships, especially considering that most of the families depicted in The Winter?s Tale are royal. (You would expect the majority of royal marriages to be political).

In conclusion, by examining the familial ties in The Life and Death of King John and The Winter?s Tale, we can see which of Shakespeare?s attitudes about family relationships changed and which remained constant. In his earlier play, King John, he adopted the status quo unquestioningly. None of the characters protest their male-dominated society. Constance uses the men in her life to try to fulfill her ambition, while the Lady Faulconbridge and Blanche meekly submit to them. Also, all of the characters presume that wives cannot be as faithful as husbands can. However, they take this infidelity in stride. By contrast, in The Winter?s Tale (written fourteen to sixteen years after King John), Shakespeare espouses much more feminist ideals. Hermione, Perdita, and Paulina all have power in their relationships with men. Another aspect of this feminism is the close father-child bond found in Leontes? and Polixenes? relationships with their sons.⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪

⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪䁃 EJ

Body Text Indent 萏l萑ː搒Ǡ 葞l葠ː 兲 昀 ?? ? 窠? ࠂ? ݇ 兲 ξ њ ݇ ଅ ఇ ఉ ళ ౚ ಇ ಾ ಿ ඎ ၫ ሶ ሷ ብ ኋ ኲ ዝ ጎ ጺ ፡ ። ᑏ ឈ ᭧ ᯆ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⩓ ⩟ ⬨ ⬱ ⱚ Ɽ ⴕ ⴞ ⺝ ⺥ ⾃ ⾈ ⾉ ⾑ ネ ブ ㏶  䌄ᙊ *၊䌀ᙊ倀he Winter?s Tale?he omits them entirely. All of the characters, including Leontes, genuinely love each other.

By exploring Shakespeare?s attitudes, we come to know him as a revolutionary thinker, not just a playwright and poet. It becomes clear that Shakespeare himself stood a bit outside of society, much like the figure of the Bastard in King John. He critiques both the patriarchalism and political, hypocritical relationships so rampant in Elizabethan England. From the popularity of his plays, we can surmise that Shakespeare gathered quite a following in this revolutionary thinking. The only question remaining is, how much of an impact on Elizabethan society did this innovation have? Although it is impossible to conclusively measure Shakespeare?s impact on early modern thinking, I firmly believe that he permanently altered it.

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