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Paper Topic:

Angry Female Characters in William Shakespeare`s Plays


William Shakespeare , who lived and wrote in England in the sixteenth century , is considered to be one of the most accomplished dramatists of all time . His plays , dealing with a wide range of historical and contemporary issues , can justly be termed as timeless , their relevance today being as important as ever . Critics have examined and analysed his work for centuries and his writings , translated into numerous languages are studied across the continents . He is possibly the only pan global literary figure

Shakespeare lived in a time when the status of

women in England , despite the rule of Elizabeth I , was considered to be much inferior to men in every area of life , social , political and religious . While Shakespeare 's writings are peopled with women , some of whom are truly memorable , they lived in conditions of inequality and subjugation , dominated by the men in their lives and around them

This research assignment attempts to analyse the characters of his women protagonists and their emotions , with particular reference to anger , its causes and effects

In the course of this research it has thus been necessary to deal with the social and political advancement of women , their relationship and responses to environmental stimuli and most importantly , with Shakespeare 's handling of anger and fury in his female characters in different historical , political and social settings



Number Page


1 Introduction 3

2 Literature Review 10

Prejudice against Women 10

Shakespeare and the Women in his Life 21

An Analysis of Anger in Women 23

Shakespeare 's Angry Women 34

Volumnia 35

Mary of Anjou 41

Lady Macbeth 50

Kate 61

Isabella 70

Paulina 72

Portia 78

Jessica 84

3 Conclusion 88

References 101 1 . Introduction

An introduction to this research assignment must necessarily begin with some words on William Shakespeare , however trite and needless they might appear to the reader

Shakespeare was undoubtedly the principal dramatist of his time and is widely regarded as one of the greatest literary figures the world has produced . However , evidence points to the fact that possibly he and others in his time looked more towards poetry than to drama for lasting fame

Shakespeare wrote about thirty-four plays and more than 150 sonnets . The plays are divided into four categories , histories , comedies , tragedies and romances

His earliest plays were for the most part comedies and histories such as Henry VI and The Comedy of Errors In 1596 , Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet , his second tragedy , and over the next dozen years he would return to the form , writing the plays for which he is now best known Julius Caesar , Hamlet , Othello , King Lear , Macbeth , and Antony and Cleopatra

In his final years , Shakespeare turned to the romantic genre with Cymbeline , A Winter 's Tale , and The Tempest

Already popular in his lifetime , Shakespeare 's HYPERLINK "http /en .wikipedia .org /wiki /Shakespeare 27s_reputation " \o "Shakespeare 's reputation " reputation became increasingly celebrated after his death and his work adulated by numerous prominent cultural figures through the...

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