Shakespeares Historic Plays

Performing Arts
Pages 10 (2510 words)
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In Elizabethan times, the role of women was minimal. Women were not expected to be educated or to work. Only a tutor could educate girls because schools and universities were for boys. Women could work only in domestic services like cooks, maid, attendants, and hostesses.


The women characters in Shakespeare's historic plays exhibit the roles of women while keeping an allure of identity, independence and strength. Richard II, III, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI all have women characters that portray the role of women on a wide scale.
In Richard II, Queen Isabel portrayed a subservient, obedient, and devoted wife to King Richard. In reality, Queen Isabel was very young when she got married to King Richard but Shakespeare writes her as a grown woman for the sake of her role. She first enters the play by the side of her husband and only says one line, "How fares our noble uncle Lancaster" (II.i.71) (Bevington 755). Queen Isabel asked about the well being of Lancaster and not the affairs of country and state. Women at that time were to concern themselves only with domestic responsibilities and family. The workings of the country were not of a woman's business and it was not her place to be involved. For this matter, Queen Isabel did not get involved letting her husband handle those affairs like an obedient wife should. As angry words were spoken between John of Gaunt and Richard she stood by quietly and let the men have their dispute until she was guided away from the unpleasant encounter. ...
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