A Feminist Take On Gender Empowerment Essay

2304 Words Jul 25th, 2016 10 Pages
A Feminist Take on Gender Empowerment as Portrayed in King Lear

The precepts of a male dominated society have been the basis of natural culture and polite society throughout history. Misogynistic values and ideas have been directly mirrored from the time Shakespeare wrote King Lear, which was demonstrated in Elizabethan philosophy and the male dominance of society. As King Lear challenges gender roles it also alludes to an underlying root of sexism in society, wherein Shakespeare portrays a woman 's rise to power as an avenue to her inevitable downfall. Female characters in the play redefine femininity and masculinity as they choose which aspects of their sex they display and which aspects they mask, the men are portrayed to be the weaker sex as they rely on their self proclaimed ignorance to excuse their inaction. The comments that the playwright makes on the assumed values of gender relate back to the sociological norms that are distorted throughout the play.

Gender roles have been described as society 's shared beliefs that apply to individuals on the basis of their socially identified sex (Eagly 2009). Moreover, as gender is a construct of the beliefs that a culture has accepted socially it may also be deconstructed in the same manner; this is the basis of the feminist literary lens. It is apparent through the women in King Lear that Shakespeare is challenging gender roles by undoing all that was perceived as feminine in society with a traditionally more masculine…

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