For the play Hamlet, I need to research Ophelia as a woman living in Shakespeare's time. Can anyone tell me some basics?

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thebanannie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The women in this time were on the verge of a Renaissance, a time of new thoughts and ideas. The nobility allowed some women to have an education. This education included dancing, many languages, and other noble things. They were not, however, allowed to attend a university. The common women still did not receive schooling. Women needed to be married in order to live suitable lives. They were made to be domestic workers if they were not married. This was considered lower class. They had been able to go to a monastery, but the times had changed. Women were seen as highly inferior to men.

Queen Elizabeth I had a great hand in elevating the status of women. She was a very independent woman, refusing to have a husband who would share the throne and be above her in power, she never married.

As women gained rights and education, many saw that their country was being bettered. Others believed that women would be a threat. The literacy rates were rising, and women were eventually given the ability to own their own land and money if they were unwed.