What are the gender roles in Shakespeare's time?

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As the other educators have noted, men and women had very different roles in Shakespeare’s time, and society was strictly patriarchal. One of the reasons for these different roles is that society believed that men and women had different characteristics and attributes. Women, for example, were believed to be naturally caring and passive, making them ideally suited to a life of domesticity. In contrast, men were believed to be naturally more ambitious and focused, traits which made them leaders in both the home and wider society.

However, we should not assume that all women of this era were passive or that all men were ambitious and career-driven. While women were not allowed to work in a profession, many women enjoyed an active role in their family’s businesses and took total charge during times of male absence. We find women working as brewers, bakers, in the textile industry, and even as members of trade guilds. Moreover, although women could not study medicine and become doctors,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 726 words.)

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