What is meant by "Elizabethan concept of womanhood" in literature?What kind of women fit in that concept? What characteristics did they possess?

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Women in Elizabethan society had a very limited role. They were considered the weaker sex, and even the monarch herself, Queen Elizabeth, stated that "I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king."

Women were expected to bear children as children were seen as a blessing. They were expected to be good wives and the wealthy women were expected to bring honor to their husbands. If they were educated, as many of the upper class women were, they had to be educated by private tutors. They were not allowed to attend classes or university as men were. As you may know from reading Shakespeare, they were not allowed to act on the stage, so women's parts were played by men.

Women could not have a profession. They also could not vote and they could not inherit their father's titles. This did not apply to the crown, however.

There is a good article about Elizabethan women at the link below.

Read about the Elizabethan era right nere on enotes.

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