What was the role of women in Shakespeare's time?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite the fact that a single woman ruled England at the time of William Shakespeare, the Elizabethan society was patriarchal.  Women were considered the weaker sex and in need always of being protected.  When married, women were expected to bear children, for childbearing was considered an honor.  Most women bore children every two years, but because so many children died, families were not large. As head of the household, the husband was allowed to chastise his wife, and often women were not allowed to inherit property.

Although the society was patriarchal, there were women who were highly educated.  However, women were not allowed into the professions; they were permitted to write literature, providing the subject was suitable.  Acting was considered unsuitable; for this reason, young men played roles in Shakespeare's time.

Women, nevertheless, were allowed more freedom in the Elizabethan Age than during the previous eras.  The thinking of this age was that both men and women could be what they wished, and with a woman on the throne, fathers encouraged their daughters to become educated.

ro0ster1 | Student

The 1600s were a time marked by the Scientific Revolution. During this time, women were treated as inferior being who were meant to tend to the house and tend to children. During this time, a centuries-long debate known as the Querreles des Femmes was occurring in which men argued that women were not capable of higher thinking because their skulls were smaller. They also said that because women's hips were wider, they were naturally meant to be mothers and not to be involved in scientific affairs. Overall, women were treated with little dignity and as intellectually inferior to their male counterparts. They were also not aloud to go to the theater and or act on the stage.

ro0ster1 | Student
In Shakespeare's time, women were not treated humanely but more like sex objects and called claccsons . Men were seen as the superior sex of which had complete control over women and could marry who ever they wanted. The women had no say in who they married. Basically the two sexes were not treated equally. Also women could not go to school, but had to stay at home to cook and clean. Men could also bet on the behaviour of their wives to see which is the 'tamest'. Obviously a lot has changed since Shakespearian times and men and women are now treated equally and have the same rights as each other. SOURCE: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_were_the_roles_of_women_in_Shakespeare's_time
golde003 | Student

Well, basically they were inferior to men, and had to stay at home, cook, clean and were apparently not clever enough to understand 'men'

mehkauil | Student

hello I am a stanger am I dangerous loloololoplololololololololololololololo

thefangirl | Student

this is ma homework 

sagoddess | Student

Here is a site http://www.elizabethi.org/us/women/. 

I would like to speak about marriage in that time.  Children had no say in who they married.  Even the sons have no choice but to marry the woman that his father had picked out.  In other words the father's arrange marriages for their children to increase their property, station, and or weath.  Children were a means to ensure that.


user4717517 | Student

I'm in lesson right now. english

kingkhan911 | Student

The wright answer is Man, man played the role of women is shakespear's time .

bondyboii | Student

lol this is my h/w too, i havent got much and im doing the same as you but what ive got is they were inferior to men, taught to cook and clean, only rich ones went to school,they didnt decide who they married. thats all i got :S