Free Essay

The Role of Women in Shakespearean Plays

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nessah
Words 2489
Pages 10
The role of women in Shakespearean plays
In order to proceed in exploring the women’s role in Shakespearean plays, one should consider first the social context to which they belong, i.e. the Elizabethan society, as well as the theme and the plot in which they appear. Despite the power of Elisabeth I, women during this time had very little authority, autonomy, or recognition. Women gained their status based on the position of either their father or their husband. Even more restricting than economic rights were the social and political rights of women. They were expected to be silent observers, submissive to their husbands. Women who attempted to assert their views were seen as a threat to social order. This is significant in that the maintenance of social order was an extremely important aspect of Elizabethan society.
Shakespeare is highly sensitive to his target audience in every step of the writing process. He actively plays upon the beliefs and fears of the Elizabethans. With characters such as Goneril and Cleopatra, Shakespeare demonstrates the devastating effects of female rebellion against social order. Shakespeare invokes sympathy in the audience by creating characters of extreme feminine virtue such as Cordelia, Miranda. However, Shakespeare often creates ambiguous emotions in the audience by introducing an element of intelligence and boldness in the case of Isabella and Desdemona.
Despite the relative insignificance of women in Elisabethan social order, Shakespeare uses them in many significant ways. He seems to be extremely sensitive to the importance of women in society even though they are often overlooked. The idea that men are often a product of the women in their lives is indirectly suggested in the significant impact women have on men in the plays. Isabella has a profound influence in the lives of Angelo and Claudio; Desdemona, by no true fault of her own, turns out to be both a blessing and a curse in the life of Othello; Cleopatra is a major cause of Antony’s downfall. Although having little respect in the social order of Elisabethan society, Shakespeare recognises women as a real and significant part of society. Like all aspects of Shakespeare’s plays, the female characters play a significant role in contributing to plot and theme.
Therefore, both the comedies and the tragedies bear the mark of women, one way or another. In Shakespeare, women do not constitute main characters and yet, they play main parts, meaning that beside every strong male character, there is a woman. For instance, the tragedy of Othello is unlike many other Shakespearean plays, in that the leading female characters are wiser and more rational than the main male characters. Throughout the play, quite often the women are the ones who offer reason to the chaotic world led by men. Emilia continually attempts to convince Othello of Desdemona’s innocence, but he will not listen to her reasoning. Desdemona, despite Iago’s innuendoes, is an ideal wife to Othello. Iago, with his devilish plans and Othello, with his uncontrollable jealousy represent the evil in the play while the women reflect the goodness and sanity.
Desdemona is the prototype of womanhood. She is very charming, symbolising the woman ready to face the unknown of marriage being lured into the mystery that surrounds her husband. Very beautiful and tender, she is a true gentle woman, but becomes the naive victim in this tragedy. She falls in love with a man who is older, poorer, and uglier than she is. She pities him because of his tragic life and respects him for his endurance for pain. She displays her rational and brave characteristics when she stands up to her father and tells him that, like her mother, she must show her ‘duty’ to her husband. This young woman also boldly asks the Duke if she can go with Othello to Cyprus so that she will not just be a ‘moth of peace’ while her noble husband is fighting for their country. The Duke, like all of the characters in the play, respects Desdemona and her wishes and allows her to leave with Othello.
Every person, both male and female, respects and praises Desdemona. Iago repeatedly speaks of Desdemona’s ‘honest’ and ‘goodness’. Both he and Cassio agree that she is a ‘most exquisite lady’. Emilia also shows her admiration of her when she defends Desdemona’s honour to Othello. She tries to convince him that his wife is ‘honest, chaste, and true’. Desdemona is a loyal spouse who will do absolutely anything for her husband. Even when he is falsely accusing her of adultery and sin, Desdemona defends Othello. Desdemona does not blame him; she tries to understand what has upset him. She is an unselfish victim who defends her husband to the very end of her life. Even when Othello kills her in a jealous rage, Desdemona does not want her husband to be responsible for her death. She claims that ‘nobody, I myself’ committed this tragic deed. Her death does not destroy either the ideal of the ideal marriage, or that of love, but only that of the impulsive and hazardous marriage.
Another important female character in Othello is Emilia. Like Desdemona, she is a brave and respectable character. However, she is not naive like Desdemona. Emilia repeatedly attempts to teach the innocent Desdemona about the evils of life. She has to convince Desdemona that there are women who betray their husbands. Carefully watching over Desdemona, Emilia constantly tries to warn her that jealousy is a ‘monster’. She is not at all afraid of men and does not think twice about defending Desdemona’s honour to the raging Othello. Emilia is confident, calm, and rational when dealing with the men in this play. When Iago mocks her uncontrollable ‘tongue’, Emilia does not overreact to his insults. She mostly ignores his comments and says just enough to defend herself. She knows that her husband is just trying to make himself look better, showing off for the people around him. Emilia is a loyal wife to Iago and helps him unknowingly carry out his evil plans. However, when she discovers the truth behind his lies, she fearlessly exposes him and all of his schemes. Emilia is a stout-hearted woman who will do anything to defend innocent Desdemona and the truth.
Another important gentle-hearted female character is Ophelia, Hamlet’s unfortunate lover. She is a naive young woman, who seems lost in the world surrounding her; she is an obedient, childish and loving woman through her clothing, yet maiden through her desires. She is involved in a tensioned human world, always torn between fateful decisions. She seems to belong to another world, to another dimension; therefore, she does not belong to the world she has to live in. This will eventually kill her, as she is incapable to fit in, to understand her own father and her lover. Because her naivety, she is lost in a world too cruel for her fragile soul. This character, who seems like having feminine perfume running in her veins rather than human blood, lives an unhappy life, being torn between her father’s death, her lover’s not respecting her deep feelings and her brother’s treating her like a child.
The very same tragedy is also marked by another feminine presence: i.e. queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. She is trapped into living with her husband’s murderer, but her gesture is not to be justified in any way. She becomes the prisoner of the secret she has to keep, thus becoming the symbol of sin she displays with duplicity. Her behaviour, wrapped up in some mysterious deeds known only be herself, constitute the example of virtuosity of those possessed by power. She is constant with herself, but fate has her killed by the very same poison and by the very same man who caused her husband’s death. Therefore, fate’s fury, does not allow her to live anylonger. She has to die, and her death does not aggrieve anyone.
Another female character even more obsessed with power, is Lady Macbeth. She is a ‘sexless’ character who seems to have forgotten that she was born a woman. Together with her husband, she seems to have been built after a devilish pattern. Evil and ambition gradually take control over her soul and deeds, worsening her consciousness. We assist to a process of desperation, slowly gliding towards death. She is pushing her husband towards fulfilling the witches’ prophecies, as her strongest desire is that of becoming queen at any costs. As a consequence, her soul is emptied by feelings, becoming insensitive to murder. Therefore, she does not hesitate to push her husband into killing the king. She even humiliates him, calling him a coward; her strong will destroys Macbeth’s doubts, as she’s the one leading the dagger in her husband’s hands: his hands are but tools of her criminal mind. Very self possessed, (at least, in the beginning), she directs the whole crime stage, but little by little, her security seems like fading, as internal turmoil fills her soul and marks her behaviour. She loses control and becomes insane. Therefore, Lady Macbeth, who used to think that consciousness is only for the coward ones, is ruined by the sentiment of guilt, and her only salvation is death. But the one who dies is not as much the female as it is a person dominated by the distorted sense of power.
Another female characters obsessed with power, but not to such a great extent as Lady Macbeth, are King Lear’s elder daughters, Goneril and Regan. Their deeds are wicked, their morality is overridden, trampled, their cruelty has no limits. They develop the Godly feeling about themselves, considering that they are allowed to encroach upon the obligations towards their father, that a kingdom can be ruled according to their own wish, without any sense of responsibility. After becoming powerful, their character becomes primitive, selfish.
With all the evil residing in this play, Cordelia is the epitome of goodness. She is loving, virtuous, and forgiving. She also demonstrates law and order in that she is a devoted daughter and has great respect for her father and his position. Cordelia, though, is a tragic character, for her kindness and her staying on the boundaries of the social norms of the Elisabethan age, ironically turned out to be her tragic downfall. Many people have been quite moved and bemused by her death, many of which deemed it as injustice.
Cordelia’s role in the play may be that of an angel – like the character who makes the distinction between good and evil more visible, or who makes us more aware of a crumbling society where many things were opposite to what one might think it should be, with evil generally prevailing over the good (which to some degree is prophetic to today’s society). The truth is that her presence is needed in order to counterbalance the effect of her two elder sisters’ cruel deeds.
Somewhere in between Cordelia’s tenderness, on the one hand, and Lady Macbeth’s cruelty, on the other, lies the ‘Queen of love’, Cleopatra. Her character is one dominated by love. She’s forever waiting for the man, and even though she’s a queen, her kingdom is limited to her love. She embodies the feminine eternity. The wars outside are but ‘children’s play’ as compared to the wars inside her soul. She takes control over life through love’s strings but when something happens and she loses control over theses strings, she becomes heartless, cruel. She’s both an angel and a demon in the same time. Tenderness and cruelty mingle in her soul and these two keep inter-reacting all the time under different shapes. Shakespeare also emphasises on how, by acting in such an aggressive manner, Cleopatra upsets the natural order of a male dominated society. By encapsulating in one person what all men want, sex and power, Shakespeare created a character that can direct men even if they are not aware that they are being used for her selfish goals.
Cleopatra is contrasted by Octavia who yields in every matter to men. This would parallel the Jacobean mindset that women were subservient to men and should not voice their own opinions. Octavia is the chaste and pure ‘white beauty’, while Cleopatra is the ‘black’ seductress. It is these exotic qualities that lure Anthony back to Egypt like a moth to a flame. It is this tension between two opposing natures that adds tension to the tragedy. By placing importance on their differences Shakespeare covers a broad spectrum of womanhood.
Another well-defined representative of womanhood is the character of Miranda from ‘The Tempest’ who is extremely compelling for two reasons. First, it is important to note that Miranda is the only female character who appears in the entire play. This is the only Shakespearen play where a character has this kind of outstanding distinction. This is not just a fluke on the part of Shakespeare, for it is very important that the character of Miranda appears by herself. The reader is not able to compare her beauty and virtue to any other female in the world of ‘The Tempest’, and this serves both to show her value as a character and the fact that no other living women has the virtue of Miranda. While Miranda may not have many outstanding lines or soliloquies, she makes up for this in sheer presence alone. Miranda’s character encompasses all the elements of perfectionism and goodness which is lacking in all the other respective characters. All of the other characters in ‘The Tempest‘ are reflected by Miranda, and even if she did not speak one line she would still serve this important purpose.
Secondly, Miranda also serves as the ultimate fantasy for any bachelor. She is extremely beautiful, intelligent and she has never been touched (or even seen) by another male. Shakespeare makes Miranda even more desirable by including the fact that she has never seen or even talked to another man (with the obvious exception of Prospero). Miranda personifies the ultimate source of good in the play, and provides the ultimate foil for the evil character of Caliban. Finding a woman this humble in the world of Shakespeare is almost impossible. Miranda shows a positive attitude which is almost awkward when compared to the other characters. In all of the collected works of Shakespeare, not one character is as overwhelmingly pure as Miranda. Even the nun Isabella in ‘Measure for Measure’ wouldn’t perform the virtuous act of sacrificing her virginity to save her brother’s life. Miranda certainly would perform this act, because unlike Isabella she would place value on another person’s life before protecting her own ego. In this and all the facets of her character Miranda appears almost Christ-like, and it is this extreme propensity towards goodness and purity which enables Miranda to become an unreplaceble character.
Shakespeare’s plays couldn’t have existed without these women,as they wouldn’t have had the same value.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Othello Review

...directed by Janieka Tudor and captured a new take on the Shakespearean classic. The play is centered on the eminent jealousy of Iago (Renaldo Briggs) directed to Micahel Cassio who had been promoted by Othello (Daniel Waldron). Iago, who coveted the position as Othello’s lieutenant; weaves an intricate web of lies around the ubiquitous and notorious ‘handkerchief’ and ensnares Desdemona (Mishael Martineaux), Othello (Waldron) , Rodriego( Tevin Butler) and other actors. Ultimately Iago (Briggs) plays on the green-eyed monster within Othello (Waldron) and causes his cataclysmic demise. In a review of ‘The Apologetics of Evil: The Case of Iago’ by Richard Raatzsch it is mentioned that, “Iago is memorable and exciting, and universally hated by audiences of ‘Othello’ …. Being cold, manipulative, and impervious to anything but his own perverse will.” (McGinn) In conjunction, at ‘The Twisted Othello’ Renaldo Briggs gave a resounding performance and a new finesse to the character of Iago. Briggs a student of Bishop Anstey Trinity College East Sixth Form is not known for being outspoken; but rather a reserved, easy-going gentleman yet; he was selected to portray the blatant opposite of his typical demeanour. From his deliverance of lines to his body language; the young actor put his best foot forward and it didn’t go unnoticed. Though he was an amateur actor he was able to weave an intricate web of lies around the protagonist and play on his miniscule flaws, without ever being......

Words: 1911 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Comedy

...basic themes of Christianity play a foundational role in many of the classic scenes found in Shakespeare’s most famous works. We can examine this through the Shakespearian element of redemption, a view of taking kindness on humanity that academics believe was his own. Shakespeare’s plays still have relevance today because of his redemptive view of the world and of human experiences, particularly in the comedies The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, and All’s Well That Ends Well. Much has been made of Shakespeare’s religious and theological grounding. The issues have been centered primarily on whether Shakespeare was Protestant or Catholic. Many prominent Roman Catholic scholars, including the Rev. David Beauregard, have gone to great lengths to assert that Shakespeare was in fact Roman Catholic. Beauregard says a now-lost eighteenth-century document suggested that Shakespeare’s father, John, was a devout Catholics and his mother, Mary, was a member of the staunchly Catholic Arden family of Park Hall. Beauregard points to very Catholic theological concepts found in Shakespeare’s plays, including the use of the concept of Purgatory in Hamlet, a uniquely Catholic idea. Still, many scholars maintain the generally accepted view that Shakespeare was a member of the official Church of England, the Anglican Church (Barlow). Why is Shakespeare’s religion important to those studying his work? Given the surplus of religious references found in his plays, having an......

Words: 2390 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

English

...Essay: Revising & Relating to the World Literature Shakespearean Lingua As the world flourishes, the use of words changes. The English language originated from Anglo- Frisian dialect that was brought to Britain by Germanic marauders. Dialects are an opportunistic approach of understanding about the backdrop of the English language. Shakespeare gained the comprehensive knowledge and passion for the literature. Shakespeare was known to develop the Early Modern English language. He is the insightful genius of coined everyday phrases that is used in this generation. Shakespeare’s literary works used the world around him to disseminate the concepts of social class and human behavior. These concepts are demonstrated in The Tempest and Une Tempête. Une Tempête is a play by Aimé Césaire who shadowed Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. The problem is not Aimé Césaire’s version of Shakespeare’s play but it is the comprehension of Early Modern English. When students study the Early Modern English language, there is a debate of whether the use of SparkNotes embodies the understanding of what Shakespeare is exploiting. The use of SparkNotes only translates the plays in simplistic form; it does not give definitive historical facts about the words that Shakespeare uses. Shakespeare distinctively incorporated rhythmic patterns, play on words that exposed a character’s purpose in the play and his ideologies about society. Each play Shakespeare produced emphasized a specific theme that the...

Words: 1744 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Othello Engish Lit

...Ashlee trail ‘How does Shakespeare present aspects of love within the passage’ 4.3 beginning to L04’ The play Othello is was set in a rather patriarchal society and the traditional woman was known to obey her husband regardless, it was simple principle as men are known to be superior within the relationship while women are inferior, within the passage we can see both female protagonist abiding by this principle, ‘And hath commanded me to go bed and dismiss you’, the noun ‘command’ is an authority. Othello is ordering Desdemona and she lawfully obeys even thou its rather perplexing to dismiss a lady’s maid hence as to why ‘dismiss me’ is repeated twice to exaggerate the confusion and to build up suspense within the audience, in addition to the dramatic irony is being portrayed here as well as the audience understands as to why Othello is making such drastic orders. On the other hand, the language that Othello use’s starts to become disrespectful; we can see within the play how infuriated the character actually is, for instance the character refers to Emilia as Desdemona’s ‘attendant’ Emilia does not even get the respect of being called by her name which portrays that she’s only Desdemona’s help and it devalues the relationship between the woman. Moreover even though Desdemona is petrified, as it’s abnormal for her to be sent to bed and even her maid dismissed; she still abides obediently by Othello ‘We must now not displease him’, ‘we’ is a personal pronoun and......

Words: 1070 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Essay

...presence in the play, most notably in the first two acts. Following the murder of King Duncan, however, her role in the plot diminishes. She becomes an uninvolved spectator to Macbeth's plotting, and a nervous hostess at a banquet dominated by her husband's hallucinations. Her fifth act sleepwalking scene is a turning point in the play, and her line, "Out, damned spot!," has become a phrase familiar to many speakers of the English language. The report of her death late in the fifth act provides the inspiration for Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" speech. Analysts see in the character of Lady Macbeth the conflict between femininity and masculinity, as they are impressed in cultural norms. Lady Macbeth suppresses her instincts toward compassion, motherhood, and fragility — associated with femininity — in favour of ambition, ruthlessness, and the singleminded pursuit of power. This conflict colours the entire drama, and sheds light on gender-based preconceptions from Shakespearean England to the present. The role has attracted countless notable actresses over the centuries, including Sarah Siddons, Charlotte Melmoth, Helen Faucit, Ellen Terry, Vivien Leigh, Vivien Merchant, Glenda Jackson, Francesca Annis, Judith Anderson, Renée O'Connor, Judi Dench, Tabu, Keeley Hawes and Marion Cotillard. Jeanette Nolan played the character in Orson Welles' 1948 film adaptation. Contents 1 Origins 2 Role in the play 3 Sleepwalking scene 4 Analyses of the role 4.1......

Words: 2317 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Contemporary Stereotypes

...Humanities 115 October 24, 2011 Journal #Contemporary Stereotypes Contemporary Stereotypes: Three Play Summaries Thesis: Engaging in this journal assignment enabled the steadfast dedication of creative efforts to be geared toward creating three play summaries based on contemporary stereotypes that exist. I. Introduction: Stereotypes and comedy A. Historical comedy B. Stereotypes as a tradition C. Stereotypes and the Shakespearean Experience II. Body: Three Play Summaries A. “Marriage, Rings, and Things” B. “Run the World” C. “Dear Curl-ella” III. Conclusion: Stereotypes, roles, and Society A. Humor and the Audience B. Effects of Stereotypes C. Stereotypes Thrive Adrianne Council Dr. Harkins-Pierre Introduction to Humanities 115 October 24, 2011 Journal # Contemporary Stereotypes Contemporary Stereotypes: Three Play Summaries There is a trivial tradition in comedy which dates back to both Shakespearean plays and literature. This tradition involves the usage of a coined blend of comedy and stereotyped characters. These characters are often for comical entertainment and......

Words: 1600 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Changing Cultures of Different Dances

...A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world. It is unknown exactly when A Midsummer Night's Dream was written or first performed, but on the basis of topical references and an allusion to Edmund Spenser's 'Epithalamion', it is usually dated 1594 or 1596. Some have theorised that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding (for example that of Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley), while others suggest that it was written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St. John. No concrete evidence exists to support this theory. In any case, it would have been performed at The Theatre and, later, The Globe. Though it is not a translation or adaptation of an earlier work, various sources such as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" served as inspiration.[4] According to John Twyning, the play's plot of four lovers undergoing a trial in the woods was intended as a "riff" on Der Busant, a Middle High German poem. The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on......

Words: 1462 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Shakespeare's Macbeth

...and common sense. This “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and this “unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it” according to John Acton and William Pitt. By examining the men and women of great power in Macbeth, we get a glimpse into how easily susceptible they are to the corruptibility of power. They suffer the same feelings as us, especially the unrelenting ambition of men, and now women have become victims to in contemporary society. It is against this backdrop, that I will produce a modern rendition of Macbeth that will challenge the audience to contemplate the ever-growing feminist society of the present day. To accomplish this, I will be shifting the focus of my directorial debut away from the many linear adaptations of Macbeth littered throughout the film industry with revisions featuring little to no deviation to its original source by producing a character that brings to the fore the reputable role of the puppet-master that females are renown for in contemporary society. This will be achieved through the depiction of the female’s ability to use her wit to cunningly manipulate the opposite sex, no longer mere accessories to men in this current age. Through alterations to the original play, exploitation of visual elements in my production and various other directorial changes, the film will touch on the corrupting potential of power for both males and females within the echelons of the corporate world today which......

Words: 1842 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

The Works of Shakespeare

...Shakespeare Notes LECTURER SAMBOKO, B. M. There are many outstanding people in history: - our heroes… our role models…. Politicians: Napoleon, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Kenneth Kaunda Community Service: Mother Teresa, George Muller, David Livingstone Religious: Apostle Paul, the other apostles, Ellen G White, Anderson, The pope, Martin Luther, Sports: Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Benzema - Michael Jordan, Pele, Maradona Music: Lady Gaga, jZ, Tupak, Michael Jackson, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Hendricks, Literary Circles: Before Shakespeare the great names in literature were: o Homer – Ancient times - well known for his great epics o Dante – Middle Ages – wrote brilliantly on circumstances of human existence o Aristotle – the great philosopher ENTER SHAKESPEARE – THE LITERARY GIANT Spelling of Shakespeare: Spelling not yet standardized, thus name spelled in different ways • Shakespeare, Shakspere, Shackspere, Shaxper, Shagspere, Shaxberd, etc. Shakespeare: The most well known playwright of Elizabethan times is Shakespeare. But there were also other writers who in their time were just as, or even more famous than him. WHAT MAKES SHAKESPEARE STAND OUT? – The volume of his works Plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare ■ 14 COMEDIES – funny play – with amusing events – ended in marriage / or happily o Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of......

Words: 8454 - Pages: 34

Premium Essay

Lady Macbeth

...Lady Macbeth found via Google - not my own work In typical Shakespearean tragedies, female main characters aren't always treated brilliantly. In Hamlet, Ophelia goes down the "I shall obey, my lord" route. In Othello, Desdemona goes down the "To you I am bound" route. Yet in Macbeth, this isn't quite the case. The most important female figure is Lady Macbeth, a cunning and manipulative woman who is associated with the supernatural. Instantly it can be argued that Lady Macbeth fits in with the later idea of certain Gothic women being 'sinister predators', or 'femme fatales'. | Dame Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth | Lady Macbeth has been the subject of much debate for hundreds of years. Her role in the play is incredibly important and she is the subject of various interpretations. Her first appearance in the play is in act one, scene five. She opens by reading Macbeth's letter; instantly this seems to present her as a typical Shakespearean woman (when I say typical, I mean typical in terms of main female characters in tragedies being passive), since her first words are that of her husband's, as though she is bound to him. Then she stops reading the letter, and we start to realise that she isn't at all typical. She instantly states that Macbeth will be "what thou art promised", which shows a determination and strength of will that we may not have been expecting. She goes on to criticise her husband's nature, since he is "too full o'th'milk of human kindness". A wife...

Words: 2312 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Adapting Plays Into Movies

...Adapting Plays Into Movies “In theatre, you can change things ever so slightly; it’s an organic thing. Whereas in film, you only have that chance on the day, and you have no control over it at all,” These insightful words were once spoken by actress (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) and Oscar winner Judi Dench, and they very clearly illustrate one of the biggest differences between theatre and film. However, a small hint of bias seems to be depicted in this point of view. The quote (and many others) seem to suggest that one form of acting is more difficult than the other. It seems the opposite is true; that when taking one of these art forms (i.e. theatre) and transforming it into the other, one would come across a wide array of differences, as well as similarities. When researching a topic such as this, one must go beyond reading. One must not only dive into a script or a periodical or academic journal, one must immerse themselves into the films that have come about as a result of the transformation of turning a play into a cinematic experience. When going about researching this topic, I watched the movie Chicago (Dir. Rob Marshall, 2002) as well as looked over the original Broadway script (By Jon Kander, Fredd Ebb, and Bob Fosse 1975). The original Broadway production opened June 3, 1975, at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for 936 performances. Chicago's 1996 Broadway revival holds the record for the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American......

Words: 1402 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

How Far Can the Relationship Between Beatrice and Benedick Be Seen as Superficial in Much Ado About Nothing

...How far can the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice in acts 1 and 2 in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ be seen as comedic? Comedy is firstly created in Act 1 when witty banter is exchanged between Beatrice and Benedick, this is first shown when Beatrice refers to Benedick as ‘Signor Mountanto.’ The use of the appellation ‘Mountanto’ implies that Beatrice sees Benedick as a farce, being over the top and flashy. At this point in the play the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick can be seen as comedic as before they have even met Beatrice is insulting him. Comedy is created by the use of the term ‘Mounanto’ not only by the obvious use of sarcasm, showing a clear dislike for Benedick, but also by the subversion of gender roles as in Shakespearean times it was very rare for a women to be so outspoken as they were usually under the notion to be ‘seen and not heard.’ The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice can also be portrayed as light hearted in act 1 when the pair speak and Benedick refers to himself as having ‘hard heart’ to which Beatrice replies, referring to herself as having ‘cold blood.’ By these comments the audience becomes aware of the parallel structure between the two, this is seen as comedic because of the fact that they are so alike and mirror images of one another yet insult each other so much shows a slight edge of humour as they are basically the same person so in effect can be seen as insulting themselves. Comedy is also shown in act 2 of......

Words: 569 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Post-Modernism in Baz Luhrmann’s Film Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Play Romeo and Juliet: a Comparison of Two Creative Works from Two Different Periods.

...Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet: a comparison of two creative works from two different periods. In 1996, Baz Luhrmann directed “Romeo + Juliet”, a modern twist on the famous tragedy play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare in 1597, in which the main characters Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet where portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. While some praise the strange interpretation of the old tale, there are also those who condemn the rendition as destructive and disrespectful to the great work of Shakespeare. There will always be two sides to every story and this study will take that into consideration as well as comparing the two different yet similar works to see how post modernism has played a role in Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Postmodernism has been given many definitions. Some say it’s simply the outlook that the generation of late twenty first century has on life which entails the mistrust and dismissal of theories that existed before such as religion, ethics and law. According to these youths, the difference between right and wrong or what the meaning of life is based solely on that individual’s perspective. In film, the idea of postmodernism is somewhat similar as it’s an artist medium in which to undermine social norms and present one’s individual belief. The difference lies in that postmodernism in film concerns bringing in many aspects of popular culture to produce something fresh. (Suto, 2013) When adapting a novel, play or......

Words: 3545 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

Evolution

...transformation of hip –hop through theatre in the work of Robert Alexander, A Preface to the Alien Garden, and the work of Kamilla Forbes, A Rhyme Deferred. These playwrights reflect the evolution and different elements of the hip-hop culture. There are many similarities and differences between them regarding themes, intent, definition of hip hop generation and black theatre, the impact each play has on the hip-hop generation, and the historical context of each play. Both playwrights do an amazing reflecting an accurate depiction of the hip-hop generation, which embodies gangster rap, regular hip-hop music, dance, and music. Kamilla Forbes is an actress, director, and playwright who wrote and directed Rhyme Deferred. She is the Founding Artistic Director of the Hip Hop Theatre Junction where she focuses on producing and creating works reflecting the hip-hop generation. Her thoughts and passion for hip hop and theatre and the idea that the new hip hop generation was not reflected through theatre, sparked her to began her story and write the play Rhyme Deferred. This highly energetic play engages the audience through dance and breaking down the “third wall” between the actors and the audience. Rhyme Deferred is the story of two brothers, both rappers. The older brother, Kain, is a mainstream rapper and becomes successful. The younger and more talented brother, Gabe, struggles in the hip-hop underground as he attempts to develop his skills. As older brother Kain's popularity...

Words: 2640 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Women in Hamlet

...      Men and Vengeance… and Women  “​ Hamlet​  is one of the most dangerous things ever set down on paper. All the big,  unknowable questions like what it is to be a human being; the difference between sanity and  insanity; the meaning of life and death; what’s real and not real. All these subjects can literally  drive you mad.”  ­ Michael Sheen    One of the most celebrated Shakespearean plays, ​ Hamlet​ , follows the tragic downfall of a  young Prince Hamlet as he plummets into depression and apparent insanity after the death of his  father. Consequently, Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, inherits the throne and marries the widowed  Queen Gertrude. When Hamlet has the opportunity to converse with his dead father’s spirit,  Hamlet learns that his father was murdered by his brother, Claudius; hearing this, Hamlet  devotes himself to requiting retribution on his uncle. In many of Shakespeare’s plays, it is a  common theme that the quest for revenge drives one to insanity. Not only does ​ Hamlet​  follow  this trend, it introduces that men in ​ Hamlet are the ones to seek vengeance upon others while  bringing women down along with them, supporting Shakespeare’s usual portrayal of women as  scapegoats.   In Shakespeare’s play, ​ Hamlet,​  it is generally the male characters that tend​  ​ to take action  and seek revenge upon others, due to the cultural sexism during Shakespeare’s time of writing. ......

Words: 1426 - Pages: 6