Free Essay

Women in the Renaissance

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ashleycharnell91
Words 1216
Pages 5
New Art Forms of the High Middle Ages Throughout history Europe has experienced countless changes in culture and other aspects. The Middle Ages, or Medieval Period, lasted from around 800 into the 1400’s (349). This period can be subdivided into three categories: early, high, and late. The Middle Ages brought about changes in religion, law, and daily life. Changes also occurred in the arts with the introduction of Gothic architecture and troubadour poetry. Although the Middle Ages began as a time of violence, the emergence of Gothic architecture and troubadour poetry are examples of devotion and expression. During the tenth and eleventh centuries cathedrals were constructed (367). The style of the cathedrals resembled Roman architecture, which was the preceding time period. (367). Features of Roman architecture included “massive walls, rounded stones arches, and small windows” (367). By the twelfth century, this new style gained the name “Gothic.” The Gothic style introduced new engineering improvements and emphasized more emotional expression. The structures of Gothic architecture consisted of pointed arches, high ceilings, and flying buttresses (367). A flying buttress carried the weight of the roof. “Midieval Archtechture” states:
“The walls of Gothic buildings could be thinner than previous styles of architecture because the weight of the roof was supported by the arches rather than by the walls. The pointed Gothic arch provided greater flexibility could also span greater distances, allowing vaults to be taller and wider. Thinner walls had wider window openings which encouraged the use of stained glass and the distinctive Gothic Rose windows.”
The style was adopted by most religious buildings proving a devotion to faith. In France there stood eighty cathedrals, five hundred abbey churches and thousands of churches constructed in Gothic style. Town within Europe often competed to have to most extravagant cathedral to prove which had the most dedication (367). Not only were the structures used for religious purposes, cathedrals served secular purposes as well. Business deals and political meetings were held in many of the cathedrals. The ultimate purpose of the buildings was to teach the Christian faith, while simultaneously showing that devotion through the building of magnificent structures. Poetry was an art form that grew throughout the Middle Ages. Prior to the Medieval period, texts were mainly written in Latin (368). Songs and poetry were written in local dialects and focused on daily issues and concerns of ordinary people. In areas of southern France, troubadours wrote and performed lyric poetry celebrating the love between knights and ladies (368). Most troubadours composed their own music and wrote original lyrics to entertain people. The poetry was often written, and then put to music. During the Middle Ages the practices of troubadours spread throughout Europe. Prior to this time period all written documents were educational or religious. The emergence of the troubadour style of poetry was a turning point for writing and entertainment.
The Middle Ages were marked by the diversification and growth through the arts. Religion and devotion to God was becoming more prevalent throughout this time which was displayed through the beautiful cathedrals fashioned in Gothic style. Gothic cathedrals were a way to show power and clarity of the Catholic Church. Both Gothic architecture and troubadour poetry are examples of expression. The Middle Ages opened up the world to not only expression through art, but more focus on Christianity.

Women During the Renaissance The women of the Renaissance era, just as those before that time, were limited in their roles in society. During the Renaissance, women were considered to be inferior to men. Women were considered “devious, domineering, and demanding” (385). Discussions such as the “debate about women” portrayed women as they were represented during the medieval period which was either worthy and chaste or seductive and deceptive. A woman’s main role was largely domestic. Women’s roles as daughters, wives, and mothers were considered their most supplemental contribution to society. As the time progressed, women gained rights as the religious and political face of Europe changed. The influence of the arts played a major role in the shaping of the perception of women. Although women were considered inferior, women of different classes were granted diverse roles. The evolution of the female role was gradual and continuous throughout the Renaissance Period and throughout the Reformation. During the beginning of the Renaissance Era women played the epic role that they played in prior history, silent and almost nonexistent. Women went through phases of life, first starting as a daughter, then a wife, then a mother (Encyclopedia). According to Encyclopedia.com, “Daughters were expected to remain virgins until they were married, or for their entire lives if they were not married.” ). As a young girl, females were taught from an early age how to become a wife and were instructed to refrain from sexual acts (Encyclopedia). It was most important that a woman marry and bear children. Marriage was viewed as a contract, whether it is with a physical male or with God (395). Women were usually in their mid to late teens when they became bound in marriage. As a wife, a woman was expected to perform the normal household duties. These responsibilities included sewing, cooking, and cleaning (Encyclopedia). Being a mother led to the responsibility of educating the children and ensuring their appearance was up kept.
The class difference between women determined the extent of their roles. Women of all classes were expected to perform the normal household duties. These responsibilities included sewing, cooking, and cleaning (Encyclopedia). Wealthier females were basically forced have one occupation which was to marry. Unmarried women were frowned upon (395). Women of the upper classes were not allowed, to work outside the home. Women in the middle class worked in shops, or were servants or merchants. Peasant women worked in the field and ran the home. Lower class women did have a bit more freedom, as they were able to communicate and walk in the streets (Encyclopedia). Women who earned wages were often paid less than half of what men were paid, even if the work was equivalent (385).
The Reformation Period led to increased importance of marriage for women. Martin Luther, an influential Protestant, preached that a wife should not be viewed as “simply a new type of priest’s concubine” (395). A wife should exude Christian morals. Females were able to speak their minds, but their thoughts and ideas were shaped by men. Protestants believed a wife should be subjective to her husband (395). The concept of patriarchy was enforced, which involved male control over nearly all aspects of society.
Over the course of the time women did experience a gradual change. Initially women were viewed as sinful and corrupt. The Renaissance was not only a rebirth of the arts, but also a rebirth of the perspective of women. A man now needed a woman to fulfill the expectations of God. Although women were denied political rights, they were not neglected and dismissed in the way they had been in prior times.

Works Cited
Beck, Roger B., John Buckler, Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Clare Haru Crowston, Bennett D. Hill,John P. McKay, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks. Understanding World Societies. Bedford/St.Martin’s: Boston, NY, 2013. Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
"Medieval Architecture." Medieval Architecture. N.p., June 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Women Renaissance

...Dannette Tejeda 10/03/10 Family & Gender Comanducci Public Rituals of Marriages Flowers, a white gown, a venue or perhaps a church, family and friends, a ceremony, a reception, and above all love are the fundamental essentials for a wedding, let a lone a marriage. Yet, occasions such as weddings were not as passive in the fourteenth century as they are now. During the renaissance, weddings were not just the bond of two individual people who wished to be committed to each other by the law or their religion; but it was the binding of a patrilineal alliance and for that reason it was vital for all aspects of a marriage to be a public, communal spectacle. This notion took away from all that was personal from a woman as it was inscribed in her code of honor to accept her public passing from her father’s legal possession to her new husband. The wedding in itself had at the least four different steps, which were: the impalmamento, the sponsalia, the matrimonium, and the nozze. They were specific transactions because during the Renaissance women were in some terms irrelevant and were only allowed to walk the streets to attend masses in church. However, when these stages were taken in action, the publicity announced the benefit of the alliances made between families and that is what makes them so significant. The first stage towards a marriage was the impalmamento. The impalmamento signifies “engagement, a promise of marriage, specifically, as a confirmation of...

Words: 1068 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Education of Women in the Italian Renaissance

...The Italian Renaissance was a cultural movement that revived an interest in learning and promoted humanism roughly from the 14th to 17th century, strongly encouraging the education for all men, including women. Yet while it is generally accepted that women had wider access to education as humanists valued the education of all people, the majority of women who received an education in the Italian Renaissance were still largely of nobility; the primary goals of which were still related to domestic purposes and did not, in any way, attempt to change their social position. Since the Middle Ages, a typical father did not desire a learned daughter as it threatened the order of the household, engendering lax housekeeping and marital discord. The Italian humanist Lucrezia Marinelli further explained this with the theory that male hostility to female learning was because they feared to lose their dominion over women. The popular belief about the life of a Renaissance woman was that her role was one of “subjugation; she should have no control over her life.” With pedagogical theorists believing that a woman should acquire learning appropriate to her expected role as an adult, there was a new granting of permission of women to be educated. In 16th century Italy, approximately 33% of Venetian boys aged six through fifteen and I2 to 13% of Venetian girls were literate in 1587-88. While the percentage for literate women may appear disappointing, comparative......

Words: 1597 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Witchcraft

...Shandrika Shreves Professor Alexandra Hill HUM 2232 16 October 2012 Renaissance Besides the horrific natural disasters of the plague, the signs of intense human creativity flourished in all the arts. The deep-rooted scholastic approach to learning increased interest in Classical literature. Therefore, people began incorporating new ideas to political systems, economics, and trade. The ideal Renaissance man and woman wanted a better understanding of life. The passion for enlightenment changed the culture and scholasticism of this period. Francis Petrarch, Christine de Pisan, and Lavinia Fontana contributions to the Renaissance are the signs of intense human creativity, and created a new perspective on life. Men during the Renaissance controlled of everything. They had a voice in the political and social systems. Social categorizing of the Renaissance people depended on a person classification of wealth. Men were supposed to be loyal to their king and the Church. Learning from outside sources other than the Church became popular. They did not reject the church, but people started to question the traditional history and teachings. In this era, people started to focus back on their history and began to have a strong passion for investigating and learning more about their past. Education became paramount. The more educated, the more a person understood about life as a whole; it became a necessity to become well rounded and successful. Social status played a huge role......

Words: 981 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Othello Tragedy

...In William Shakespeare's play Othello, he gives the women certain characteristics which interfere with the traditional roles of Renaissance women. One of the major causes of Othello's tragedy is his belief that Desdemona is not pure and chaste. According to the men of the Renaissance, chastity, silence, and obedience are three attributes that define Renaissance women. Although Othello takes place during the Renaissance, the women in the play, Bianca, Desdemona and Emilia, defy traditional norms by lacking at least one of the major attributes defining women; Bianca's lack of chastity is clearly displayed when she unlawfully sleeps with Cassio; Desdemona's lack of silence is clearly displayed when she constantly urges Othello to give Cassio's position back. However, in the last two acts, Emilia displays the strongest challenge to the definition of Renaissance women as silent, chaste, and obedient, mainly to defend Desdemona. First, in order to defend Desdemona's chastity, Emilia challenges the societal norm of silence. Recall the incident when Othello calls Desdemona a "whore" for cheating. In response, Emilia protests loudly against Othello and attempts to disprove his belief that Desdemona is not chaste: "A halter pardon him [Othello]! And hell gnaw his bones! / Why should he call her [Desdemona] whore? (4.2. 143,144). Instead of Emilia conforming to the attribute of Renaissance women as silent, she condemns Othello for his false accusations against her mistress...

Words: 609 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Honest Courtesan During the Italian Renaissance

...Kathleen Talentino Professor Dr. Duff Sutherland HIST 106 December 4, 2006 Research Essay The Honest Courtesan during the Italian Renaissance The honest courtesan, also known as “cortigiana oneste” in Italy, contributed to the development of the intellectual and cultural revolution of the Italian Renaissance. This was during a time which the status of women struggled against that of their male counterparts. During this revolution, upper class women had less power politically and socially than women of the medieval era, and were confined to the opinion that their attention should be focused on domestic affairs. The honest courtesans were ambitious women who possessed all of the qualities of the male courtier, and maintained their sexual equality. The contributions of this elite group of women were in the areas of philosophical thought; historically through art and literature, and in development of the structure and function of human society. During the Renaissance, Italy experienced many revolutionary ideas, one of them known as Humanism. Humanism birthed the popularity of classical studies among the Italian elite of scholars, artists, writers and architects. This group of elite men were the forefathers of popular contemporary thought, and had the freedom to move in directions economically, socially, politically, emotionally, intellectually, and morally.[1] This idea changed life in Italy by individuals always striving to realize their human......

Words: 1944 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Britsh Literature

...Britsh Literature SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Italian Renaissance (1330-1550).” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. The women of the Renaissance era, like the women of the middle Ages in there time, were denied all political rights and considered legally subject to their husbands. Women of all classes were expected to perform, first and foremost, the duties of housewife. Peasant women worked in the field alongside their husbands and ran the home. The Italian renaissance article shows how the wives of middle class shop owners and merchants often helped run their husbands' businesses as well. Even women of the highest class, though attended by servants, most often engaged in the tasks of the household, sewing, cooking, and entertaining, among others. Women who did not marry were not permitted to live independently. Instead, they lived in the households of their male relatives or, more often, joined a convent. From this article I collected a good bit of information on how and why Lady Macbeth acted the way she did back in the renaissance era BeyondJane , The role of women during the renaissance era , May 20, 2010 Women were often placed in arranged agreements to marry as early as the age of eight years old. A woman in the Renaissance usually got married somewhere between the ages of sixteen and twenty years old. Marriages were arranged not for reasons of romantic love, but for business reasons, in the interest of trade relations,......

Words: 812 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

What Kind of Hierarchies Do We Encounter in the Study of Art from 1400-1600?

...What kind of hierarchies do we encounter in the study of art from 1400-1600? Ideas of the Renaissance The hierarchical phenomenon operating between the years 1400-1600 shaped and organised Renaissance society, heavily defining codes of conduct and correct communal correlations. What’s more, it was a comprehensive and widespread concept that manifested from various angles in Italian Renaissance art. Hierarchical influence can be encountered when considering the contention between several aspects of Renaissance art, and the bearing this classification and ranking process had on the canon of art history was considerable given the periods place in it. Specifically, this ladder of position operated within the competitive frameworks between the liberal and mechanical arts, Early Renaissance and High Renaissance artists, male and female artists, patrons and their employees in the practice of patronage, genres of art works, and painters and sculptors. When trying to understand how a period is structured and works as a whole, consideration of the hierarchies operating within it reveal some clear points of focus. Societies generally work on a ‘pyramid of prestige’, and Renaissance Italy followed this rule. Each societal member had a place, and was expected to fully understand the boundaries this position placed upon them. Societal roles were clear, and every person was conscious of their social standing, whether it be that they were higher or lower than the next......

Words: 2545 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

The Evolution of Women in Comedy

...The Evolution of Women in Comedy: From the Italian Renaissance to Today Since the rejuvenation of comedies during the Italian Renaissance, the roles of women in comedy have changed and fluctuated dramatically along with the roles of women in society. Female characters in comedy have ranged from stock characters with no control, to women who take some control via masquerades, to women with freedom but no personality, and finally to the fully empowered, funny women we watch on screen today. Throughout the centuries these changes in comedy have occurred to allow many women to reach their full comedic potential. Changes in comedy to include funny women are ultimately tied to changes in societal views, and this paper aims to explore the journey it took to empower women in comedy, starting from the return of comedy during the Italian Renaissance. Just as in the Middle Ages, women of the Italian Renaissance were granted neither freedom nor independence. With very little exception, women were controlled by men for their entire lives, first ruled over by their parents during childhood and then sent straight into a marriage arranged by their family to a man they probably did not want to marry (“Women”). This lack of freedom encompassed many areas. Women were expected to be housewives and only housewives. They could not leave the home without a male escort and in fact could not even own a home. Women who did not marry were forced to live with a male relative or live in a convent and......

Words: 1702 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Merchant of Venice & Pygmalion

...In The Merchant of Venice and Pygmalion, Portia and Eliza on the surface seem to be typical women of their time, sold to men and told who to marry. Although more than 300 years separate these two plays, the role of females is very similar in that they are portrayed by society as objects of desire. Women typically got their identity from that of their husband’s power and status. Portia and Eliza both illustrate how women can have great influence and which is unheard of from women in the renaissance and early 20th century. Shakespeare and Shaw use female characters to convey the true definition of feminism by creating heroic and independent characteristics in Portia and Eliza. As seen in both the Merchant of Venice and Pygmalion, Eliza and Portia were both given arranged marriages and told who they belong to. This was the common thing that was done in renaissance time (Merchant of Venice) and also in the early 1900’s (Pygmalion). In Pygmalion, Higgins says “Very well, then, what on earth is all this fuss about? The girl doesn't belong to anybody—is no use to anybody but me”, Higgins is implying that Eliza doesn’t belong to anyone at the moment, meaning that a girl should belong to someone. In Merchant of Venice, Nerissa is quoted “Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you, will, no doubt, never be......

Words: 1055 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Hwscloud

...Noel Kleinbardt Mrs. McFarlane World History Renaissance Man My current day renaissance man that I chose was Jeff Bridges. Jeff Bridges has done a lot of significant things thorough his lifetime. He is currently 65, and is an actor, singer, producer, and a composer. Now, what exactly is a Renaissance man? A Renaissance man is a well round person. Back in the actual Renaissance times around (1330-1550) standards for a Renaissance man were very high. Back then a Renaissance man was charming, educated, skilled with your sword, classic, well mannered, athletic, could play music, and could write poetry. Believe it or not but Jeff actually meets many of these qualities from back then. Jeff is a highly acclaimed actor and song composer. Some movies that Jeff has been in are: R.I.P.D., Iron Man, Tron Legacy, Ted, The Giver, and The Pilot, just to name a few. Some studio albums by Jeff are: “Be Here Soon”, which was released on January 1st, 2000. Another album of his is “Jeff Bridges”, which was released on August 16th, 2011. Raphael Sanzio was also a renaissance man during the actual renaissance from the 1300-1600. Raphael was an Italian. He died on April 6th, 1520 at the age of 37. Raphael was know greatly for his paintings. Most of Raphael’s work is know for his great clarity. He made things look so clear and crisp. Raphael was very productive, owned a big workshop. Raphael in my eyes was a renaissance man back in his time because he mastered an art. He was very good at......

Words: 350 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Romeo and Juliet

...story is played in the theatre style of the Renaissance; audiences could see violence, young boys are playing female rolls without wearing masks, many scenes and time change. However, if it was played in Greek theatre style, the audience could see a different style of performance and there would be a different effect. In Greek Theatre we would see no violence; males would play female parts by wearing masks, there would be one setting and day light only. In the Renaissance theatre violence was shown frequently at their performances. In the story of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is involved in a street fight and he kills Tybalt, who was Juliet’s cousin. In the Greek theatre no violence was shown. If it was played in Greek theatre style, the audience wouldn’t see violence in the theatre. In my opinion, if we want to play Romeo and Juliet in Greek Theatre style, the option would be a narrator to tell the story of the street fight which ends up with the death of Juliet’s cousin which eventually raises the tension between two families and the opposition of Juliet’s family with marriage to Romeo. In Romeo and Juliet, we can see young boys playing women’s roles in Renaissance style. They create typical images of female characteristics. In a Renaissance theatre young boys were the performers of female roles and they wore no masks if required. Teenage boys were used to play female roles because of their high pitched voices, sounding more like women; they look more natural...

Words: 826 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Fashion History

...known as the renaissance of culture commerce and learning. It was in this period that the Italy states started establishing banking and trading which helped in the stabilization of the economy throughout Europe. Q.2 One of the most thriving sectors of business during this period was the textile industry. New materials as well as innovative techniques in sewing and cutting transformed tailoring of clothes. The merchants who used to trade clothes influence the textile industry by expanding the markets of clothes that were manufactured in Italy. Moreover, they introduced new designs from different parts of the World such as the Middle East, Rome, and Turkey: the new designs had a significant impact on the textile industry in Italy. The trade activities by the Venetian merchants led to intercultural interactions between Italy and Middle East. Q.3 Some of the major sources of information about the Italian costumes of the in the Renaissance period were primary sources such as paintings, actual garments, and paintings by painters such as Memling Durer, Cranach and Davinci. Secondary sources included the art of the Renaissance in the North Europe and Renaissance humanism. Some of the disadvantages of these sources were that they easily available to every Hence most of the tailors found themselves manufacturing clothes of similar designs Q.4 The trendsetters of women clothes in were referred to as Venetian courtesans. They played the role of artfully differentiating women clothes......

Words: 368 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Lusanna

...Giovanni and Lusanna Love and Marriage in Renassiance Florence Florence, Italy during the fourteenth century was a place that men and women didn't have individual freedom. They were not allowed to portray any personal identity outside of their social class; values and demands of their family, state, and church according to Jacob Burckhardt. Women of noble and aristocratic lineage during this period had limited rights, few opportunities, and they had no value in society. A woman of this time was viewed as passive and powerless objects. A women’s primary function was to bare children to maintain the family lineage. When it came to marriage they were arranged, young women typically married between the ages of twelve and eighteen to ensure that they were virgins on their wedding night. Men married in their early thirties to acquire a large enough fortune and status in society. Upon marriage they would gain a dowry from the bride's family, the dowry amount was based on the value of the groom. Marriage was a social and economic contract between families as well as to form alliances between families. The contract was typically sealed in a series of social rituals. There would be an exchange of gifts and rings; the wedding banquet displayed the grooms social position and assets. Giovanni and Lusanna, written by Gene Brucker is a tale of a Renaissance love affair that was taken to trial by Antonio the brother Lusanna to determine whether or not the two lovers were indeed......

Words: 686 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

What Is Humanism

...meaning it is that they themselves believe and can often be the foundation of confusion. Modern humanism can vary from the renaissance humanism in many ways, because generations have changed and different problems arose through the time periods. Modern humanism depends on reason and human life itself, it rejects all sense of supernaturalism and has a dual origin. While renaissance humanism directly focuses on the arts, culture, and rhetorical traditions. In this generation the infatuation with humans and life itself describes differences that these three readings have. However, the author’s opinions on humanism connects the similarities that they share. In Margaret L. King’s Renaissance Humanism, the different essays cover the opinions of humanism which ties to the papal court and all medieval traditions . In each essay the topic is focused on literary and religious magnitudes as well as the idea of classical learning. The beliefs and aspirations of the people were centered on God and saints as well as some scholars becoming more interested in the sciences and arts . During the timeframe of these writings women who practiced humanism were often looked upon as problematic. They were typically more intelligent and willingly tried to step out of the typical function allowed to them by men and the society of this era. But as often as not these same women would end up falling back into the role expected of them, be it marriage and motherhood or perhaps becoming nuns . It......

Words: 1116 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Medivial

...In the study of English literature, the medieval period and the Renaissance represent two distinctly different eras. Not only did the language itself change between the two periods, but the scope and subject of literature changed. Broadly speaking, medieval literature revolved around Christianity and chivalry, while Renaissance literature focused on man himself, the progress of arts and sciences, and the emergence of humanism. Medieval and Renaissance literature were influenced by two completely different eras in human history. During the Middle Ages, (A.D. 1066- 1500) the toils of daily life affected the mindset of those at this time. As a result, these ideas found its way into the making of Medieval literature. However, after the great rediscovery of the classical civilizations during A.D. 1500- 1660, men began creating what is now looked upon as Renaissance literature. Though they are both forms of writing, their history as a part of society greatly differed from contrasting philosophies of life, leading to two different personalities. Medieval Literature During the Middle Ages, a great emphasis was placed on the blend of fantasy and reality. Though characters were given human characteristics, their personalities transcended to those of fictitious figures (God, Saints, and revered leaders). Additionally, these stories incorporated the codes of romance and honor, reliving the ideals of chivalry in writing. Furthermore, there was a religious overtone hidden in......

Words: 436 - Pages: 2