Social and political power was in the hands of men in the Elizabethan period (despite Elizabeth I) and women in the upper classes were in a particularly unenviable position, as their value was a means for powerful and rich men to amass more power and riches. They had no say, and once married their main function was to produce an heir and daughters for the family’s further advancement.
Yet, there are a number of very powerful and strong women in Shakespeare who sometimes have political influence on their husbands or disguise themselves as men so that they can be taken seriously.
Cordelia, Lady Macbeth, Portia and Juliet are only some of these strong women who influenced on other characters and the play itself.
Could they have succeeded in today’s world?
Garber, Majorie, Shakespeare after all 2008. Anchor, UK
Parker, Tina, Women of Will. 2015 Vintage Books a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York
Wells, S. and Taylor, G. eds. 1986 William Shakespeare: The complete works. Claredon Press. Oxford