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Shakespeare Rejected The Stereotype Of The Passive, Sexless, Unresponsive Female And Its Inevitable Concomitant, The Misogynist Conviction That All Women Were Whores At Heart (Germaine Greer) Notes

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Shakespeare

rejected

the

stereotype

of

the

passive,

sexless,

unresponsive


female

and

its

inevitable

concomitant,

the

misogynist

conviction

that

all


women

were

whores

at

heart

(Germaine

Greer)


Shakespeare

undoubtedly

wrote

many

attractive

parts

for

female

actors,

(the


heroines

in

The

Winter's

Tale

1610

for

example)

or

rather,

they

are

now


perceived

to

be

so

to

modern

actresses.

Within

the

limitations

of

his


contemporary

situation,

the

roles

that

were

adopted

by

the

adolescent

boys

of


Shakespeare's

theatre

company

were

inescapable

coloured

by

male


interpretation.

A

theatre

void

of

female

influence,

save

for

the

playwrights

own


views

and

opinions

is

unsurprisingly

misogynistic

in

tone.

While

Shakespeare


may

have

pioneered

in

offering

more

than

one

typeset

in

his

female

roles,

it


would

be

inaccurate

to

claim

that

he

wholly

rejected

the

harlot

stereotype

itself,


and

it

is

worth

noting

that

he

himself

established

many

of

the

theatrical


stereotypes

that

are

still

prominent

today

(the

'Juliets',

the

Lady

Macbeths

for


instance)

.

What

is

more

fitting

is

that,

like

with

most

aspects

of

his

dramatic

art,


Shakespeare

offers

variety.

Also,

quite

importantly,

while

his

female

characters


may

themselves

defy

misogynistic

expectations,

their

male

counterparts

attempt


to

trap

reshape

them

into

these

terms.


In

Hamlet

(1603)

the

characters

of

Ophelia

and

Gertrude

are

not

so

much


individuals

as

vessels

in

which

the

other

male

characters,

particularly

Hamlet,


project

their

own

psychologies

onto.

For

example

in

the

closet

scene

of

Act

IV

in


which

the

climax

of

Hamlet

and

Gertrude's

interactions

is

reached,

we

are

denied


what

both

the

plot

and

our

position

within

it

demands;

some

form

of

exposition


and

explanation.

Despite

this,

and

Hamlet's

intentions

to

hold

up

a

mirror

to

his

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