Gender Identity in Shakespeare's Works

Analyze William Shakespeare’s various constructions of gender through his plays and/or sonnets and explore the significance of gender identity in his works. For example, in King Lear Shakespeare’s construction of gender emphasizes the multiple family betrayals and the humankind’s constant committal of sin. In many of his plays, Shakespeare plays around with gender identity and sexuality…why does he do this and what are the underlying themes/ points he makes through his constructions of gender?

  • This is an excellent choice. I think that whoever picks this up should definitely write on "As You Like It" which is ALL about gender dynamics, and "Taming of the Shrew" which is about dominating women. – Jemarc Axinto 5 years ago
  • From a literary perspective, this is quite a large topic, to the extent where you could write on this topic, whilst discussing only one of his plays. Macbeth would be the best play for discussion, in that there is plenty of obvious material. Twelfth Night would also be a good choice of a play to discuss, on this particular topic. – JDJankowski 5 years ago
  • I agree that it's probably a good idea to narrow the focus here. Maybe look at gender in just the tragedies or just the comedies. Or focus on a particular issue, such as women disguising themselves as men (Portia in Merchant of Venice; Rosalind in As You Like It; Viola in Twelfth Night) or the mysterious absence of King Lear's wife. – JLaurenceCohen 5 years ago
  • I would definitely be interested in a topic that dissects the genderfluidity in plays like Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night and how that relates to sexuality. Also, there's the absence of mothers, such as in Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, and King Lear. It would be intriguing, especially because of ideas in Elizabethean times, such as the belief that the uterus is essentially a lesser penis, and how those assumptions led to stereotypes about the sexes. Shakespeare is great at acknowledging and subverting then-modern thoughts, and his plays were rife with double entendres. – emilydeibler 5 years ago

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