Shakespeare and Feminism

Shakespeare and Feminism

Between lectures and listening to all of Shakespeare’s plays over, a second time, I was thinking about running commentary.

While “feminism” wasn’t even an idea, a number of the plays deal with the question of, “What is a good king?” (Or monarch as Elizabeth was the Queen and, totally unrelated, a patron of the arts.)

The second “Henriad,” Richard II, Henry IV part I & II, Henry V, yes, the academic circles suggested it was about the nature of a true king. Earlier history plays, the Henry 6 tetralogy, the first Henriad, that starts with announcing that King Henry V was the essence of what a good king – a good ruler – was supposed to be.

Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
That have consented unto Henry’s death:
King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!
England ne’er lost a king of so much worth.

    Bedford, opening lines, Shakespeare’s 6 Henry 1.

So the question of divine succession or necessary skills-sets, which makes for a better ruler?

Whether Queen Elizabeth was the ruler of England by divine right, or by legal succession, either way, she was good.

Shakespeare and Feminism

While no feminist by post-modern terms, sure, Shakespeare’s work, and especially his historical work at the time, shows that he’s helping shore up the established order with the Queen as the boss.

Really, it’s just Shakespeare as a hobby.

This was inspired by a notation that there was textual evidence for something about Shakespeare and Feminism, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t capture that exact thought. History play questions and defining a good ruler. Queen Elizabeth on the throne. No, the connection is lost.

I was this close to something.


About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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