THE COMPLEX AND CONTRADICTORY NATURE OF WOMEN CHARACTERS IN SHAKESPEARE'S GREAT TRAGEDIES
During Shakespeare's age women had very little authority, autonomy and recognition. They acquired status based on the position of their father or husband. They were expected to be silent observers. In these circumstances, Shakespeare created beautiful and unforgettable female characters who show great intelligence, vitality and a strong sense of personal independence, but also act as a mirror of his age. These qualities have led some critics to regard Shakespeare as an innovator who abandoned established characterizations and stereotypical ways of portraying women in the literary works of his age. Other critics suggest that Shakespeare was not free from the misogynistic tendencies that were present in the culture of the age in which he lived. Women are not main characters in Shakespeare`s plays but they play important roles in which it can clearly been seen what and how much the society and time in which they lived influenced them. The paper will focus on Shakespeare`s three great tragedies Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear. A close examination of the role of women in these tragedies reveals that, despite the social control placed upon them these women often reveal a strength that go beyond anything that can be expected.