Fashioning and Negotiating Women’s Rights: The Shakespearean Paradigm



How to Cite

Laghi, S. (2023). Fashioning and Negotiating Women’s Rights: The Shakespearean Paradigm. Linguæ & - Journal of Modern Languages and Cultures, 24(2), 71–92.


This paper aims to investigate how Shakespeare theatricalized the early modern patriarchal discourse on femininity and challenged gender stereotypes interwoven with outward appearance and demeanour. Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, far from fitting the female model that was being propagandized, seem to mirror the diversity among Renaissance women and the complexity of their roles as active and independent legal subjects able to negotiate their rights in the family and society. Considering that numerous women were in the theatre audience, they might have been the addressees of Shakespeare’s critique of the attempt to crystalize an old-fashioned idea of femininity by dismissing the transformation occurring in the early modern period. This analysis spurs us to reflect on whether such questions concerning the construction of womanhood that originated in the Renaissance still affect the achievement of gender equality in the twenty-first century.
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Copyright (c) 2024 Simona Laghi