Romeo and Juliet Gender Roles

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The society of Verona had major differences among the way men and women should act. Men were expected to be masculine and carry themselves with honor and pride; while women were expected to please their men and hold their own opinions. Nevertheless, Romeo and Juliet defied the expected gender roles of their society.

Men in Verona, during this time, induced a strong sense of power over women. Whereas, women were looked at as possessions who were supposed to do what the men asked of them. Yet, Romeo and Juliet tested these ideas by challenging these gender roles. Romeo defied his masculinity and possessed much more feminine and passive traits. In Act I, Romeo communicated in a poetic tone to the other men. Romeo was in love. His way of thinking was made fun of by many of his peers as being feminine. His male role faded in the eyes of others. He put himself below Juliet and spoke to her in a weak tone, especially during the well-known balcony scene. “O speak again, bright angel, for thou art / As glorious to this night, being o’er me head, / As a winged messenger of heaven” (Shakespeare 2.2.26-28). Men in Verona during this time period would never put themselves below a woman. Romeo challenged many of the male gender roles for this time.

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Women of Verona were viewed to be a totally different rank to the men of that time. They were thought of as lesser value, powerless, and essentially just items to possess. Women were expected to have arranged marriages, as well as, obey and honor their husbands.

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