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Women in the Plays of Shakespeare By paying close attention to the female's role in Shakespeare's plays, we can view his works with a brand new outlook. But we must remember that we're examining a man dramatist of extraordinary range writing in a distant period when women's position was in clear ways more limited and less contested than in our own period. Sandra Gilbert writes in The Madwoman in the Attic that literature is understood to be a mirror held up to nature and society, "the mimetic aesthetic that begins with Aristotle and descends through Shakespeare suggests that the poet, like a lesser God, has produced or engendered an alternative, mirror-universe where he actually appears to enclose or snare shadows of reality" (Madwoman 5). While some artists do not necessarily replicate in their artwork the "realities" of their civilization, they could exploit them to make character or intensify conflict, or struggle , criticize, or transcend them. Shakespeare, it would appear, "encompasses more and preaches less than most authors, thus the centuries-old controversy over his religious affiliation, political perspectives, and sexual preferences" (Lenz 4). His attitude toward women are equally intricate and demand as much examination. As we begin to examine the female characters, we must overlook the male superiority that patriarchal misogyny suggests from the literature of the age, as evidenced in several research. Back in "Shakespeare: on Love and Lust", Charney describes the stance taken by critics such as Janet Adelman at "Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare's Plays, Hamlet to The Tempest", and Kahn's "Man's Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare". He claims that both of these writers, as many others do, view Sh...