Shakespeare’s Women Characters and International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is being celebrated with fervour across the world. Politicians are busy playing their gambits; actors and actresses are busy promoting their ‘next women-centric movie’; sportspersons are busy telling the world how they respect and love their female admirers and women are standing aside and waiting to see what will be done by others. So, what will the book lovers do? What will the literary fraternity do to celebrate the women’s day? Well, for those who are satisfied reading heroics by women, I have an idea. I have remembered Shakespeare once again and brought the classical Shakespearean rabbit out of the hat once more – let’s celebrate the women’s day by reminding the world that women empowerment is not new as a concept. A sage Shakespeare saw the women as powerful and capable many decades ago. Let’s have a recap of some of the powerful Shakespearean dramas which celebrate all women show!

As You Like It: Well, I am sure you must already be listening to the echoes – Rosalind! Yes, Rosalind’s character in the romantic comedy As You Like It is sheer joy to watch and observe. She takes the proceedings in her own hands disguised as Ganymede. She utters some of the powerful lines on the stage which set the audience alert.

“Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.” Act. IV, Sc. I

The Merchant of Venice: Who can forget Portia? Charming and daring and intelligent and prudent and witty and clever and also strong enough to stand for her love! Portia’s character can always be an example for the women who are afraid of taking on the world for their loved ones. Never forget Portia, readers!

“We will answer all things faithfully.” Act. V. Sc. I

Macbeth: Yes, you guessed it right! Lady Macbeth is the force which drives Macbeth’s ambition into action and when he fails, it is Lady Macbeth’s dagger that works. Though critics and feminists might not like her character to be a right kind of example for empowered women in Shakespeare, still, Lady Macbeth’s character has a devilish charm which compels the readers and the audience to praise her – well, modern day movies also run because of the villains!

“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition; but without
The illness should attend it.”
Lady Macbeth, Act. Sc. V

Hamlet: Ophelia is the character in the play Hamlet which holds the pieces of the confused prince together and rescues her from a potential wreck any moment. She is not as powerful and ambitious as Lady Macbeth; however, she is surely sensible enough and wise. ‘Hamlet’ has seen so many research done on the character of Ophelia.

“O, woe is me
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!”
Ophelia, Act. III, Sc. I

Folks, we celebrate our women’s day like this! We read a lot and read about women who changed the course of literature eternally. Shakespeare was at the centre of not only theatrical revival but he also ripped an eternal wave. His women characters are always there – take up any example from the society that you can and you will find one Shakespearean women smiling.

Happy Women’s Day!


by Alok for LN