The critique of women in Shakespeare's plays
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In many of William Shakespeare's plays, women play a central role in moving the plot forward. These women become catalysts for the drama that unfolds, especially in Shakespeare's tragedies, where the reactions of the other characters depend on the actions of the women. Desdemona from Othello and Lady Macbeth from Macbeth play this role in their respective plays. Both women play similar roles even though their personalities are vastly different. Desdemona becomes an almost stereotypical woman once she marries Othello. This new personality affects her negatively because it ultimately leads to her demise. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, blurs gender lines by acting similar to a man for personal gain. But, like Desdemona, her personality leads to her death. Shakespeare uses Desdemona and Lady Macbeth as important plot devices and to experiment with gender roles. His female characters then become subtle critics on Elizabethan society's traditions and views of women.