present herself as a “female prince” (Gerlach, Almasy, and Daniel n.pg; Preedy, “‘I Am No Woman, I’: Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Elizabethan Erotic Verse” 46) and KingJamestheFirst(1603-1625), who considered himself to be a “male mother” [Butler, “James I of England (1566-1625)”; Gerlach, Almasy, and Daniel n.pg.; Trubowitz 311], like King Zeus in Ancient Greece.Androgyny as “Evil” and Stereotypes about Gender BehaviorApart from those who shared the opinion that the coexistence of masculine and feminine features in one body constructed a “perfect” human being, there were also others who believed that each gender had its own separate characteristics which made one gender behave differently from the other and that was the “normal” situation; thus, androgyny was considered an indication of “evil”. What should be underscored here is that both male and female attributes were not supposed to be innate in human souls, but both masculinity and femininity were culturally defined (Ramsey 297; Schorkhuber n.pg.; Wright 9).As far as gender stereotypes in the Renaissance are concerned, men were estimated to be “the head of the family” and women completely depended on their fathers (if they were single) or their husbands (if they were married). Also, men were anticipated to be involved in public matters (as commanders, warriors or politicians), to take determinant decisions and be devoted to their state (Gerlach, Alamasy, and Daniel n.pg; Ramsey 290,294; Rivera 5; R. Wells 117). On the other hand, women’s role was much more passive and “normal” ladies should share somespecific “feminine” virtues, such as quietness, submission, loyalty, sexual purity, reliability, timidity and endurance (Aughterson 109; Eales 23-24; Gerlach,
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6Alamasy, and Daniel n. pg.; King 52-56; Rackin 132; Reich n. pg.; R. Wells 219-239) . Of course, women were believed to be inferior to men, as Christian faith taught people.Shakespeare’s opinionWilliam Shakespeare uses gender ideology as a major theme in most of his plays. In his works, for example in Macbeth, Shakespeare both reflects and disputes gender stereotypes through the presentation of his characters, some of whom accept and reproduce the stereotypes which define and accompany “normal”human behavior, like Macduff and Lady Macduff in Macbeth, whereas some othersreject them through adopting characteristics that “normally” belong to the opposite sex, like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth2(Gerlach, Alamasy, and Daniel, n. pg).What should be emphasized is that, although Shakespeare presents both the opinion that androgyny is “wholeness” and the viewpoint that androgyny is “evil”, he in fact indirectly expresses his personal opinion. To be more specific, he implies that androgyny can be “wholeness”, but this can happen only when there is a balance between masculine and feminine characteristics. When such a balance doesnot exist, very serious problems arise, something that is obvious in Macbeth. In other words, a man for example, is a “perfect” human being if he possesses both masculine (70%-75%) and feminine characteristics (25%-30%) and on the
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