• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the writers presentation of conflict and power between men and women In Thomas Hardys The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the DUrbervilles and William Shakespeares King Lear,

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast the writers presentation of conflict and power between men and women In Thomas Hardy?s ?The Mayor of Casterbridge?, ?Tess of the D?Urbervilles? and William Shakespeare?s ?King Lear?, the writers portray the lives of women and men during their time. One could argue male characters are generally seen to be stronger and powerful than female characters in each of the texts. In ?King Lear?, we are introduced to Lear?s three daughters, ?the eldest? Goneril, ?dearest? Regan and ?more opulent? Cordelia. In the story, Lear is seen to break natural order by dividing the kingdom into three for each of his daughters. He orders them to ?say doth love us most?, making Goneril speak first. Our reaction to Goneril?s speech is one of strong dislike, which is caused by her desire for power. The blend of power and femininity demonstrated in this speech from the Jacobean society is one of the main contributing factors to our disdain for Goneril. This is an idea which holds true today. It is interesting that for a male character this trait is not be so offensive. This is due to the gender differences and expectations in society. Similarly in the novel ?The Mayor of Casterbridge?, we clearly see the treatment of women in Victorian society. The novel begins with Henchard auctioning off his wife to the highest bidder at Weydon Fair, ?I?d sell mine this minute if anybody would buy her?, showing how in early nineteenth century England country women of this class, were viewed as nothing. They could be disposed of if their ?owners?, namely their husbands or fathers, wished, ?it has been done elsewhere?, illustrating just how common these auctions were. ...read more.


One could say Tess is ?more sinned against? as Hardy uses another theme of fate and free will as a symbolism for Tess? life. She uses her free will to choose or determine her own actions; however these actions she makes, seems like fate always brings her down. In comparison Henchard in ?The Mayor of Casterbridge? could possibly be seen as ?more sinned against? as well as ?sinning?. Henchard had sold his wife displaying him ?sinning?, however on the other hand one could possibly argue how it was not his fault as it was his fate and he cannot change his actions, making him ?more sinned against?. This could create sympathy for Henchard although he has done wrong, where usually the sympathy is for the female characters. In ?King Lear?, Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy by using a storm in Act 3 to conclude Lear?s insightful decisions. The storm is presented as a microcosm of Lear?s madness, as he encourages the storm to continue he shouts ?Blow winds and crack your cheeks!?. Lear personifies the wind as he asks the elements to destroy him, ?his little world of man? as he sees no importance of man or nature after his death. This shows how the word ?man? is the centre of importance and how the power of the storm is imagined to be originating from Lear, a male character. The ?fretful elements? are metaphors for Goneril and Regan where Lear is contending with his family. Kent being disguised gives the knight ?a ring? for Cordelia, being symbolic as the shape of a circle is seen with the ?one bearing a coronet?. This could also be seen with Edmund using a dramatic device, holding a ?letter?. ...read more.


Elizabeth ?Jane begins to like Farfrae as she believes "he seemed to feel exactly as she felt about life", presenting how although she has no mother figure to look out for her, her strong insight helps her to continue her life. As Susan left Henchard a letter explaining how Elizabeth-Jane was not his daughter, it seems as if he ?disowned? her by making her leave his house. The mother figure was seen to have a responsibility which Henchard as a male could not adapt to although Elizabeth-Jane was seen to be a step daughter to him. Differently Hardy uses the mother figure in ?Tess of the D?Urbervilles? however she is not present too often. We see her control Tess unlike in ?King Lear? and ?The Mayor of Casterbridge? where there is a father figure with no sense of control. Tess is made to go to the D?Urberville?s house by her mother, where one could say Tess? misfortunes began. She could represent time as although she is seen to be uneducated she still believes in ?old superstitions?, ?Between the mother, with her fast- perishing lumber of superstitions, folk-lore?? Mrs Durbeyfield could also represent pre-industrial England with the ?folk-lore? at that time. Both writers discuss the theme of women, however they are portrayed differently. ?King Lear? focuses on women gaining power and having control over the male characters. The female characters in ?The Mayor of Casterbridge? again have different roles, although this is mainly because the novel is set in the Victorian period where women?s roles were to take care of their husbands and children. Lastly ?Tess of the D?Urbervilles? displays how male characters have a strong control over women, and how this affects their overall lives. Sera Exton 13G ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. How are male/female relationships explored in the texts? William Shakespeares Macbeth; Carol Ann Duffys ...

    At the same time, it also shows that Lady Macbeth wants to be a support system to Macbeth. She also refers to him as his status 'lord' which gives him the respect he didn't have before meaning he is now above her and the traditional role of how a man

  2. Chance, Accident and Coincidence in The Mayor of Casterbridge

    All in all, in the matter of love, it is to choose either to love or not that determines the rise and fall of a character in Hardy's novel.

  1. Symbolism in The Joy Luck Club

    Although the servant relights the candle, Lindo exposes the truth to her mother-in-law that the flame died in the night, without making intervention known. In her plan to escape her marriage, Lindo takes advantage of the Chinese culture and the superstitions of the candle to convince her mother-in-law to annul the wedding.

  2. The childs inability to interpret the adult world is often central to the presentation ...

    She was a young thirteen, I know." Also significant in the presentation of childhood in 'Atonement' is the gulf between the adults and the children. On pondering her interruption of the library, Briony realises that Robbie must hate her. She describes it as "another entry, another first: to be hated by an adult...Children hated generously, capriciously.

  1. Comment on the writers presentation of loneliness and companionship in the novels The Old ...

    The author progresses from the frame narrative to the first section of the novel "Toronto and Pondicherry", which through the first line presents the suppressive tone of tragedy as "My suffering left me sad and gloomy". The reader immediately identifies Pi's experience to have had an effect, with the author

  2. Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses dramatic conventions in his plays and why ...

    When Hamlet attacks Gertrude he attempts to help her. Hamlet cannot see who it is and thinks it is Claudius, he then stabs and kills him. This goes back to the idea of masks in Much Ado about Nothing, as Hamlet does not know who it is.

  1. "How do the authors portray love in their texts?" Macbeth By William Shakespeare, ...

    She also says ?the seed of fire get feeble and cold.? Over here she is referring to herself as the ?seed of fire? and says that she will carry on supporting her family till that seed of fire gets cold, meaning she will work till the day she can?t stop.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways Margret Atwood and William Blake present the power of ...

    one another and the syllabus the Aunts teach was based on the ideology of the patriarchal Gileadean government. The moral of this by Atwood was perhaps to encourage women to empower each other against patriarchy, the solidarity creating a stronger, less vulnerable female society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work