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Anne and Juliet: Strong or Not so Strong, that is the Question

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Andrea Justice Survey of Shakespeare October 1, 2002 Anne and Juliet: Strong or Not so Strong, that is the Question William Shakespeare has a way with female characters unlike any other writer of his time or before him. He creates women of his time that have strength, intellect and passion. Although some critics may dispute the strength of certain female characters, such as Juliet of Romeo and Juliet or Lady Anne of Richard III, there are no passive or one dimensional female leads. Though they are human and do err it is in their humanity that they draw their strength and passion. Juliet, although seemingly na�ve, is really mature for her age. She has insight beyond the age of a thirteen year old. When she says, "Tis but thy name that is my enemy; thou art thyself, though not a Montegue" she is expressing that she is not caught up in the feud between her family and Romeo's. While her cousin Tybalt is so obsessed with hating the Montegues, she has the insight even at the age of an early teen, to realize that simply because Romeo is a Montegue does not mean that he is at all like his kinsman. Juliet understands that Romeo is an individual and she will judge his character accordingly. ...read more.


Juliet's character has been criticized for killing herself when she find that Romeo has taken poison because he thought she was dead. Many people with their modern mindset cannot possibly comprehend why she would want to commit suicide when she was so young and had her entire life to live. It would seem that she was weak and childish to end her life over a man she barely knew. But Juliet was not immature and had reasons for killing herself. If she were to live still her parents would find out about Romeo and they would have been upset with her for that. She most likely would have been forced to marry Paris still and live a miserable life with him, knowing all the while that Romeo commited suicide because he didn't want to spend the rest of his life without her. To the unromantic mind it would seem folly but in her eyes Juliet can only think of the horror of his suicide and how much she loves him. Lady Anne is a character that could easily be misinterpreted as weak and fickle. She marries the man that murdered her husband thus placing her own curse upon herself, "if ever [Richard] have wife, let her be made more miserable by the death of him then I am made by my young lord and thee!" ...read more.


When Richard offers her his breast at sword point she refuses to kill him, "...though I wish thy death, I will not be thy executioner." Anne's strength also lies in her power to admit her faults. She is insightful enough to realize that she is the cause of her own ruin by marrying Richard, the fiend she despises, "within to small a time, my woman's heart grossly grew captive to his honeyed words, and prov'd the subject of mine own soul's curse." She knows that for a moment she was seduced and that she must now pay the consequences "besides he hates me for my father Warwick; and will, no doubt soon be rid of me". There is no weeping widow unable to stand her ground, there is no shamed woman unable to comprehend the situation. Anne fully expresses herself in the presence of the very man that murdered her husband as she knows full well how Richard accomplished his task in seducing her. She is not in denial nor is she crying out "woe is me". Anne's fault lies only in her humanity which is where her strength lies also. Both Juliet and Anne are strong characters because they make their own decisions. Though a modern audience may not agree with their decisions these characters think and have insight, wit and maturity. These women are consciese of their humanity and imperfection and are aware of their emotions decisions. Both these women show fearlessness ahead of their time. ...read more.

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