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Comparing the depiction of women in literature. The two pieces I am comparing are, Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet and Hardys novella, The Withered Arm

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Rhoda, Gertrude, Nurse, Lady Cap, Juliet. At the mercy of men. Jack Wilson 12z Ms McGarry I am going to be comparing two pieces of literature. Both of the pieces have their similarities but at a glance they would not seem that similar. One is a play written in 1600`s and the other is a novella written in 1880`s. The two pieces are of very different genre, one is a play written for the stage and the other is a novella written in episodic chapters. I am going to be paying special attention to the women in each piece, not just the women but how they react and respond towards men. One of the pieces is set in "Fair Verona" and the other is set in "Rural England". The two pieces I am comparing are, Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and Hardy's novella, "The Withered Arm" Rhoda is a milkmaid and is the first character we meet in the story. At the start of the story Rhoda starts to appear that she is poor, hardworking and is trying to earn a living, "Shows marks of the lady on her, as I expect she do". ...read more.


The whole society revolves around men. Rhoda and the Nurse both bring up children and are similar as they are both lower class. I think that Rhoda has more morals than the nurse, I think this because when Rhoda in offered money by Farmer Lodge she says no and doesn't accept it and refuses, but when the Nurse is offered money by Romeo she doesn't hesitate to take it. Both Nurse and Rhoda are man-less, the Nurse is a widow and Rhoda is out of a relationship. I think Hardy and Shakespeare just made characters and didn't think about the fact that they were at the mercy of men, I think this because this was the norm when they were written and it would have been shocking if a woman didn't obey her husband. Gertrude is married to Farmer Lodge which has made Rhoda seem very jealous because she wants to find out what Gertrude is like, what she looks like, what is her personality like, so Rhoda sends her eight year old son to find out. Her eight year old son wears rags and tatty old clothes this is because Rhoda does not have enough money to buy clothes for her son and herself "She is not tall. ...read more.


We know that both Juliet and Gertrude are very pretty and are both described with natural imagery, "Rosy cheeked, Tipsy topsy" and "snowy dove". Men judge both of the girls on their appearance so it is very important for them to look good. I think Gertrude and Juliet are at the mercy of men the most, I think this because they both end up dieing because of their men, they are victims of love. Hardy is an omniscient narrator. Because of this it really helps to see how bad Rhoda and Gertrude are at the mercy of men. We can hear their inside monologue and this makes it very easy to understand his characters and get inside their head. Hardy and Shakespeare both create weak and vulnerable woman who are at the mercy of men, these woman deserve our sympathy. I do agree with that statement, the female characters base their live around men and would do anything to please them. I think the only exception is the Nurse, she is past her day of revolving around men, she still talks about sex a lot but I think she isn't as obsessed with her looks as the other four women. I think that both authors create interesting characters and they are defiantly at the mercy of men. ...read more.

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