On Gender and Identity in Three Shakespearean Texts

Jocelyn Dukes Crawley, Georgia State University


The purpose of the present study was to examine the role that sociocultural and political mores play in shaping male and female value systems. The aforementioned value systems were examined with respect to the role they played in the development and evolution of the individual’s self-concept as well as how such persons interacted with other individuals in context of romantic/sexual relationships. To contextualize the construction of individual and collective identity as it pertains to the amorous sphere, consideration was given to culturally bound realities such as religious and political mores as they unfolded within both the Renaissance era and world of the text as constructed by its author. Findings included a great propensity towards the silencing and subjugation of women when they entered romantic relationships with men. However, various passages and themes of the plays examined revealed that female independence and agency can be realized within the romantic sphere.