Academic Scholars at Rydal Penrhos got the chance to explore the mind of one of the world’s greatest ever play writers as part of their latest session.
Head of English and Drama Leah Crimes held the seminar entitled ‘From Patriarchy to Partnership: Female Gender Roles in William Shakespeare’s Work’ on Friday, January 19.
During the session, pupils discussed the gender inequalities during Elizabethan times, and how women in Shakespeare’s plays displayed courage and ambition not normally associated with females of that era.
This could be attributed to the writer’s relationship with his mother Mary and wife Anne Hathaway, who perhaps helped evolve Shakespeare into a forward-thinking man way ahead of his time.
The group then looked at some of the strongest female characters within his various high-profile plays, including Rosalind (As You Like It), Portia (The Merchant of Venice), Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Katherine (The Taming of the Shrew) and the ruthless and determined Lady Macbeth.
Mrs Crimes, said: “Women's speaking parts in Shakespeare are dwarfed by the number of male parts, possibly because women weren't allowed to tread the boards until well after Shakespeare's death.
“King Charles II's decree in 1660 declared that "all the women’s parts to be acted in either of the said two companies may be performed by women", giving patents to two theatre companies to allow women to act. That same year, the first woman on a public stage played the part of Desdemona in Othello.”