The Role and Expectations of Women Throughout British Literature

Timeline created by ag.sotomayor
  • 1300

    Dive Into British Literature

    Dive Into British Literature
    In this project, I will be exploring the roles and expectations of women throughout British Literature ranging from the 14th to the 18th century. The different literature will include a summary followed by an analysis of the writing focusing on women's expected roles, behavior, and physical appearance.
    *If you are interested in learning more about the theme, click the link below*
    Link text
  • 1325

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition
    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition is named after its creator, Francesco Petrach, an Italian man. Petrarch created Petrarchan sonnets in 1327, but it was eventually popularized and used in British Literature among English writers.
  • 1350

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I
    This poem focused on the encounter between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Green Knight challenged Sir Gawain. In the meantime, Sir Gawain found a castle. The host agrees to let him stay there as long as he agrees that every day he would go hunting with his men and bring back what he caught during the hunt, while Sir Gawain stayed at the castle and would exchange what he found during his stay. Meanwhile, the host told his wife to tempt Sir Gawain to test his loyalty and honor.
  • 1350

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight II

    In the poem, the host’s wife plays a crucial role. She is the one tempting Sir Gawain and so, this poem portrays expectations of women as one who caters and obeys her husband. This is the stereotypical and misogynistic view that women are only useful for obeying men and satisfying sexual desires. Although, she wanted to do this, with enthusiasm, she did this because her husband told her. Unfortunately, because of her sexuality and her enthusiasm, she is looked at in a bad way by readers.
  • 1386

    The Wife of Bath I: Prologue

    The Wife of Bath I: Prologue
    In the Wife of Bath's Prologue we learn about her personal life and personality. She tells us that she has been married five times and is very sexual. She is not ashamed of this and explains her need to have control over her five husbands. In her prologue, she explains that her fifth husband was abusive. They had a physical altercation, which resulted in him promising her anything as long as she lived. In this moment, she gained control over him and became a loyal wife.
  • 1386

    The Wife of Bath II: Tale

    In the Wife of Bath’s Tale, she speaks about a knight that raped a young lady. The queen says that he must answer “What does a woman desire in this world?” so he can be freed. The knight meets an old woman who gives him the answer. She tells him that women want control and power over their husbands. She asks him to choose between her being young and unfaithful or old/ugly, but faithful. He gives her the choice and she chose to be young, beautiful, and faithful since it was her choice.
  • 1386

    The Wife of Bath III

    Both the Wife of Bath’s entries justify going against social norms. In both texts, women had to obey men or their husbands. In the Wife of Bath’s Tale, the knight is asked to answer the question about women, which portrays women as being extremely complicated and that only a man has the ability to figure out the answer. It also addresses female sexuality, and it is evident that the Wife of Bath is not ashamed of her sexuality and encourages that women be sexual, fearless beings.
  • 1500

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: British Literature

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: British Literature
    Petrarchan sonnets were first used in British Literature in the 1500s. The sonnets' characteristics are:
    1.Written to a virtuous woman to convince her to love the writer back.
    2.The poet is love-sick/heart-broken, and sometimes rails against the woman because of the rejection.
    3.The woman is described: usually blonde, pale skinned, red lips, dark eyes.
    4.Has the ability to make the woman change her mind and/or immortalize her.
    5.Common metaphors make love into a battle, disease, torture, etc.
  • 1570

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: Spenser's Sonnet 75

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: Spenser's Sonnet 75
    Sonnet 75, written by Edmund Spenser, focuses on his dedication to his lover. He explains that he writes her name in the sand, but that the tide washes it away every time. He is heartbroken because she does not love him back, however, he continues to try to immortalize her. At one point, she tells him that his attempts are being done in vain. This makes the woman look bad, because he is devoted to her and continues trying, but she does not love him back.
  • Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: Shakespeare's Sonnet 130

    Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition: Shakespeare's Sonnet 130
    In Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, he writes about a dark lady. Throughout the sonnet, he compares her to other beauties. However, he emphasizes that she is different. Since, Petrarchan Sonnet Tradition has features that the typical beautiful women has, in Sonnet 130, the dark lady is mocked and considered unattractive, because she has the opposite features.
  • Othello I

    Othello I
    In this play, we learn about Othello, a black warrior and his wife, Desdemona. Desdemona’s father does not approve of the marriage, and so he disowns her. We meet Iago and Emilia and Iago sets up Desdemona to make it seem as if she's having an affair. Emilia manages to get Desdemona’s handkerchief so Iago plants it on Cassio. As a result, Othello orders Iago to murder Cassio and he kills Desdemona himself. Othello ends up killing himself because he discovers that it was all set up by Iago.
  • Othello: Desdemona II

    Othello: Desdemona II
    Desdemona who married Othello was the “ideal” wife, because she always obeyed her husband and was a submissive partner. She chooses to follow her role as a women by choosing her husband and even chooses him over her father. She was a great wife, and behaved as she was expected to.
  • Othello: Bianca IV

    Othello: Bianca IV
    Bianca was described as a prostitute. Therefore, Bianca was judged and shamed quite often because of this idea that she was not “pure” and it was as if no one had any respect for her. Since she was a prostitute, she was financially dependent on the men that paid her for her services. Without those men and their money, she would not be able to afford anything- making her both obedient and dependent of men.
  • Othello: Emilia III

    Othello: Emilia III
    Emilia obeys her husband and she follows him blindly and unknowingly to her, by providing him the handkerchief he was able to carry out his evil plan. However, with Emilia the reader sees a drastic change in her. After Desdemona was killed, she was furious and stood up to Othello. In this moment, she went against all the expectations men had set for her and by acting out, she was going against societal norms during the 17th century.
  • Paradise Lost I

    Paradise Lost I
    In Book 9, Milton, focuses on Adam and Eve, who were told by God not to eat from the forbidden tree. As Adam and Eve began doing their work, Eve realized that they were not doing much work together. Instead they ended up talking which led to them having sex. Eve suggests that they split up and while Adam is against this idea, he agrees. During this time, Satan had taken over a snake and decided that he was going to tempt Eve to eat fruit from the forbidden tree and succeeds.
  • Paradise Lost: Eve II

    Paradise Lost: Eve II
    Eve was very into herself and her appearance. This is seen when as soon as she sees her own reflection, she becomes fascinated by it and even claims that she wants to be with the person she saw (herself). She was also seeking independence and so when the snake found Eve alone, he was able to trick her. This comes to show that from the beginning of time women are seen as people who are vain and that she needs a man, because if she was with Adam she would have never given into temptation.
  • Carpe Diem Poetry: To His Coy Mistress I

    Carpe Diem Poetry: To His Coy Mistress I
    Carpe diem poems were written by poets to women. In these poems, they basically asked the women to seize the day and to have sex with them. In Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress’” the speaker wants his mistress to sleep with him before death claims her. He claims that if they had more time, that he would love her forever, but since they do not they might as well sleep together. He also focuses on the fact that when they die, it will take away her beauty and youthfulness.
  • Carpe Diem Poetry: To His Coy Mistress II

    Marvell’s carpe diem poem is based on sex. While, he does mention love, he expects his woman to consent and eventually have sex with him. He does this by attempting to scare her with the concept of death. The speaker also mentions beauty and the fact that it will fade when death gets them. He is associating sex with this woman to her youthfulness and beauty. This stereotype that women should be submissive is seen in a majority of carpe diem poetry.
  • The Lady's Dressing Room I

    The Lady's Dressing Room I
    In The Lady's Dressing Room written by Jonathan Swift, he speaks about Strephon, who likes Cecilia. He speaks about how she takes hours to get ready and eventually, he decides to sneak into her dressing room. When he does, he realizes that Cecilia's dressing room is very messy and disgusting. He is shocked and his view of Cecilia and women in general completely changes.
  • The Lady's Dressing Room II

    In The Lady's Dressing Room, women are constantly stereotyped. As soon as the poem begins, the reader finds out that Cecilia takes about five hours to get ready. This was a way for the writer, a man, to mock women and claims that women are vain, and only care about their appearance. In addition, Strephon sneaks into her dressing room. This was an invasion of privacy, yet as a man he feels entitled to do so and instead of realizing he was wrong, completely judges Cecilia.