Gender roles in the Sixteenth Century

Gender roles in the Sixteenth Century
Gender roles in the Sixteenth Century

Essay One: Gender roles in the Sixteenth Century

In this essay the goal is to analyze several brief satirical plays or dialogues about male and female gender roles within the patriarchal household in the sixteenth century. You may choose two of the three plays by Hans Sachs, and/or the Colloquy by Erasmus.

This essay should be about 750 words, or about three pages, typed and double-spaced (in 12 point font). All essays should have a clearly stated argumentative thesis supported by textual evidence. Each essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion. You can use quotes from the plays (be sure to put the page number in parentheses after the quote), but the quotes should not be too long. Provide an interpretation of the quote as well.

You may choose to focus on either the male or female roles in your essay, but either one should be considered within the context of the patriarchal household. You can discuss both male and female roles of course but it might be wiser to go into greater depth about one or the other. These are satirical works, meaning that they use exaggeration and irony in developing their themes. What do the plays tell us about the ideals and expectations for men’s and/or women’s behavior, particularly within marriage? What responsibilities did each have within the household? What types of misbehavior do the plays emphasize? What do the plays suggest are the key problems facing the patriarchal household?

It would be helpful to consider these issues within the context of what you have been reading regarding women’s roles in the textbook and in the article by Merry Wiesner. One suggestion is to consider whether there were any conflicts among the ideal traits expected of women and/or men?

This assignment helps you learn how to interpret primary sources, while deepening your understanding of ideas about gender in the early modern period.


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