[Game Chef 2011] What do men and women do in Shakespeare?

edited July 2011 in Game Design Help
I think I've got a design direction on my game, but I need to brainstorm some material. Help me fill out these two lists, if you please!

First, a list of Things a Man Does in Shakespeare's plays. these are things that men do and women DON'T, generally speaking. It's OK if there are exceptions and outliers, but these are things that, if a woman did them, it would be like, WHOA.

I've got:

Serve in the Army
Fight Duels
Pursue a suit
Decide the suit of marriagable daughters
Make decisions for the family
Travel freely
Seize political power
Watch their spouse for infidelity
Instruct their spouse


What else?

And similarly, I need a list of Things Women Do. These are things that would be unmanful and scandalous if a man did them, or that they simply wouldn't think to do.

I've got:

Guard their chastity
Offer comfort and sympathy
Raise children
Tend to the injured
Perform domestic duties
Protest an offered suit
Give advice to a spouse


What else?

Peace,
-Joel

PS It's ok if some of these are contentious; in fact they should be! So don't sweat if everyone everywhere would agree with your item; lay em on me!

Comments

  • Women dress in disguise as men, obviously.
  • Well yes, indeed they do! Perhaps I should tip my hand, then--I'm writing a game about the women in Shakespeare who subvert gender roles, and letting that subversion play out rather than neatly reverting to established mores at the end.

    So I'm looking for what women do in Shakespeare, apart from imitating men. :)
  • More than one of Shakespeare's women kills herself.

    Speaking of that, I would expect Lady Macbeth to be a major influence, as there seems to be a lot of gender subversion in the character.


    Cheers,
    Roger
  • edited July 2011
    Things women do in Shakespeare:

    Defeat men in duels of wit.
    Order people to kill former suitors.
    Cast spells.
    Conduct high-level political negotiations.
    Seize political power.
    Tell suitors to get lost.
    Instruct their spouse.
    Be bawdy.


    It's notable that these aren't really scandalous. Beatrice regularly duels with Benedick and generally has the support of those around her in doing so. Later, she tells Benedick to kill Claudio. Regan and Goneril are political animals. And nobody is shocked by Mistress Quickly any more.
  • edited July 2011
    So that narrows down the men's list a little.
  • Yeah, your list of women's choices doesn't sound very Shakespearean to me.

    - Who guards their chastity? Seems like nearly all unmarried Shakespearean women are trying to find a suitable mate, often a very specific one. Juliet even has a secret midnight wedding so she can bang Romeo.
    - I don't see a lot of child-raising in Shakespeare mostly because there are not a lot of children in the plays. I guess it happens off-stage, but you don't see a lot of it being done. Even when there are children (young princes in Richard III), they're generally not being mothered or nursed all the time.

    It might make more sense too, to stick to just the comedies, the tragedies, or the histories, because the roles for women are pretty different in each. Even in one category, some characters stand out as unusual (like Joan of Arc in the histories), but at least then you'd have a more similar set of gender roles.
  • Posted By: Graham
    Defeat men in duels of wit.
    Order people to kill former suitors.
    Tell suitors to get lost.
    Absolutely. That last one is on my list in a different wording. (It's worth noting--and central to my design--that Beatrice orders Claudio's death BECASE as a woman, she can't do it herself.)
    Posted By: Graham
    Cast spells.
    Conduct high-level political negotiations.
    Be bawdy.
    These, yes, though I don't they're reserved PARTICULARLY for women. Prospero casts spells, of course, and men are wuite present in politics when politics exists in a play. In fact I'd guess offhand that women negotiating politically would be pretty rare. What examples do you know of women negotiators in Shakespeare?

    And everyone is bawdy in Shakespeare, all the time, which is great, and someone like Miss Quickly only stands out as being even more bawdy.

    It might do to list out things that both men and women do pretty much equally in Shakespeare.
    Posted By: Graham
    Seize political power.
    Instruct their spouse.
    These look pretty dubious to me. When does a woman seize power for herself in Shakespeare? Lady MacBeth seeks power by goading her husband to seize it. Which leads into the other item: I'm trying to differentiate between instructing and advising in the men's and women's lists respectively. There are some domineering women in Shakespeare, sure, but the pattern I see is: Men instruct, because it's their right to call the shots and tell you what's what. Women advise, because the only avenue of influence available is cajoling or pestering. One is authoritative, the other subordinate. A woman breaks free of the subordinate by sheer force of personality, not by any grantyed authority.

    Maybe command vs entreat? Or some other pair of words?

    peace,
    -Joel
  • Posted By: J. Walton
    - Who guards their chastity? Seems like nearly all unmarried Shakespearean women are trying to find a suitable mate, often a very specific one. Juliet even has a secret midnight wedding so she can bang Romeo.
    Au contraire, women guard their chastity all the time--they're not trying to have sex, they're trying to get married. As noted above, Shakespeare's women are bawdy in the extreme, and many of them seem to approach sex joyfully...but they're always pursuing sex in wedlock.

    The whole plot of Much Ado About Nothing revolves around hero's virginity. Not only is she shamed at the altar when it looks like she might've slept around, but her dad is ready to disown her when he first hears, and people are only willing to stick up for her if it's not true.

    This is not a worry for men in Shakespeare. Being cuckolded is. Which is again, about the promiscuity of the woman.
    Posted By: J. Walton
    - I don't see a lot of child-raising in Shakespeare mostly because there are not a lot of children in the plays. I guess it happens off-stage, but you don't see a lot of it being done. Even when there are children (young princes in Richard III), they're generally not being mothered or nursed all the time.
    You're right, I was more extrapolating from the general culture than thinking of any particular events in Shakespeare's plays. It does seem to be an implicit thing whenever children DO come up, though: women are caretakers, not men. It's always a mother or a nursemaid who watches over (or worries over) a child. Men, even when they're devoted fathers, have weightier matters to attend. MacDuff's family in MacBeth is a great example. He's away doing political stuff, his wife's watching the kids, and his whole family gets slaughtered.
    Posted By: J. Walton
    It might make more sense too, to stick to just the comedies, the tragedies, or the histories, because the roles for women are pretty different in each. Even in one category, some characters stand out as unusual (like Joan of Arc in the histories), but at least then you'd have a more similar set of gender roles.
    You make a good point. I think it's mainly the comedies that concern me, since that's where the convention of reverting to status quo is strongest. In a tragedy, the act of subversion or rebellion IS carried to a catastrophic conclusion. I'm looking more at the plays that go like "oh, you're a woman dressed as a man, how cute, let's get you back into a dress so you can marry the Duke, shall we? Great, now everybody's happy!" I want to turn that on its head.

    On the other hand, there are some compelling characters in the Tragedies, like the Lady MacBeth as Roger points out. It'd be a shame to ignore them!

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • edited July 2011
    They think out loud and pontificate all the fucking time. Alone, in groups, whatever.
  • Well, everyone does that.
  • edited July 2011
    The thing is, Joel, when you say:
    I'm looking more at the plays that go like "oh, you're a woman dressed as a man, how cute, let's get you back into a dress so you can marry the Duke, shall we? Great, now everybody's happy!" I want to turn that on its head.
    There aren't many plays that are straightforwardly like that. I mean, of course, that thing happens. But Shakespeare was good at subverting conventions, even as he used them. (Shylock is a prime example).

    So, that thing about turning it on its head? I think Shakespeare did that for you. If you could tap into the subversion in Much Ado or Twelfth Night, I think it'd really help.
  • Oh, sure! I love what Shapeskepare does with subversion, powerful women, etc. I'm just wanting to take that even farther.

    Like, Beatrice is powerful in spite of being a woman. Come right down to it, when she really desperately wants something--to kill Claudio on her cousin's behalf--she can't do it, because it's "a man's office." All she can do is cajole a man into doing it.

    I'm just asking myself, what if she DID eat Claudio's heart in the marketplace? What if Viola decided, screw it, I'm going to keep living as a man?

    By the end of both those plays, everyone's made up with each other (with the exception of a sole, intractable villain), and happily married off. As we knew they would, because that's how the comedies work. I wanna yank out that safety net and see what happens.

    Peace,
    -Joel
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