Gender Roles

By Shayne McGrath

Boys in Theatre

  • men/boys portrayed all parts including women's roles
  • young boys (before they would hit puberty) would play women due to their high voices
  • boys would need small waists to play women to fit all the costumes
  • boys had to be trained for certain roles (such as Cleopatra & Rosalind) by an older actors
  • when their skills were up they would play women disguised as men
  • even romance plays would be slightly humorous due to men playing women
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Women in Shakespearean Times

  • girls were only educated if they came from a nobel family
  • it was illegal for women to participate in plays
  • wealthy families would often "sell" their daughter to a man for the purpose of family
  • married women were expected to be obedient to their husbands