Jane Eyre

The Silencing of Women in Titus Andronicus and Jane Eyre College

To what extent do literary texts silence the voices of women? Discuss with reference to William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1589-94) and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847).

Through questioning the extent to which literary texts silence female voices without particularising time period or genre, the title question allows critics to provide their own specifications. Theorists such as Sharon Wilson and Jack Zipes argue that fairy tales are ‘the foundation of literary forms’, [1][2] and I believe that this makes the genre an interesting place to examine the silencing of women generally. Therefore throughout this essay, I will argue that William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1589-94) and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), utilise evolved forms of traditional fairy tale conventions, and that the extent to which women’s voices are silenced/amplified within the texts comes through adherence and lack thereof to these conventions. Numerous academics have suggested that fairy tales act to silence women,[3][4][5] so logically the text which most reflects norms of the genre will most silence women. Revenge, the focal theme of Titus Andronicus, (1589-94), and the motivation for the majority of the play’s action, also acts to link it...

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