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Gender construction is a complicated area today contrasted with the past women contrasted with men and rules contrasted with practice Knowing and practicing every social rule for each sex is an exhausting and impossible task Shakespeares Twelfth Night demonstrates many of these social practices and often questions their authority Irene Dash discusses many of these social violations in her article Challenging Conventions Twelfth Night as does Jonathan Crewe in his Introduction to Twelfth Night Restrictions on women and the interactions of these restrictions with men are emphasized and in some cases still practiced in modern lifes social interactions and hierarchies Womanly dependence on the male figure and social taboos on female initiative are two constructions established and questioned in Twelfth Night they are exemplified today not only in my own life but in the whole of society Dependence on men is a social theme assumed to have stemmed from biological necessity Human ancestors likely required males to hunt more than females due to their physical prowess and the rudimentary hunting tools that required it Today even as women step forward into roles of power the idea remains that life in general encourages men to remain the dominant figures Shakespeare emphasizes this idea in Twelfth Night through Viola Olivia and the Dukes actions The characters both accept typically associated gender constructions and defy them however Dash suggests it may be significant to remember that the play takes place in Illyria a mythical land where perhaps gender laws can be represented and bent 217 Viola can find a job on her own only if she is a man to keep herself alive she must dress act and essentially be a man to assure she doesnt require one However she in fact displays more socially feminine ideals than Olivia despite her mans dress Viola prefers to passively let time take care of her situations while Olivia aggressively pursues her wants and needs instead of turning to
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