Shakespeare's male and female characters

An exploration of male & female roles in Shakespeare’s plays with a focus on a strong couple in Julius Caesar, powerful women in Macbeth and a pair of lovers in The Tempest.

An exploration of different examples of how Shakespeare characterises male and female roles in his plays. Shakespeare invites the audience to remember the reality of human nature and then shakes the stereotypes. From a traditional, but supportive and powerful couple in 'Julius Caesar', to a sinister and aggressive female role in 'Macbeth', and the lovers in 'The Tempest'.

Teacher Notes


This could be used to look in more detail at the role of male and female characters in Shakespeare's plays. Students could take one of his plays and find examples of when characters have made decisions motivated or influenced by a relationship with the opposite sex. Students could explore the different kinds of male and female relationships in Shakespeare's plays, and find similar examples in history. This could be linked to a study of sexual inequality,and the difficulties faced by females in positions of power throughout history.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English Literature or Drama. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.