Like Toni Morrison’s character Sula, Shakespeare’s Miranda defies typical expectations regarding how a woman should behave. Miranda proposes to Ferdinand and insists “I am your wife, if you will marry me; if not, I’ll die your maid.” (3.1, 83-84). This declarative statement is reminiscent of Sula’s frank promiscuity. Miranda also bluntly offers to carry logs for Ferdinand. Miranda proves to be a strong, active woman who is willing to do labor and, because she has been isolated on an island, does not see this as unusual or dishonorable. Unknowingly, she defies patriarchal traditions with her firm decision to marry Ferdinand. Typically the male would take the initiative to propose marriage. By offering to do a man’s work she contradicts the codes of chivalry– exhibiting a great deal more individual power than most women in “civilization” in the 17th century were able to. 

Lizzy

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