Why is the exploration of gender in Shakespeare such an important triumph and talking point? It could be the fact that Shakespeare never wrote his roles for women in the mind that they would one day be played by a female actor rather than boys in dresses. He simply did not live in a time where that would be possible. It could also be the fact that out of 981 characters that Shakespeare wrote, only 155 are women, which accounts for 16% of all roles.
Harriet Walter’s new book, Brutus and Other Heroines, explores the idea (and some would argue, FACT) that the women in Shakespeare’s plays unfortunately “only matter in as much as they relate to the men.”