Unshakeable Daughters Versus Unshakeable Fathers: Questioning Inhuman Patriarchy or a Feminist Critique of Inhuman Patriarchy in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Margaret Afuh’s Born before her Time


This paper analyses two texts, one English and a play, and the other Cameroonian and a novel, similar in the theme they treat; the conflict between patriarchy or the Old School and anti-patriarchy or the New School. The Old School argues or thinks that the father is the one to choose a husband for his daughter whereas the New School argues that it is the daughter who must choose her husband. From the classical period through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period, the Old School prevailed. This is seen in Shakespeare’s plays where the roles of women actors were played by men as women had no voice in the society and were not considered as men’s equals. They were seen as inferior to men. The Cameroonian society of the 1960s which Margaret Afuh presents in her novel was also the one in which the Old School reigned. This paper argues that although these works were written when the Old School prevailed, we see authors who present heroines who fight to overthrow this Old School by promoting the New School and as such revealing their authors as anti-patriarchal or feminist. The paper reveals that in Romeo and Juliet and Born Before Her Time we see girls who reject the choices of husbands by their fathers and choose their own husbands even at the risk of death or being dispossessed as heiress.


anti-patriarchy/new school critique feminist forced or arranged marriages. inhuman patriarchy/old school questioning and child

  • Research Identity (RIN)

  • License

  • Language & Pages

    English, 25-38

  • Classification

    For Code: 160899