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Evidence found in legal and literary texts from early modern England undermines and complicates any notions of a monolithic, stable ideal of female conduct. Loreen L. Giese's study of over 5000 important folios of court depositions contemporary with Shakespeare's plays demonstrates the complex ways those plays participate in and comment upon their culture, rather than stand apart from it. The depositions from the Consistory Court of London for 1586-1611 and the texts of Shakespeare's dramas represent two different kinds of evidence of how courtship and marriage, and the roles available to women within those processes, were perceived, represented, and contested. Whether in the courtroom or on the stage, these texts show that women often enjoyed autonomous roles: they were both suitors and objects of suits, givers as well as receivers of gifts. Thus, both the court records and the plays themselves present women as agents who are capable of challenging the roles traditionally assigned to them in courtship and marriage, so that rather than genders being wholly determinative, the evidence shows that it also allowed space for agency.