Vashti… Esther… need we say more? Well, since there's space, we will: the Book of Esther depicts a pair of powerful and capable women. Vashti sort of dissolves off-stage into an uncertain future, while Esther continues her unstoppable rise right up to the end. At the same time, they both act in ways that we're sure you'll agree is admirable.
They also act in very different ways, too. Vashti flat-out disobeys a (dumb) order from the king, so she gets booted from her job as queen. That may or may not have been a positive outcome for her. Esther, on the other hand, uses her position as queen to secure an advantage for herself and her people. She's in the same situation that Vashti was in, but she turns it around to her benefit.
Questions About Women and Femininity
Who is a more modern-seeming character? Esther or Vashti? Why do you think so?
What do you think Vashti did after she was fired from her job as queen? (Again, feel free to speculate wildly.)
Do you think Esther made any compromises on her way up? Or was she always exactly who she wanted to be?
What is King Ahasuerus' attitude towards women? Does it change over the course of the story?