Women of the Elizabethan era were usually submissive to men. Their goal was to find a good man to marry an start a family with. In most of Shakespeare's plays this was the case, there were however a few well known exceptions. In Shakespeare's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Beatrice and Hero keep each other grounded despite having completely different personalities. Beatrice is nothing like the women of the Elizabethan era. She is witty, sharp-tongued, she will talk back to men and she is not a firm believer of marriage. Where as Hero is quiet, respectful and just waiting to fall in love. Even though they are seemingly different, they are the best of friends.
Firstly, Beatrice is one of the main female characters in this play. She is niece of Leonato and is unfortunately an orphan, reason of which she has immense freedom. Having so much freedom explains why she is so different from the other women of that time. She did not have the same respect for men since she did not grow up with a father figure like Hero for instance. Being Leonato's niece, makes her Hero's cousin, which explains their close friendship. She is extremely protective of her cousin Hero, and puts her before anyone. Beatrice does not like the idea of marriage and falling in love to her is nothing important what so ever. Being as witty as she is, Beatrice often bickers with men, especially Benedick. Beatrice and Benedick always have arguments in which their goal is to outwit each other. Beatrice seems to be a very strong woman and is fully capable of dealing with many situations thrown at her. Her vulnerability however, comes out eventually. Don Pedro, among others, know that Beatrice puts up a front, that she is not truly as arrogant as she sometime acts. Her bickering with Benedick is sign of love, and everyone is well aware of this. Since it is so obvious, Don Pedro eventually suggests to trick Beatrice and Benedick into falling in love with each other. Hero is the one to do her part with Beatrice, her cousin's happiness is very well important to her so she accepted the idea right away. Once Beatrice starts to believe that Benedick is in fact in love with her, the way she acts with him starts to slowly change. Meanwhile, Benedick is hearing the same things so he starts to believe Beatrice is in love with him therefore the plan was working perfectly. After finally admitting their love for each other, and truly falling in love, you see that Beatrice and Benedick are slightly different than other couples. They do not show any public affection and they are very mature about everything. This does not change the fact that they are very in love, it is just Shakespeare's way of portraying different relationships during his time. Eventually, Beatrice started to act more vulnerable and show more emotion especially towards Benedick. This shows that her feisty attitude is all a show to cover up her vulnerability. She may not be vulnerable to every man but to Benedick she is. This shows even before the whole plan was in place.
' Well, you are a rare Parrot-Teacher.—', said Benedick. 'A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.— said Beatrice.' 'I would my horse had the speed of your tongue and so a good continue, but keep your way, i' God's name, I have done.'— ' You always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old. ' (Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. Act 1, Scene 1, line 141.)
That has readers thinking from the beginning and gives them another perception on their relationship and that there is more to Beatrice and Benedick's past than we know.
Secondly, Hero is the perfect example of women of the Elizabethan era. She was quiet, reserved, only really spoke when she was spoken to. Her quietness surprisingly brings us to understand her character more. Even in certain situations when she is quiet, her temper is more noticeable and her traits...