Consider the gender specific emphasis in Shakespeare’s
‘Much Ado About Nothing’
Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ play on the role of gender is a contributing factor to making it a comedy. Men acted all of his plays out, so the majority of female characters were portrayed to be masculine. Such as Beatrice in ‘Much Ado’. The play presents the roles of gender as how they are expected to act (Hero and Claudio) and how they choose to act (Beatrice and Benedick).
Beatrice is one of the starring characters in the play, fierce and unmarried she goes against what is expected of young women at the time in which the play is set; “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me” She is against love, she does not believe in it, women of this age were told who they were to marry and were to be grateful and happy for it. She is a paradox to other women. By then end of the novel however she has changed into what is expected of a woman, she falls in love, and marries. Contradicting to her is Benedick; he acts, as a male should, especially that of a male soldier. He appears to be emotionally detached “I will like a bachelor”. It was acceptable at this time for males to be promiscuous; he acts as he is expected too. Like Beatrice by the end of the play he has also fallen in love (as they fall in love with each other). He takes on the role of someone who is more emotionally capable then who he was at the beginning of the play. This is shown by him promising to ‘kill’ Claudio to show Beatrice his love for her; “Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him”. In the beginning of the play, both Beatrice and Benedick have the same views on love; while this view is acceptable for Benedick, it is not for Beatrice. She has taken on the role of a male character. By the end of the play, both of the characters views have changed their views.
Hero represents an obedient and acceptable young female at this time; happy to fall in love and to be married....
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