Women and the Patriarchal Society in Much Ado About Nothing

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Women and the Patriarchal Society

The patriarchal society is a setting of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ that shows male domination and women suppression. Men like Don Pedro, Benedick and Claudio returns with victory from the battle. It implies the boasted male ego. Male honor serves as a crucial importance to men in the play. Leonato questions the messager that ‘How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?’ It hints that physical strength is a definition of manhood. With Don Pedro, Claudio and Benedick rise of power as a soldier with victory, they hold great power as a upper social class. In Act 1, the exposition of the play emphasize on men’s talk, only the outspoken Beatrice can have a word or two, but the men still dominate the conversation that brings out the male domination as a setting of the play.

Male superiority and the subordination of women are sustained with the conformity of both men and women. The male domination seems to be a social norm accepted and followed by al people in the society. Men are showing their stereotyped perception on women, like Leonato jokes about his daughter as ‘Her mother hath many times told me so’ and Benedick ‘as being a professed tyrant to their sex’ implies their confirmed perception of women to justify their superiority in the society. Women are viewed as a possession and property of men that Benedick brings out the idea of purchase to ‘buy her that you inquire after her’. Women are linked with the image of cuckold when Benedick regards that ‘I will have a recheat winded in my forehead’ and ‘pluck off the bull’s horn and set them on forehead’. The idea of cuckold focuses on woman’s disloyalty that brings out the mentality of men that women are wicked as ‘beauty is a witch’ and women do not deserve as much as men do. With their stereotyped image, the male superiority is confirmed by men. On the other hand, the readiness of women shows that they conform to the male domination and willing to submit to men....
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