Much Ado About Nothing AS essay

Topics: Elizabethan era, Female, Gender Pages: 3 (1528 words) Published: October 22, 2014

Chosen Essay Title: “Women are presented as inferior to men in Shakespeare comedies” Explore the validity of this… Much Ado about Nothing is a dramatic comedy written by Shakespeare between 1598-1599 and published in 1623. During the Elizabethan era, women were raised to believe they were inferior to men. The quote “Women in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man” was written by a protestant leader of the time, who believed this was the way Elizabethan women should act. Stereotypically, women were expected to be very domestic and seen as less worthy compared to males. Shakespeare’s character ‘Hero’ in Much Ado about Nothing is the perfect example of the expectations of Elizabethan women. Her polite and submissive attitude portrays her as vulnerable and dominated by her father. However, the other main female character Beatrice challenges this by being completely antagonistic compared to Hero. She portrays a diverse view of women by displaying emotions and attitudes unexpected of female stereotypes. The male characters in Much Ado about Nothing are portrayed as having great power and possession over females. An example of this is when Hero is given away to Claudio, a man she barely knows. The emphasis on the phrase ‘giving away’ shows that she is just an object to society. The giving away is done by her father, Leonato, who seems to have complete control of Hero’s actions. She must marry and become the possession of a man she isn’t yet very familiar with, yet had no say in the matter. Hero has not been a bad daughter to Leonato, yet when he hears the accusation about her losing her virginity before marriage, he is quick to disown her. Claudio also instantly decides she is unworthy of his time. Despite it all being a false rumour, just for Hero to be accused unjustly makes her worthless to these men. This highlights the selfishness of both Claudio and Leonato, and shows that they hold the importance of their reputation and status greater...


Bibliography: Word count: 1500
http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-women.htm
on Elizabethan stereotypes, including John Knox protestant leader quote
Quotes from the book ‘Much Ado About Nothing’
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