• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore Shakespeares presentation of the Courtly World of Messina in the plays opening acts. Evaluate how the setting might be regarded as typical for its time and analyse how modern audiences could feel alienated by the cultural values on display.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Explore Shakespeare?s presentation of the Courtly World of Messina in the play?s opening acts. Evaluate how the setting might be regarded as typical for its time and analyse how modern audiences could feel alienated by the cultural values on display. The concept of the courtly world goes beyond the mere setting of the royal court and is largely presented as a life style, especially with regards to romance. This idea has transcended time, with Chaucer?s Canterbury Tales depicting a similar courtly world in the Knight?s tale, a story that possessed broadly similar features to Much Ado About Nothing. This world is set firmly in a period where the monarchy was the centre of English life. This, perhaps, explains why some aspects, especially the apparent degradation of women until they become objects, are somewhat uncomfortable for modern readers as our liberal society views this as sexist, far from a Victorian audience?s view that this was normal life. ...read more.

Middle

The form is repeatedly used to reinforce the features of the courtly world to the audience. Being a play, the dominant role of men is highly apparent though their overrepresentation in the dialogue, nowhere more so than in conversations with Hero. Her lack of a response to ?Speak, cousin; or if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss? encapsulates the idea that women weren?t valued for their opinions, but merely their sexuality as a wife and childbearer as the ?kiss? suggests - Hero can only communicate with men though sexual appeal rather than her intelligence or personality. Ironically, despite being outspoken, Beatrice is only able to do so by adopting ?masculine? traits such as the scorner of love persona emulated by Benedick. The mere fact that the only way that Beatrice is able to speak up is through being ?one of the guys? reinforces the idea that it was unnatural for a woman of the courtly world to be opinionated as it was a trait primarily associated with men. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main feature of the courtly world appears to be power as this idea recurs in many ways throughout the play. The witty language used by the men is not only symbolic of the constructed courtly world, but is used mainly a tool for them to show off and gain power over one another. The same can be said for the structure as the dramatis personae is essentially a power list going in descending order. What is most interesting about this, however, is the fact that women are always at the bottom which suggests that this is less about power than it is playing to gender roles where men are required to assert themselves, just as woman are required to remain passive. This idea would sit at odds with a modern audience, as our post-feminism society finds fault with everything that separates men and women into gender roles and this patriarchal courtly world would be considered highly sexist in our modern day. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Much Ado About Nothing section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Much Ado About Nothing essays

  1. Discuss in detail Shakespeare's presentation of women in Much Ado About Nothing

    intense bitterness towards Benedick to provide the audience with sufficient evidence to suspect that something has happened between these two characters in the past to leave Beatrice with these thoughts. Shakespeare mirrors Beatrice in the character of Margaret. He seems to portray Margaret as a less powerful and dirtier minded Beatrice.

  2. Compare closely Act 2/Scene 3 and Act 3/Scene 1. Look at the techniques used ...

    phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect. Simply two words that are used together that means the opposite. It is used to emphasize certain aspects of life. The scene ends with Beatrice's soliloquy which is both sincere and touching, as she is overjoyed

  1. What do we learn about the Society of Messina in "Much ado about Nothing"?

    The assortment of character in the play in terms of their social standing and bearing ranging from the royalty of Don Pedro to the likes of the comic night-watch characters of Dogberry and Verges And immediately, this miscellany of

  2. A Marxist Study of Much Ado About Nothing. The ideology perpetuated in Much ...

    Beatrice must not have her waywardness left unruled: "I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband" sighs Leonato (II. i. 37). Indeed, Don Pedro's subtle affection for Beatrice can be taken as more than a romantic interlude; it might be an unconscious attempt of the patriarchal ruling

  1. Compare the Representation of Women in Hamlet (primary text) and Much Ado About Nothing ...

    She is valued only for the roles that further people's plots." This quote certainly illustrates the weakness and frailty of Ophelia, which can be supported in parts throughout the play. One can suggest that Polonius has a reasonably low opinion of his daughter, Ophelia.

  2. The dramatic importance of Benedick

    while Benedick is trapped and cannot defend himself; 'When I know the gentlemen I'll tell him what you say.' In both of the opening scenes despite the fact that Benedick appears to be a strong, self assured character, Shakespeare highlights to us that when he comes close to Beatrice he is not so strong.

  1. Through comparing the relationship of Claudio and Hero with that of Beatrice and Benedick ...

    A popular misconception about language is the idea that words have innate qualities, but when Beatrice and Benedick eventually declare their love for one another they find themselves stumbling round to find the right words, whilst their words came trippingly when they were hurling insults back and forth between each

  2. Explore Shakespeares presentation of Beatrice and Benedick in the play so far. How do ...

    he is not hurt by what he has heard, but the simple act of just talking about it reveals his pain, constructing comedy as he is not matching his words to his actions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work