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Explore the presentation of women in Much Ado about Nothing(TM)

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Explore the presentation of women in 'Much Ado about Nothing' The women in the 1500's were always expected to do things such as taking care of the family not working outside of their houses and always seen as possessions, not people. As in Shakespeare's time they were seen not heard. Shakespeare used this as a theme in him novel, 'Much Ado about Nothing,' and the character Hero in particular portrayed the typical woman. The typical woman was modest, convectional, reserved and many women were pressured to be exactly like her. There are many other ways of which women are presented in this 1599 play about love and the deception of appearances. The play was very popular with the audience and was a comedy. Women who had a high status were usually linked with honour. Hero is an example of this as her father, Leonato, is a successful character and has high status. He is described as a, 'honourable father,' which means that if she was to be, 'unfaithful', to Claudio then her whole family would go down in status and she Hero would be seen as an unclean creature now worth nothing. ...read more.


Honour is linked to virginity because then the women were not worthless and so that they could be married to someone of high status. Claudio thinks Hero's appearance is deceiving him and he ruins her life as she had ruined his, 'thoughts of harm.' He ruins her life because now people think that she is unfaithful, 'rotten orange,' she will be worthless and kept indoors. Another example of Hero as a typical Elizabethan woman is at the party when she gets proposed to. Hero is told what to say to her marriage proposal and has no choice in what to say. Beatrice even prompts her on what her actions should be, 'speak cousin, or if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss.' Woman's sexuality was controlled by men. Hero would be like any other good typical wife in Elizabethan times, she, 'would do any modest office.' She is quiet and chaste and conforms to the norms of the society. Hero is very predictable, again like the typical woman, 'now going to kiss Claudio,' Beatrice prompts her on her actions. ...read more.


The women in those times could not carry out a duel with someone else, as it was no, 'expected,' of them to do that and they had to conform to the typical woman, like Hero. Beatrice shows her frustration when she says, 'O God that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market place,' she's saying that if she was a man she would kill Claudio herself so makes Benedick chose if he looses a friend or love. Beatrice shows that she can be a domination person when she cuts Benedick's sentences short, 'Beat-,' then she says, 'Princes and Counties!' Overall I think that the women in, 'Much Ado about Nothing,' were pressured into being quiet, chaste and not seen, like Hero. Beatrice is the total opposite and has her own strong-willed, independent mind. Men and women were not treated as equals and men had so much more power and freedom and saw the women as possessions not wives. Hero resembles the perfect presentation of what a woman should be like. Beatrice does not because she is not quiet and is not told what to do, she is different, she is stubborn and will do things her own way. ...read more.

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