• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10

How and how effectively are women presented in 'Much Ado about nothing'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How and how effectively are women presented in 'Much Ado about nothing'? In this essay I will give a detailed analysis of the language used by both characters; Hero and Beatrice. I will comment and contrast the way in which they speak to people of both the same and opposite sex, relating their personalities to this. I shall also refer to their relationships between themselves and the male characters. The first woman character presented is Beatrice, whose opening line is an insult towards a man; giving an ironic name to 'Signor Mountanto.' Benedick is a character, with whom Beatrice often fights, professing disdain. This is extremely unladylike and not the usual way women should have behaved in Shakespeare's days, as they should have been silent gentle and submissive. She is the only woman character portrayed to be opinionated, passionate, and witty, in Shakespeare's time these kinds of women were often frowned upon and evoked suspicion. The way that Shakespeare found to explore this issue was by using comedy. Because of her personality, she has no time or use for men as she admits that she 'had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me'. This totally sums up Beatrice in terms of her attitude and her emotions, claiming her heart is harder than Benedick's; we later discover this is not the truth. ...read more.

Middle

Normally the male would be more influential than the female but as Beatrice is so opposed to male domination and as Benedick loves her so much, it seems there is no way to resolve this. However it is cleverly done at the end of the play 'Peace - I will stop your mouth. [He kisses her]' This shows Benedick is taking charge as the male should in Elizabethan society, and so ending the dispute of authority in their relationship. This is the outcome a typical audience from Shakespeare's time would have expected. It would have been difficult to show Beatrice in charge as the audience would have disputed this. Hero is a character typical of a young, innocent woman in Elizabethan times, whose wealth, beauty and social position makes her attractive to the male audience. She evokes sympathy from the audience through her disgrace and public humiliation at the questioning of her chastity, and defencelessness against Claudio's cruel words. Unlike Beatrice she cannot speak up against a man, therefore she finds it difficult to redeem herself when accused by Claudio. 'O God defend me, how am I beset!' This is because she understands that men should have power and authority over women and that Claudio is dominating and superior to herself. ...read more.

Conclusion

and giving a false impression to him, it is an impossibility, as he had already idealised her and moulded her in his mind to be what he wanted her to be, probably something to do with the expectations at the time the play was written. Hero does not say much at the beginning of the play and does not seem to be a very main character, though she is referred to often through Claudio's love. Yet as soon as she is to be married to Claudio she is included a lot more in the play in terms of speaking and trying to put together both Beatrice and Benedick. Overall, both women that Shakespeare presents are contrasting and reflects the difference between people in love. Hero is presented to be a women conventional in her etiquette and manners who is attractive to the male audience and exemplary in her patience and forgiveness, whereas Beatrice is presented as a women who knows what she wants and how to get it, who is not independent or reliant on males. Her sharp wit has youth and eternal spirit, and she shows wide experience and intelligence with a just impatience at an unequal society. Perhaps she is the true heroine of the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Much Ado About Nothing essays

  1. Compare the characters of Hero and Beatrice, as they are presented by language and ...

    He is also saying that appearance and reality are different. By the orange he means Hero, he is saying that her looks of purity and sweetness are nothing just a front for what she really is, is the opposite. The 'honor' that Claudio talks about in his speech, was spelt

  2. Much Ado About Nothing clearly shows the attitude of the Elizabethans towards women and ...

    how much Beatrice loves him, Leonato makes one of the many sexual innuendoes that are in the play "When she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheets." This quotation proves how the men can speak freely yet the women have to save themselves for their wedding day.

  1. How does Shakespeare dramatically present power and authority in the relationship between men and ...

    illustrates the severity of the crime which men considered infidelity to be. It is a matter of code of honour, and a woman can shame her husband by cheating on him. In patriarchal society , especially since the play was set in machoistic Italy, such shaming would be unbearable to any man.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    An infidelious wife was not tolerated. Henry the Eighth made infidelity in a Queen treason because it could threaten the succession. In fact, a wife who was proved to be unfaithful could be executed if the King granted her husband's permission to put her to death.

  1. Compare Shakespeare's Presentation of the Contrasting Relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and ...

    Claudio is convinced of Hero's betrayal and his pride will not be damaged by her unfaithfulness. To compensate for his hurt he adopts a ruthless, soldier-like manner he adopts when condemning her: "Give not this rotten orange to your friend, She's but the sign and semblance of her honour" This

  2. Discuss the character and role of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. What do ...

    Shakespeare echoes the audiences' hatred for Claudio after he leaves Hero at the altar through Beatrice's resentment against him and wish to kill him when talking to Benedick. She speaks her opinions in which the other women are too scared to speak in the 16th century as they are afraid

  1. How is the character of Hero presented in 'Much Adoabout Nothing'?

    Her penetration of character is revealed in the style she describes Beatrice; "...But Nature never framed a woman's heart Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice; Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, Misprising what they look on, and her wit Values itself so highly that to her All

  2. In 'Much Ado About Nothing' Shakespeare presents us with a conventional heroine (Hero) and ...

    A conventional heroine nowadays would have a witty and cheeky disposition and think for herself. We see Beatrice as very mischievous throughout the whole play, especially in her conversations with and about Benedick in which she uncontrollably mocks him. We can see this in one of her opening lines of

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