• 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 ...

    And she has no time for formality, which is why she interrupts conversations despite what she is expected to be like. At the wedding ceremony we again see the attitude men have towards women, and how the men's honour is more important to them than there female family members.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    A wife who killed her husband was guilty of petty treason instead of murder; unfortunately, this offence was punishable by burning. Tudor society did not have many avenues open to single women and the avenues were even less following the Reformation.

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

    be, that's for certain: wise, or I'll none: virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her". This list clearly shows that women have to be virgins and it is a standard quality that men expect when they marry a woman. Benedick also mentions that his wife should have money so this clearly

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

    is a verbal attack on Hero leaving her confounded and potentially destroyed. The reference to "orange" reminds the audience of Claudio being described as one during his state of anger and jealousy at the masked ball, with the use of dramatic irony the audience recalls that it was during that scene that Don John deceived Claudio before.

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

    This shows the audience another sub-plot to the play, deception and over-hearing. Without the other's medalling towards the couple, they would not have overcome their differences and admitted they loved each other, showing the importance of intervening. Shakespeare shows the audience that everyone has the capacity to love and to be loved, using Beatrice as an example in this.

  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

  1. Compare and contrast the gulling of Benedick with that of Beatrice

    Similarly Shakespeare wrote Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro to use the same methods for Benedick in condemning his way of thinking about marriage and Beatrice.

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

    Her conversations with Margaret and Ursula in Act III scene i are almost the only speeches she makes throughout the play. In the company of men she hardly speaks even with Claudio who she eventually marries. This is an example of how submissive she is and how she thinks herself below men.

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