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

How does Shakespeare challenge the conventional role of women within the patriarchal society of Much Ado About Nothing.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Shakespeare challenge the conventional role of women within the patriarchal society of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is set in a patriarchal society in the late 16th century. In a patriarchal society, men are the dominating sex and women are the oppressed ones. The title of the play also plays a part in showing how things are overly based on sexual relationships between men and women. The play takes place over a course of three days. As so much happens during these three days, the events take place rapidly and can create confusion and misunderstanding. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is a play of wit, deception and slander. It is full of darkness just as much as it is full of light. For Beatrice, a pre-occupation with death arises from her entrapment within a court whose practices she does not admire. She constantly tries to oppose the views of her society with which she doesn't agree. The treatment of gender issues in 'Much Ado About Nothing' would have been central to its impact on Elizabethan audiences. Women, stereotypically, were expected to be silent, gentle, passive and submissive. Independent women were regarded with suspicion and interest. In the first three scenes, the male characters continually criticise the females. ...read more.

Middle

She gladly and willingly submits to marriage, and she accepts the role of the relatively powerless woman. In gathering what we know about her, we discover that she is a kind "modest young lady" who falls in love with Claudio on their first encounter. It makes us question whether she is actually in love with Claudio or she is just her eagerness to be married off. Claudio refers to her as a "jewel". We get the idea therefore that she is a beautiful girl and that she is viewed as a possession, like all women were in the patriarchal society. Her belief in love seems to overshadow her personality. When Hero's is accused of being unchaste by Claudio, Leonato seems to question Hero's chastity too. This shows how a few words can change the love of a family and reverse the thought of another person. Leonato's quickness to doubt his daughter Hero is a sign of how little faith the men had in women in patriarchal societies. Hero still marries Claudio even after he disgraces her, even though he was prepared to marry her cousin. This shows her desperation for marriage and probably her lack of belief in what she is worth, but it could also just be that Hero is a forgiving and patient person. ...read more.

Conclusion

Beatrice gives her heart to Benedick in Act 3 scene 1 telling him to "love on; I will recite thee, taming my wild heart to thy loving hand", she refers to herself as if she were an animal and her 'wild heart' needed taming. Claudio and Don Pedro also compare Benedick to a wild animal, "in time the savage bull doth bear the yoke,'" Act 1 Scene 1, meaning that in time even Benedick, who is seen like a savage bull whose against marriage, will break to the taming that love and marriage brings. Beatrice and Benedick's developed love is shown after they are fooled into thinking the other loves them. In the end, the fact that the two were tricked into falling in love is irrelevant as their love for each other has been nurtured to a point were they are both willing to commit and get married. The character of Beatrice is used by Shakespeare to go against the conventional woman in a patriarchal society. She does everything that is unexpected of a woman. She rebels against the unequal treatment of women in the patriarchal society and refuses to marry until she finds her perfect match - Benedick of course. The character of Hero is an example of what the women were expected to be like. Shakespeare uses Beatrice to challenge the role of the conventional woman of this time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Musonda Malama. English Literature Coursework 12HT ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Response to the question

This question asks candidates to analyse how Shakespeare challenges the accepted behaviour of women at the time to play was written. The candidate correctly identifies the characters that require analysis (Beatrice, with a comparison to Hero), and also draws on ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This question asks candidates to analyse how Shakespeare challenges the accepted behaviour of women at the time to play was written. The candidate correctly identifies the characters that require analysis (Beatrice, with a comparison to Hero), and also draws on a range of evidence from various scenes within the play to back up the points they make about Beatrice's unconventional insubordination.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis has all the telling signs of an A grade essay. Whilst on the lengthy side, very few points made don't earn any points. Where the candidate diverges a little and discusses Hero is quite possibly too much depth required for a question that orientates around Beatrice, there is sufficient reasoning evident meaning that it wasn't completely in vain. However, in an exam, under time constraints, it may be worth deciding which analysis is imperative and which is surplus, so as to make sure you don't run out of time.
The analysis of how Beatrice rebels against the convention of the time is very good and covers a diverse range of points spanning rom her hatred of Benedick being generalised to all men (I would rather hear a dog bark at a crow than a man say he loved me"), to how she commands Benedick once declaring her love for him ("Kill Claudio"), all of which create a very strong response to the question.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is excellent. The candidate shows an extremely well-attuned use of the English language, offering a variety of sentences structures and grammatical techniques. Spelling is flawless and the answer is punctuated accurately.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 21/02/2012

Read less
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. Peer reviewed

    Explore the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing

    3 star(s)

    In the book 'The drama of love, life and death in Shakespeare' by Anthony Holden Beatrice and Benedick are described as "independent spirits just made for each other, if only they would swallow their pride long enough to acknowledge it."

  2. “A play much concerned with appearance”. Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in ...

    Their so-called friends are meanwhile betraying them so perhaps their love is not a romance, rather that two mature lovers who have been pushed together by a social conspiracy to make them marry, as Benedick states, "[they] are too wise to woo peaceably".

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

    When Benedick and Beatrice fall in love with each other they exhibit the traditional Elizabethan symptoms of falling in love. The Elizabethans believed that when somebody fell in love they would become melancholy. Another symptom is feeling ill and when Benedick meets with Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato he tells them, "I have the tooth-ache."

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

    Hero represents the model Elizabethan woman, because of this; the traditional method of courtship is employed. Don Pedro woo's Hero by proxy for Claudio, there is then the settlement of the dowry and a formal betrothal before the wedding. This courtship ritual was traditional among the aristocratic Elizabethan society.

  1. The use of eavesdropping in Shakespeares

    building up to the climax, when eventually she says, "are you sure that Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?". Shortly after the conversation Beatrice asks herself in a soliloquy, "What fire is in mine ears?Can this be true?", she says this in disbelief.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    Women, regardless of social position, were not allowed to vote. However, men below a certain social strata were not allowed to vote either. Women could not enter the professions i.e. law, medicine, politics. Neither could women enter the navy or the army.

  1. Deception in Much Ado About Nothing

    Both of them exist in the world created for them by deception. Each of them is living in the world created by the momentum of their own language and humour, expressive of the mask chosen for themselves. Both of them seize and keep the conversational initiative, manipulating the people concerned until they ask for mercy.

  2. Compare and contrast two characters from 'Much ado about nothing' as presented by Shakespeare.

    "O God defend me! How am I beset! What kind of catechizing call you this?" she pleads; previously, while in the company of men, Hero has said very little; here she has the difficult task of trying to protest

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