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In 'Much Ado About Nothing' Shakespeare presents us with a conventional heroine (Hero) and an unconventional heroine (Beatrice). Which is more to your taste and why?

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Introduction

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Catherine Rose October 2002 In 'Much Ado About Nothing' Shakespeare presents us with a conventional heroine (Hero) and an unconventional heroine (Beatrice). Which is more to your taste and why? In Elizabethan times, when William Shakespeare wrote the play, the conventional heroine would have been Hero. This is due to the fact that in the 1600's women were expected to be co-operative, modest, virginal and placid. Beatrice on the other hand is a heroine, but an unconventional one at that; she may have been seen as disobedient, cheeky and rebellious during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Nowadays however due to the change in women's rights at the turn of the 20th Century, we see Beatrice as a more conventional heroine. We see her good points as a heroine shining through in examples such as her crusading on her cousin's behalf and other matters, which I will discuss throughout this essay. In today's modern times we see Hero as a timid woman, who could not be a heroine. I feel we see no heroic from a modern point of view. One might prefer Beatrice's character for many reasons, one being that she is bold and set in her ways. ...read more.

Middle

Some people, on the other hand, may prefer Hero as a more conventional heroine. When Don John's plot comes into action, we see Hero disgraced for allegedly being unfaithful to Claudio. Claudio is asked whether he '...comes hither to marry this lady?' in Act 4 Scene 1. He replies in the negative and reveals that he 'saw' Hero receiving a male visitor the previous night. He throws Hero back to Leonarto shouting: '...Give not this rotten orange to your friend...' Hero, as we know, does not comprehend and is ashamed and disgraced. Hero endures much suffering throughout the play, which in turn increases our respect for her and influences us to admire her and name her as the conventional heroine. Beatrice's vigorous character can be seen as proud. She may not be courageous or bold, but proud and arrogant. As her cousin suggests, her pride makes her appear hard. Hero says: '...Nature never fram'd a woman's heart Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice...' (Act 3: Scene I) This statement is true of Beatrice for, even when Beatrice and Benedick have confessed their love for each other, when revealing these emotions to the public in the final Scene of the play, she denies all feelings. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both are heroines. Hero is extremely different to Beatrice. She is quiet, calm, pretty and agreeable. She may have been the preference in Elizabethan times due to the situation of England and it's views on how women should act; however I do not prefer her. She is placid and na�ve. She is heroic in that she forgives Claudio after he disgraces her, however it may also just show passive behaviour, prompted by her duty as a daughter towards her father. I cannot relate to Hero at all and only see her as a necessary character within the play. Beatrice, on the other hand, is one of the most interesting women in all Shakespeare's plays. She is more related to women of modern times in her realistic, independent views. She refuses to be dominated by a man and in the end hold her own, but also falls in love. She is indeed, very proud however she is capable of compassion. Over all, Beatrice display's the character of a conventional heroine and would influence one to prefer her because of her extraordinary verbal facility; her witty remarks and bold character all cause me to prefer her. She is fantastically animated and Shakespeare has -in my views- created the most fascinating woman in all of literature. ...read more.

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