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

It might be deduced from listening to Leonato in 'Much Ado About Nothing' that the world of the play is a Patriarchal Place where women who speak their mind are 'too curst'. It is to a modern audience that Hero's passive silence may seem to be the curse

Extracts from this document...


It might be deduced from listening to Leonato in 'Much Ado About Nothing' that the world of the play is a Patriarchal Place where women who speak their mind are 'too curst'. It is to a modern audience that Hero's passive silence may seem to be the curse Although Shakespeare wrote his numerous plays to entertain the Elizabethan audience, his characters, aside from any comical or storytelling value can also be seen as representatives of significant social issues of the time. The theatre acted as a voice of Elizabethan Society and Shakespeare was fond of exploring the social issues of the time, as emphasised by Phyland in his An introduction to Shakespeare - life and times. Shakespeare was particularly interested in the interaction of the genders, which he examines in many of his tragedies and comedies. Examples of this would be such as Portia and Bassanio in Merchant of Venice and Katherina and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is another good example of this with numerous gender interactions such as Beatrice and Benedick and even Hero and Claudio. The, or at least one of the key issues in 'Much Ado About Nothing' is that of the position of women within the household. To a modern audience this can also be construed as the position of women within the whole of Elizabethan Society. ...read more.


That Don Pedro, a valued opinion within the play favours a woman who knows her own mind and also appreciates what they say somewhat strengthens the argument. On the other hand, Hero's 'passive silence' suggests another aspect to the role of women, aside from the feisty Beatrice. But it is debatable whether Hero's silence is out of passivity or an enforced silence. She has been dismissed by many critics as 'passive' and even at times 'in-credible' but it is perhaps more appropriate to regard her as distanced from the well spoken Beatrice due to her modesty, youthful innocence, and romantic picture frame in which she is set. Even modern readers should be able to understand and sympathise with her character as younger and shyer than Beatrice, maybe even overshadowed by her cousin. She may in fact therefore, represent a different kind of character to that of Beatrice but this does not necessarily mean that she is not of her own mind. When Don Pedro asks Hero about the accusations against her and no answer is received, it could be perceived as an example of Hero's passiveness but given closer regard she is in fact interrupted and there is no evidence to speak of to say that given the chance she wouldn't have said exactly what she wanted. And again in defence of Hero, she reacts against Claudio's appalling allegations with a mature attitude of restraint that sympathetic modern audiences should construe as such. ...read more.


The indications of this are the freedom of expression for women, however that is, and the taking at face value of all of the characters for their personalities within the play only. For many modern readers, the level of satisfaction at the end of the play can be seen as debatable, for the strong feminist symbol Beatrice has been seen to submit to a man despite her previous principled opinions and Hero has once again been seen to be passive and weak enough to once more readmit Claudio to her affections. But I think that the result of the play is satisfying. Despite Beatrice's 'flaws' of sharpness and fierce attitude, she fell in love with a man who loves her and accepts her ways, her 'submission' may therefore be more aptly conceived as luck and happiness to come within an understanding and intelligently balanced relationship. Hero has also appropriately taught Claudio a lesson on trust and loyalty but has maturely forgiven him and her 'submission' is also one into a happy marriage, now blessed with the gift of trust owing to their experience. She has also taught Claudio to appreciate her, having momentarily lost her and mutual appreciation is valuable present in both relationships. The important fact that 'Much Ado About Nothing' portrays is the difference between people, how they react and also present themselves and the happy ending is the understanding and acceptance of this and if each women's 'curse' be such then despite the clich� they may all live happily ever after. ...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 ...

    Hero's speech is in the form of an oath. This is important at the time because she is protesting her innocence in the strongest way possible, she is protesting her innocence before God, as religion was very important to the Elizabethan people.

  2. Gossip in "Much Ado About Nothing".

    A more devastating effect of Don John's malicious gossip, and its consequent ruined marriage, is the tension created between Leonato and his daughter, Hero. Leonato, like Claudio and Don Pedro, believes that Hero was unfaithful to Claudio. His shame in his daughter is highlighted in his long speech in lines 114 to 136 of the same Scene and Act.

  1. How far does Shakespeare challenge Elizabethan society's ideas about gender in Much Ado about ...

    This implies that he is willing to change for her and is trying to impress her. The traits and characteristics of Beatrice and Benedick were what brought them together, and also what separated them. They were isolated because they always tried to be independent and not need each other, an

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

    He becomes the "Argument of his own scorn, by falling in Love", the crime of which he accuses Claudio. He acts as a traditional lover, in everything except that he still manages to regard Beatrice as a rational creature, not a silly unfaithful female.

  1. How Does Shakespeare present the relationship between men and women in his play 'Much ...

    Claudio asks Benedick's opinion on Hero, Beatrice's cousin who he is falling in love with, and Benedick shows his characteristically scornful and dismissive nature as he replies he "noted her not," but he "looked at her." All his initial statements are typical of a misogynist and Benedick mocks the institution

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    The only exception was, of course, the crown. The crown could pass to a daughter and that daughter would be invested with all the power and Majesty of any king. This allowed Mary, and then Elizabeth, to reign. The way a man treated his wife derived essentially from the biblical

  1. How Shakespeare portrays Hero and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

    This scene focuses on Hero's innocence and purity, which dramatically reinforces the enormity of the accusations against her in Act IV scene I. And so it is important for Shakespeare here to portray Hero as a person who represents the type of conventional and mild romantic heroine who does not

  2. How does Shakespeare present the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio ...

    In turn each of them are constantly competing to get one over on the other. This allows the modern audience to recognise that Beatrice is an example of Shakespeare's strong and dominant female characters. Further to Benedick's declaration of love, he is asked by Beatrice to kill his closest friend, Claudio.

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