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Modern Audience Finds Shakespeare's Presentation of the Attitudes of Men Towards Women in "Much AdoAbout Nothing" Unsympathetic. Do You Agree

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Introduction

A Modern Audience Finds Shakespeare's Presentation of the Attitudes of Men Towards Women in "Much Ado About Nothing" Unsympathetic. Do You Agree? The Elizabethan period was very different from modern day England. Women were perceived in a different manner to how they are seen now. The Elizabethan woman did not enjoy the same degree of freedom as most women today. Women were controlled by a dominant male figure since birth. In "Much Ado About Nothing" Hero is controlled by her father and when she is married, Claudio will be the dominant figure in the male-female relationship. Although women were controlled in this way, many women, similar to "Hero" did not struggle to create freedom from this control, and most women felt comfortable to some degree with this. They were brought up to be submissive to men and woman who were not obedient to their farther or husband, were frowned upon. In this essay I will be discussing the attitudes and regulations of men and the patriarchal society which existed in Elizabethan England, and Shakespeare's presentation of attitudes of men towards women in "Much Ado About Nothing." ...read more.

Middle

Although Claudio's love for Hero may be seen as superficial, we do see some sign of genuine affection; "She is the sweetest lady that I ever looked on." Claudio may also be seen as a dreamer, he required a wife of beauty, wealth and status to match his vision of nobility. Although some modern audiences may see him as selfish, looking for sign of wealth and status before marriage was seen as perfectly acceptable in the Elizabethan period. We can see when Claudio asks "hath Leonato any son, my lord?" that wealth is an important factor to him. A women's virginity was extremely important in the Elizabethan period, and her family's honour relied on their daughter's chastity, this is why Leonato may be seen as over protective of Hero. In Scene 2, Don John claims to know that Hero has been unfaithful to Claudio. This turns Claudio's love for Hero to aggression, and Claudio, with Don Pedro's backing vows to disgrace Hero, if Don John's report is true. Claudio can be seen as a weak character, as he believes much of what he sees and hears without hesitation or suspicion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although, a 21st century audience may have preferred someone like Beatrice because she is witty and humorous, and females would like the fact that she is not dominated by men. When Beatrice asks Benedick to "Kill Claudio" (IV.1.285) we see from this that a could have only had gone to a certain point in Elizabethan times. It was not a woman's place to duel with a man, and although Beatrice sometimes wishes she were a man, she cannot duel, and so asks Benedick. This is a moment of shock in the play, leaving audiences guessing. Elizabethan audiences would not like a woman such as Beatrice, although many women like her did exist, and still do, even more so now than before. As you can see from this essay, a 21st century audience would have had a very different response than an Elizabethan audience to women in the play. Beatrice is portrayed with masculine values in her, and some audiences would like her because of her strong position over men. Feminist critics might see Hero as too weakened by society, and unable to be independent. The way she agrees with her father and husband, show how she aims to please other before herself. Many 21st century audiences may be very critical to this. ...read more.

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