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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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

    Another example of this is "why then your visor should be burned". Here Hero is saying watch yourself, Prince! This may have been inspired by Beatrice as before the dance Beatrice was encouraging her to stand up for herself so that she marries who she wants, "Cousin, let him be

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

    Beatrice is clearly frustrated by the double standards of men and the way they treat women and the restraints there governing has on her. This is shown by Beatrice's loyalty to Hero, she wishes that she could eat Claudio's heart in a public place for the grief that he has caused Hero.

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

    Overall Benedick's sharp tongue and outspoken nature compares dramatically with Beatrice's and shows that although both characters are individuals, they both share a similar sense of humour and attitude to each other. A modern audience may observe Benedick as mocking and criticize his misogynistic attitude and opinion of Hero's appearance.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    Neither could women enter the navy or the army. Women could and did work in domestic service, however, as cooks, maids etc. Women were also allowed to write works of literature, though few works by women were actually published. However, women could not act on the stage. Acting was not considered reputable for women.

  1. "Hero's and Claudio's relationship is naïve, immature and unlikely to succeed, whereas Benedick's and ...

    However I believe their relationship will succeed as in the Elizabethan period this was considered the norm. Hero speaks confidently when she is out of the public's eye, because she complies with social expectations and her class. She shows she has wit and inner beauty.

  2. Explore the possible meanings of the title 'Much AdoAbout Nothing'.

    1 when Leonato says' And since you could not be my son-in-law, Be yet my nephew; my brother hath a daughter.' The plan is for Hero to play the part of Antonio's daughter who does not really exist and because she does not so, then this is definitely coinciding with the title's possible meaning in the word nothing of 'non-existence'.

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

    This shows that Hero is willing move to the will of her father without bringing her opinions to surface. Hero's innocence is also highlighted in Act III scene IV, where she is shocked by Margaret's unearthy attitude towards the realities of marriage.

  2. How effectively does Shakespeare present the relationship between men and women in 'Much AdoAbout ...

    She is most definitely an individual. A source where this statement is proven is once again where Don Pedro asks Beatrice if she "would have him", to which Beatrice boldly refuses. She quickly adds..."but I beseech your Grace pardon me, I was born to speak all mirth and no matter".

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