A Spirited Female Lead in Pride and Prejudice by Austen and Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

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A Spirited Female Lead in Pride and Prejudice by Austen and Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare


"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and "Much Ado About Nothing" by
William Shakespeare are two of the best known and best loved literary
works in history. One of the main reasons for this is the strength and
personality of their leading female characters Beatrice, and Elizabeth
and the relationships that they form within the books. Beatrice,
described as being "possessed with a fury", and Elizabeth as an
"obstinate, headstrong girl", are characters whose vibrant and
incredibly spirited personalities simply leap off the pages capturing
the imagination of any reader.

One of the key techniques used
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It is also clear that Beatrice
and Benedick know each other "of old" although we do not understand
clearly what their previous relationship was until, when later
questioned by Don Pedro, Beatrice reveals that she once gave Benedick
a "double heart for his single one". By including this idea of a
previous failed relationship between the characters Shakespeare makes
the ease with which the pair fall into the trap set for them by the
other characters more acceptable to the audience as there is clearly
still a strong attraction and a lot of unfinished business between
them. This also allows Shakespeare to add another dimension to
Beatrice's character, in helping to explain the reason that it is
particularly "Signor Benedick" who experiences the sharp side of
Beatrice's tongue and why it is important that Benedick thinks that he
is "loved of all ladies, only you excepted." The importance of
Benedick's character in helping to create a spirited female lead
within the play should certainly not be under-estimated as without him
we would only rarely glimpse the feisty and energetic side of
Beatrice's personality that makes her so enjoyable to watch.

Similarly, in "Pride and Prejudice" Elizabeth Bennet meets her main
antagonist in her future husband, Mr Darcy. It is her disregard for
what is "proper" that makes the character of Elizabeth so appealing.
When talking to Mr Darcy she…