Acknowledging Female Stereotypes in Much Ado About Nothing

1653 WordsOct 21, 20137 Pages
Acknowledging Female Stereotypes in Much Ado About Nothing Women in the Elizabethan age were extremely repressed and discriminated against. Most would not have gone to school or received any type of formal education. They were not allowed to vote, own property, or freely voice their opinions. They were seen as the property of a man, subject to his wants, needs, and not allowed to have their own; men held extremely stereotypical views of their female counterparts that helped them justify the way they treated them. Shakespeare exposes many of these injustices and biases in his stage plays, which are still commonly read and performed today. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio moves from seeing women (specifically Hero) as goddesses and wives…show more content…
This implies Beatrice, and by extension all women, to be controlled and weakened by their emotions. Claudio says that Hero had told him that Beatrice would surely die if her situation with Benedick progresses in any direction, again poking fun at women's irrationality. He suggests she wear herself out by talking to someone about her love, as though she were a small child throwing a temper tantrum. Like most men of his time, Claudio appears to believe that women's perceived lack of control of their emotions made them less worthy of esteem. His view of women again turns cynical again when he receives news in Act 3, Scene 2 that leads him to believe that Hero has had an affair with another man. Don John uses the word “disloyal” to describe her actions, and Claudio repeats that word in outrage and confusion about this blow to his honor (3 2 76). Being “disloyal” seems worse than most other things, in that it has wounded Claudio's pride and reputation. The prefix “dis” is extremely negative and poignant. He emphasizes that if he sees anything with his own eyes, he will believe these accusations. He describes the issue as “mischief strangely thwarting,” and extends that description to all women in general; here he shows that he has moved from seeing women as wives and goddesses to adulterers and shrews. At their wedding ceremony in Act 4, Scene 1, Claudio spitefully and ironically addresses Hero with all

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