Analysis Of Beatrice From Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

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A common theme in Shakespeare’s writings is the exploration of gender and sexuality (Gerlach et al.; McManus). His cleverly crafted and complex characters challenge the audience’s expectations of what it means to be masculine or feminine by displaying traits of each gender in single beings and questioning gender roles and standards (Gerlach et al.). This often playful consideration of gender norms was enhanced by the practice of men playing the female parts; in fact, theatres of Shakespeare’s era used costume and makeup to tease the audience who knew it was boys playing the female roles (McManus). Shakespeare portrayed women in a way that showed them to be more than passive, dainty little things (Gerlach et al.). They are often the characters who tell the truth about what is going on, demonstrating self-awareness, using reason, and controlling the action (Gerlach et al.; O’Brien). Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing is a perfect example of the interplay of feminine and masculine qualities and behaviors. She is opinionated and witty, and stands up for what she believes in, all while falling in love, traits that at the time of Shakespeare would have been quite radical for a woman to display. It is the powerful and complex women in Shakespeare’s works that make his plays the perfect place to explore more modern views on gender still today, especially now that women actually play the parts. Looking back, it may seem like actresses have been claiming Shakespeare’s wonderful
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