Beatrice of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing Essay

1746 Words 7 Pages
Beatrice of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing


One of the most intriguing characters from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing must be Beatrice. An intelligent, well-spoken (and, perhaps more interesting, outspoken) young woman, she is an almost exact opposite of her cousin, Hero. What makes Beatrice so different than what one expects of a woman during Shakespeare’s time? Why did Shakespeare decide to make her such a strong female character? It begs the question of what women were actually like in the Tudor era, and if she was really so radical a character.

Beatrice is very different than the common expectation of women by people looking back on Shakespeare’s period and of the public of Shakespeare’s time in many ways. As
…show more content…
In the Tudor era (when Shakespeare was writing), the upper class married for political agendas, family advancement, and to secure the family status, if it could not be furthered. Most women did not have a choice in the matter of who they married, and by their mid-twenties, they were indeed married off to a suitable husband. Another quotation to show the importance of, and the view of marriage in the sixteenth-century (not long before Shakespeare wrote) comes from Alison Sim in The Tudor Housewife:

The economics of marriage was not the only pressure on children to marry where their parents directed. Sixteenth-century children, and girls in particular, were very much brought up to obey, and to believe that it was their duty to their parents… to marry the person chosen for them. It would have taken a very strong-minded girl indeed to have refused to follow her parents’ wishes. Girls who did refuse the partner offered could find themselves bullied by their parents. (3)

Obviously Beatrice is a strong character to state quite clearly that she does not wish to marry and to stand by that statement (until she the end of the play where she chooses to marry Benedick out of love, which, incidentally, is another quirk about her considering the fact that she is of the upper class and they often married only for political agendas). Though, considering the information presented already, it must also be assumed…