Depiction Of Women In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

1798 WordsNov 21, 20178 Pages
Depiction of Women in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing: Hero vs. Beatrice During the late 16th and early 17th century, women were expected to be submissive, calm, quiet, and uneducated. A woman’s duty was to stay home and take care of their husbands, children, cooking, and cleaning. Women during this time were not viewed as intelligent members of society; they were viewed as emotional human beings whose only purpose was to nurture the home. Deep, intellectual thoughts, language, or actions were deemed as masculine characteristics. Regardless of schooling, women during Elizabethan times were not expected nor granted the opportunity to work. They were, however, expected to uphold duties as “woman” by submitting their livelihood to their husband and household. Scholars and professors of literature, such as Anne Parten of George Mason University and Thomas J. Scheff of University of California at Santa Barbara, make note of a contrast between the two main female characters in William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado about Nothing. This contrast has led to a great question about a realistic depiction of women in society during the 17th century. According to Parten’s piece titled "Beatrice's Horns: A Note on Much Ado about Nothing, II.I.25-27," and Scheff’s work, “GENDER WARS: Emotions in Much Ado About Nothing,” one female character in the play follows the societal regulations declared upon women, while the other fights against the idea of public display of emotion, submissive behavior, and domination by the male sex. A disrespectful, witty, or extraverted attitude usually caused women to abandon their hopes of marrying, which was a family’s one opportunity of ridding themselves of the burden of female offspring. Women worked by marrying and serving, yet a traditional, steady, and paying opportunity of employment was highly inadmissible. This subservient character of “woman” was admirable by men and necessary to be wooed, and eventually, married. This picture of women is not only subservient behavior but chaste as well. Chastity was an important part of Elizabethan culture. According to an article called “Cuckoldry as a Dramatic Motive in Much Ado about Nothing” by Nurten Çelik, “[i]n such a community where men
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