Gender Roles In Much Ado About Nothing

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This essay is an exploration of the play Much Ado About Nothing, and the gender roles involved in the deceit and trickery that transpire and develop throughout the story. As gender is one of the main themes in the plot, identifying the expected gender roles of the characters, and how the contrast between characters highlights these expected roles. In Shakespeare 's time, known as the Elizabethan Era, men and women’s roles and expectations were starkly different. Elizabethan women, no matter what social class, were inferior to men. A female’s role in the family was to get married so they could increase their family 's wealth and power and to produce heirs. Men, on the other hand, had all of the power within a household. Males were expected…show more content…
He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion. He hath indeed better bettered expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how. (Act 1, scene 1, line 12). This is the first we hear of the reputation of Claudio, from it we learn that he is mature, a good soldier, and has exceeded expectations. Leonato, having only heard good things about the young man, treats Claudio with respect and allows this very young man to marry his only daughter. This is an example of the saying ‘your reputation precedes you’. Benedick’s reputation is very apparent throughout the play: a Joker. At the Ball, Benedick in disguise, asks Beatrice about what she thinks of him, and she describes how most see him: 'Why, he is the Prince 's jester, a very dull fool, only his gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit but in his villainy, for he both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him. ' (Act 1, scene 7, line 2). Don John and Don Pedro have opposite reputations and perceptions of their characters. Don Pedro is a war hero, the prince, highly respected and trustworthy. He is the authoritarian, the one to look to for advice and input. We can see this when Leonato says: If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn. [To Don John.] Let me bid you welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the
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