Essay on Hero and Beatrice Vs. Women During the Shakespearean Period

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In William Shakespeare's play "Much Ado about Nothing" there are sharp contrasts between Hero and Beatrice in comparison to women during the Shakespearean period. Hero is the typical example of a woman during the Shakespearean period. Hero is depicted in the play as a morally upright woman of good keep, and she seem to be a very loving and warm person in comparison to her cousin Beatrice. However she is made out to be a whore by Claudio at her own expense on her wedding day. Beatrice is the heroine of the play; she possesses a quick wit and a quick tongue. Beatrice does have the same warm and loving personality as her cousin however she constantly starts "merry war" or make fun of other individuals. Beatrice is not a typical woman of the…show more content…
When Claudio maltreats Hero on her wedding day Beatrice says that, "O that I was a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! I cannot be a man with wishing; therefore I will die a woman with grieving" (IV.i.312-318). At a time in the play "Much ado about Nothing" Claudio refers to Hero as a "jewel." With this description of Hero as a "jewel" it can be thought that Shakespeare is using Claudio to convey to the audience the beauty of Hero. Shakespeare could also be explaining the way in which men own women and the way that women are property in the eyes of Shakespearean men. Beatrice clearly does not wish to be owned or considered property and worth of a woman. As it pertains to worth in regards to Hero, marrying Claudio can advance her father's Leonato business endeavors. Marrying Claudio could be seen as marrying a financial, stable, secure future for Leonato and for Hero. The climax of the play is when the wedding ceremony is aborted and Hero is shamed and she is accused of disloyalty to Claudio. During the Shakespearean period women that were accused of unfaithfulness before marriage would lose social standing, a standing that could never be improved. This damaged social standing could ruin an entire family, therefore when Leonato buys into the fact that Hero was disloyal to Claudio he attempts to dismiss her totally
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