Much Ado About Nothing - A Feminist Perspective Essay examples

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A Feminist Perspective of Much Ado About Nothing



Much Ado About Nothing, though a critically acclaimed play, seems to be truly a fuss of trivial details and sexist thinking. The title fits the play itself, in the sense that it is a case of a great amount of nothing, which perhaps can be assumed to be a mistake on William Shakespeare's part.

The characters in the comedy are not realistic, and those that could have been were transformed throughout the course of events depicted. The most trouble with the play, however, seems to come from the representation of the female characters, particularly in comparison with the males. It seems almost that the female characters are written off, rather than merely written out. The male
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Beatrice begins in the comedy as an outstanding example of a sharp-witted female. She is candidly funny, and brutally honest. She calls people as she sees them, though it might be offensive to those she chooses to observe. For instance, when she spars with Benedick, she hits him exactly where she knows it will hurt - his large ego. "Why, he is the Prince's jester, a very dull fool," (II, i, 130-131) she says of Benedick, to his face. In this statement, she is mocking his ability at verbal sparring, as well as turning his own intelligence into an amusement for the Prince, and whomever may be an audience for it at the time. Later in the play, however, Beatrice's intelligence is lessened greatly. Her character is made into that of the stereotype of an Elizabethan woman: easily gulled, and quick to fall in love. When she hears the planned conversation between Hero and Ursula, she immediately changes her entire thinking of Benedick. Soon she even believes that she loves him, in return for the sentiments she was made to believe he shared. This transition from sharp wit to the type of gossip that believes every bit of hearsay is difficult to believe in any character, even a Shakespearean one. When Beatrice finally succumbs to this "love" for Benedick, and betrays her own convictions against marriage, the metamorphosis is complete. Only the shell of a once potentially brilliant character…