Much Ado About Nothing Gender Inequality Essay

1176 WordsJun 2, 20175 Pages
Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s more popular plays, a comedy loved by many, and produced still to this day. However, behind all the wordplay, misconception, and pranks Shakespeare successfully exposes the dark, ugly truth about gender roles and inequality within the Elizabethan society. The inequality of genders is prevalent in Beatrice’s language, how the male characters view women within the play, and the concept of honor. Beatrice is easily one of the biggest and roundest characters in Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare created Beatrice’s character in order to bring to the stage opposition to the “traditional woman” of the Elizabethan time and shed light on gender inequality. Hero seems to…show more content…
Beatrice stands out as a character in Much Ado about nothing because she is a proud, strong female character, rare during Shakespeare’s time. She refuses to marry because she hasn’t found a perfect equal partner and is unwilling to submit her control and freedom to a husband. She yearns to be equal with men, something that challenges the gender inequality of Elizabethan time. The way Shakespeare has the men view the women characters in Much Ado About Nothing also gives insight into Elizabethan gender equality as well. Throughout the play women are referred to objects, and untrustworthy ones at that. Claudio asks Benedick early on his opinion of Hero, and the conversation turns quickly to talk of buying her and her “worthiness” of love and marriage. Her beauty and obedience are things that these men seem to value and think make her “worthy”. In Act 2 when Claudio is led to believe that Don Pedro stole Hero for himself, Benedick proclaims Don Pedro “stole your meat”. Objectifying the women makes it evident that the men believe the women have no real voice in any matter; they are there for the taking and meant to be submissive. The frequency of cuckolding jokes suggests that the men also believe that women by nature are untrustworthy and unfaithful. Benedick basically compares marriage to a prison – saying a married man is a man who gets cheated on. And before the men even “see” Hero in the

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