Patriarchy In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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In Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare examines the fragility of the male ego and its domination over women in an effort to critique the patriarchy during the Elizabethan Era. In the play, chaos is created and authority in exercised by the male characters with no regard for reason or evidence. This highlights their baseless need to protect themselves at all costs, no matter the effect it may have on the opposite sex. In the primal Elizabethan era, the lack of any form of paternity test led to the men’s irrational fear of infidelity and the victimization of even the most ideal products of their society. The inheritance of wealth held high importance during this time period and thus heightened the insecurities of upper-class males who worried constantly about the unfaithfulness of women leading to an impure child receiving unrightful wealth. When Claudio first lays eyes on Hero, amongst his initial comments, he asks “Is she not a modest young lady?” (1.1.158). By immediately questioning her purity while paying no attention to wit or personality, he indirectly suggests that her worthiness of marriage relied solely on her docility and innocence. The sexuality of a woman was to be the pride and possession of her husband therefore when Claudio is tricked into believing her adultery he fears a loss of control or diminish of dominance over her. He states, “For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang, To turn all beauty

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