The Lives of The Female Characters In Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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The Lives of The Female Characters In Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

It is hard to imagine that there could or ever have been restrictions on the choice of one’s spouse become a reality, more so far for women than men. Women’s rights, especially when it came to choosing a mate, were minimal during the Elizabethan period. Marriages for women tended to be arranged or not allowed before, during and after the 16th century. One might wonder what rights women did have, concerning marriage and how could they be seen in the play, “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare.

In Elizabethan England, women were only seen as marriageable if they kept their virginity. During the time in
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In Elizabethan times, a young girl’s aims were to get married at a young age, so an audience in those may have been surprised by Beatrice’s rebellious nature.

Hero on the other hand would have been seen as an agreeable character who obeys fathers will and is always helpful. We see this throughout the play, such as when Antonio and Hero’s father warn her that prince Don Pedro may ask her to marry him on the night of the ball. Hero says nothing, however we see her co-operation through Beatrice’s remarks “is it my cousin’s duty to make courtesy and say, Father, as it please you.” She is helpful in the plot to bring about Beatrice and Benedick together as we see by her statement: “I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband. In modern times, we see Hero’s character as sweet and innocent.

In modern times Beatrice would be seen as a socially acceptable character. She is witty, cheeky and thinks for herself. We see her as mischievous throughout the whole play, especially in her conversations with and about Benedick, in which she uncontrollably mocks him. We can see this in one of her opening lines in the play; in act 1 scene 1 she sarcastically queries “How many hath Signor Benedick killed? For indeed, I promised to eat all of his killings.” When Benedick arrives we see their first meeting of the play, complete with