The Treatment Of Women In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

1941 WordsNov 6, 20178 Pages
There are many ways in which the play, 'Much Ado About Nothing ', by Shakespeare could be interpreted and read. This ambiguity is present in all of Shakespeare 's works yet one interpretation is prominent in 'Much Ado About Nothing ' particularly. The feminist contention that the treatment of women in this play reflects deep insecurities in men about the potential threat of the female to undermine patriarchal order, such as that of Messina 's society, highlights Shakespeare 's tendency to override the freedom of female characters. Of course, it is only in recent years that the play has been read from a feminist viewpoint and the shift of social focus during the years since it was written has also offered a vast range of interests, so…show more content…
There is significance in the men 's confusion arising from such wit of Beatrice 's, since Leonato himself asks, "What is he that you ask for, niece?", yet Hero has no difficulties comprehending. This kind of understanding between them, if typical of all women, must certainly contribute to a sense of unease that the men feel. Also during Act 1 Scene 1 Don Pedro 's assumption, "I think this is your daughter", is met by Leonato 's response, "Her mother hath many times told me so." This introduction of Hero is indicative of the treatment of women, as he makes a joke at her expense in public without considering her feelings. It could be said that this sort of oppression of Hero is what causes her to remain silent, although Shakespeare may have created her in recognition of the popular view of women at the time, as an opposite to Beatrice 's free speech. When the play was written there would have been no competition to this convention and, as mentioned earlier, it has only surfaced in the wake of women gaining an 'equal ' role in society. In short, the stark contrast between Hero 's muteness and Beatrice 's unconventional vulgarity highlights Beatrice 's lack of a father to govern her and the way that women were viewed
Open Document