Elizabethan Era And Much Ado About Nothing Essay

Elizabethan Era And Much Ado About Nothing Essay

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Elizabethan Era and “Much Ado About Nothing” Gender Roles

This play dates back to the Elizabethan era, a time when men and women lived in a patriarchal society. Under those circumstances, men were molded by traditional beliefs; their loyalty and their social ranking depended on honor, comradeship, and authority over women. Because men were viewed as the better sex, it was thought that women needed to be protected by men their entire life. In the case that a woman was unwed, the father, brother or another male relative was to care for her until a male companion showed up.

Women were subservient to men; men were the leaders and women their subordinates. For instance, once married, men played the provider role for the woman and family; they provided the home, property, food, money, etc. Women were the caretakers, providing upkeep and support for the house, and the family (Sharnette, 1998-2014).

Every woman had a role at the time, and their role in society depended on their ranking in society and marital status; a table below lists out the roles:

Table 1

Women’s roles in Elizabethan era, based on social status


• Wealthy women were allowed education

• Wealthy women were tutored at home

• They were taught in Latin, Italian, Greek and French

• Dancing and Music skills were essential

Women were not allowed to go to university

Middle Class/Poor

• Did not attend school

• Did not receive formal education

• Had to learn to govern a household

• Had to become skilled in housewife duties

• Learned only what needed to be known in order to marry


• Elizabethan women were expected to marry

• People were suspicious with single women

• ...

... middle of paper ...

... man that will only tell her what to do for the rest of her life. In Act II; Scene I, Leonato has this idea in his head that Don Pedro will seek out to have Hero as his wife, tells Hero: “Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer” (Act II, Scene I, Lines 66-68). Hero’s obedience to men in her life is what makes her the perfect example of the stereotypical women in the Elizabethan era.

Claudio, a soldier fighting under Don Pedro, he’s praised for his valiant efforts in war. Similar to Hero, Claudio fit the criteria for his male gender role. His character could be described as immature, to enumerate, he’s over the top, lacks awareness and insight to situations in his life as well as others; at first sight falls madly in love with Hero but seeks help in wooing her, teases Benedict about his love for Beatrice.

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