Stereotypical Views Held About Women by Elizabethan Men in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Stereotypical Views Held About Women by Elizabethan Men in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing Introduction ============ Much Ado About Nothing exemplifies a kind of deliberately puzzling title that seems to have been popular in the late 1590s. Indeed, the play is about nothing; it merely follows the relationships of Claudio and Hero, and in the end, the play culminates in the two other main characters falling in love, which, because it was an event that was quite predictable, proves to be much ado about nothing The pronunciation of the word "nothing" would, in the late 16th Century, have been "noting," and so the title also apparently suggests a pun on the word, "noting," and on the use of the word "note" as an expression of music. In II.3, Balthasar is encouraged to sing, but declines, saying, "note this before my notes; there's not a note of mine that's worth the noting." However, Don Pedro retorts, "â?¦Note notes, forsooth, and nothing," playing on Balthasar's words, and also demanding that he pay attention to his music and nothing else. In addition, much of the play is dedicated to people "noting" (or observing) the actions of others (such as the trick played on Beatrice and Benedick by Leonato, Hero and Claudio). They often observe and overhear one another, and consequently make a great deal out of very little. Furthermore, women were very oppressed and maltreated during the time, and their status in society was very low. Their names were tarnished with classes, such as "Goddess," "Adulterer," "whore/wife" and "Shrew", and each woman was classed under those headings. They were classed as "nothing" and ... ... middle of paper ... ... in Britain has been exploding over the last 50 years. Majority of the top jobs are performed by men, even though the percentage is slowly sliding downwards, as more women demand equal rights. ===================================================================== Another Hierarchy is that of social class - people were split up into the top class, people like the king and people who were rich, the middle-class, people who were not rich, but not poor. Then, there was the poor class, who could not afford too much, and were very poor. In this play, not many people tell the truth. One of the only one's in the play who speaks the truth is Dogsberry - one of the poorest people in the play. He is adamant that the truth should prevail. This shows that even though he is a "commoner", he is still better than the upper-class.

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