The Representation of Women in Much Ado About Nothing

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The Representation of Women in Much Ado About Nothing The female characters who are in the play are all present and involved in Act2 Scene1, which makes it the perfect situation to describe Shakespeare's portrayal of women in "Much Ado About Nothing". Hero can be easily compared with Beatrice being of a similar class and very close relatives. Then you have the characters of Margaret and Ursula, the servants, who are also very comparable and show a portrayal of women in lower classes. This scene is cementing the idea that the play is a Shakespearean comedy and we can see this because the Party is used to create dramatic irony between Beatrice and Benedick in their amusing banter. A modern audience very easily understands the story of the play, and can react to its dramatics. Therefore the play still has an appealing plot. However the appeal of the characters is going to be interpreted differently by contemporary audiences, even though the play is very modern in its portrayal of Women. The play was written around 1600, in the Renaissance period, and was written about three quarters of the way through Shakespeare's impressive career. The view of women at this time was typified by the Queen's beliefs that women should be virtuous wives. She was a very strong woman for and was regarded, by most of the aristocracy, as an honorary man through her status; this gave women hope of empowerment. It was a confusing state of affairs for women, halfway between growth and regression. In this period most women were becoming more positive and self confident, however " a woman's identity…depended on her movement in relation to the 'houses' of ... ... middle of paper ... ... different to this, it seems as though it is in fact Beatrice that should be the heroine. The story ends with the marriages, all the loose ends are tied up, and this is because there is no more comedy to be had. The comedy (like in several other Shakespeare plays) was in the courtship and marriage. Marriage is the realization of womanhood in purely contemporary terms. The end of the play is a return to Act2 Scene1 as a happy and friendly place of normality, with no work to be done and with no stresses, a revolution against the broken nuptials. --------------------------------------------------------------------- [1] C. Klapisch-Zuber, Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy, 1985 [2] Sir Thomas Elyot, The Book Named the Governor, 1531 [3] Carol Thomas Neely, Broken Nuptials: Much Ado About Nothing, 1985
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