Margaret’s role in Much Ado about Nothing Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing is, on the surface, a typical romantic comedy with a love-plot that ends in reconciliation and marriage. This surface level conformity to the conventions of the genre, however, conceals a deeper difference that sets Much Ado apart. Unlike Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, Much Ado about Nothing does not mask class divisions by incorporating them into an idealized community. Instead of concealing or obscuring the problem of social status, the play brings it up explicitly through a minor but important character, Margaret, Hero’s “waiting gentlewoman.” Shakespeare suggests that Margaret is an embodiment of the realistic nature of social class. Despite her ambition, she is unable to move up in hierarchy due to her identity as a maid. Her status, foiling Hero’s rich, protected upbringing, reveals that characters in the play, as well as global citizens, are ultimately oppressed by social relations and social norms despite any ambition to get out. Margaret is an intelligent, articulate, and ambitious woman who desires to rise up in social status by marrying a man of higher social rank. She attends to those above her, in hopes of elevating her status as she becomes closer to the upper-class. As a minor character, she plays a small yet crucial role in advancing Don John’s plot to slander Hero and spoil her wedding. As a lower-class character, Margaret serves as a foil to the rich girls, particularly Hero, who embodies every attitude and mindset Margaret does not. But she also offers an alternative perspective on the upper-class characters in the play. Because Margaret is victimized because of her social ambitions, punished for wanting to rise above her ... ... middle of paper ... ... She first criticizes Hero’s choice of a ruff; then she indirectly denigrates Hero’s wedding gown by contrasting its simplicity with the duchess of Milan’s lavish garment (3.4.14-23); finally, she mocks the prim and proper Hero by making a coarse sexual allusion (3.4.27). When Hero rebukes her, Margaret refuses to be shamed and defends herself: “[ashamed] of what, lady? Of speaking honorably? Is not marriage honorable in a beggar? Is not your lord honorable without marriage? (3.4.28-31). By implying that honor is achieved not through any marriage but through a “good,” socially suitable marriage, Margaret implicitly criticizes the inequality in her society and expresses her desire for a marriage that will not leave her “below stairs” (5.2.10). But she is acutely aware that she has no such marriage prospects as she resentfully watches Hero’s wedding preparations.
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The title of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing has sparked scholarly debates about its meaning for centuries. Some say it is a play on the term “noting”, revolving around the theme of all sorts of deceptions by all sorts of appearances (Rossiter 163). Others claim it has more to do with everyone making a fuss about things that turn out to be false, therefore, nothing (Vaughn 102). Regardless of these speculations, there is something rather profound going on in the play that is worth making a big deal about: four characters in the play learn about love, and eventually, how to love.
Barton, Anne. Introduction. Much Ado About Nothing. The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. 361-365.
With its entangled double plots and eloquent use of words, Much Ado About Nothing is a story that has the ability to entertain the masses both young and old. Shakespeare’s use of figurative language along with situation creates such vivid imagery for which carries the drama from beginning to end. For example, when we look at Act 1 Scene 1 of the play ...
“Go make me a sandwich!” is a common joke that males use towards females in the 21st century to stereotypically put women “in their place”. Many jokes like these tend to depict women as if they belong in the kitchen or as if their purpose is to serve men. But these gender differences are not only seen as jokes, but as a part of history. Writers such as William Shakespeare display many intentions of gender roles and strains in many of his works. These ideas are strongly portrayed in Shakespeare’s Othello, a play whose characters go through a great amount of sexism. Discrimination towards women along with misunderstandings are the fundamental struggles depicted in this play and is a great dispute in the world today.
The portrayal of gender roles in William Shakespeare’s play Othello, demonstrates the inferior treatment of women and the certain stereotypes of men placed on them by society. Both the male and female characters in the play have these certain gender expectations placed on them. In a society dominated by men, it is understood that the women are to be seen rather than heard. The women are referred to and treated much like property. If indeed they do speak up, they are quickly silenced. One woman’s attempt to be the perfect wife is what ultimately led to her demise. The expectations of men are equally stereotypical. Men are to be leaders and to be in control and dominant especially over the women. The male characters compete for position and use the female characters in the play as leverage to manipulate each other. Shakespeare provides insight in understanding the outcomes of the men and women who are faced with the pressures of trying to live up to society’s expectations, not only in the workplace, but also in the home. The pressure creates jealousy issues amongst the men and they become blind to the voice of reason and are overtaken by jealous rage, leads to the death of many of the characters.
The nexus of status, gender, and societal roles are consistently topics of interest among people, and can be found throughout the plays of William Shakespeare. More evident in their original production, however, through modern renditions and personal interpretation of readings these topics reoccur often His work dictated specific roles for men and women. Through analyzing said roles one can derive insights regarding the esteem of women and how the relative devaluing of women shaped normal gender roles. However, Shakespeare provides conflicting interpretations, dependent upon the light in which his work is read. Among the possible differing interpretations of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” stands a reoccurring argument throughout history of, men vs. women in a battle of status/power. After reading the play one could make the argument that women are inferior to their counterparts, however, at the same time, the argument could be made that women have more power than men, and both positions be considered accurate.
This essay explores the differences of gender in “Much Ado About Nothing” and how these play into “Much Ado About Nothing”. Gender has always been a big part of Shakespeare’s plays. In “Much Ado About Nothing” the fear of cuckoldry and the fear of femininity feature in this play. Benedick’s lamentation of the lack of bachelors after Claudio reveals he wants to marry Hero. The fact that Beatrice is a more masculine character despite being a woman. “Much of the critical worrying about Much Ado and its ending focuses on the question of whether this ritual signifies a change in Claudio sufficient to warrant his good fortune in the next scene, where Hero is restored to him.” (198)
As planned, Much Ado About Nothing explores the themes of love and honor through communication, but also miscommunication. By focusing on two relationships throughout the play, this production displays how social rules are influenced by gender and how these gender stereotypes lead to biased notions. From seeing what the production team planned before producing Much Ado About Nothing, I think they achieved their desired ideas about gender roles, marriage, morality, and identity.
According to Elizabethan society, the center of Olivia’s dilemma with her marriage was ensuring her wealth, not marrying a man she loved (Joseph 170). Social class increases division among individuals in society. This play “ is not the story of a Juliet's or an Orlando's love .., but of the very realistic struggles and intrigues over the betrothal of a rich Countess, whose selection of a mate determines the future” (170). Readers looking past these boundaries created by class and gender, can find striking similarities in emotions characters have for each other. The personal struggles the characters face in this play demonstrate the obstacles that individuals faced because of their gender or place in the social hierarchy.
"Much Ado about Nothing" reflects gender expectations of the time period in plenty of ways. In this play every woman had to be pure for the man that chooses to marry them or who their father chooses for them to marry. For the guys in the play it was all about either not wanting love or about marrying the girl they love. Also it was like the upper class marries upper class and lower class marries lower class. In this time period it was also like the women needed a man to take care of them because the people thought women were weaker than men.
In order to analyse Shakespeare’s women, one must be aware of the female situation in both the playwright's own time period, and in the period in which his play was written. The ladies in Othello suggest that they have “internalised society's’ expectations of them, and apart from in moment of private conversation, behave as men expect, believing this to be ‘natural’” (. Emilia’s (and Desdemona’s) behaviour towards men for the most part of the play is an example of this behavior considered normal at the time. This conformity to social norms can be perceived as weaknes...
In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, the female protagonists of the play, Beatrice and Hero, and Blanche and Stella, are submitted to battles against misogyny. Unlike the stereotypically submissive Elizabethan woman, Beatrice is ready to be ‘a man’ (Act 4.1.315) for the sake of her wronged cousin Hero and duel against ‘Count Comfit’ (Act 4.1.314). Blanche, while fighting against Stanley as ‘he advances’ (Scene Three, page 41) towards, and hurt, Stella, became relatable to a modern day audience when fighting against Domestic Violence. These women challenge the status quo of their eras, whether it is effective or not.
During the Elizabethan era women had a status of subordination towards men. They had a role to marry and oblige to their husband’s wishes. Shakespearean literature, especially illustrates how a woman is psychologically and physically lesser to their male counterpart. The play, Othello, uses that aspect in many different ways. From a Feminist lens others are able to vividly examine how women were subjected to blatant inferiority. Being displayed as tools for men to abuse, women were characterized as possessions and submissive; only during the last portion of the play did the power of women take heed.
... or desires. This claustrophobic sensation daily burdens women, disabling them to reach their greatest potential. In Romeo and Juliet, this thick environment suppresses each of the three crucial women, and ultimately, it is the agent of their fate. Would Juliet's tragic death been avoided if the societal structure been changed? Would Lady Capulet had been so apathetic, withdrawn, and submissive if she was no longer bound by marriage? Or would the Nurse be so condemned every time she desired to speak her voice? Shakespeare constructs and illuminates these three distinct reactions to social oppression by portraying a determined, passionate lover, an idyllic, apathetic housewife, and a vociferous, bawdy attendant, and by doing so, he establishes that no matter what a woman does, the patriarchal society has already determined her fate in infinite, confined entrapment!
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare focuses on the enormous gap between the power of men and where women stand. Women were expected to be obedient and dependent on men, innocent, and were also expected to be good wives. Shakespeare wanted women to see how the roles are changing for the better. In this play, there is difference between the traditional roles of women back then, and the ones that stand out from the rest. He depicts this through two characters. In the opening scene, where characters and their personalities, and roles are established; Hero has only one line, which is seven words. Even said that, these lines are just a comment on Beatrice. Hero is the daughter and the property of her father, Leonato. Her helplessness comes from her being overprotected by her father, and the need to obey him. Beatrice, by contrast, does not have a father, she lives on her witty personality and her intelligence. Beatrice has a dream to spend her life “where the bachelors sit, and there live we, as merry as the day is long” (2.1.40-46) When Leonato tells Hero, “Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer,” (2.1.60-63) she just stands there, silently obeying her father. Hero’s looks are her only advantage as a women, as they are what attracts Claudio. He falls in love with her at first sight in the first act, based only on her appearance.