Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare Essay

Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare Essay

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William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is a rich play, entertaining, and straightforward, that explores a multitude of themes effortlessly: how deception can be used as a means to an end, for either negative or positive results, or the strengths and vulnerabilities of love and marriage. But, perhaps, the most compelling theme of the novel is how gender identity and traditional gender roles limit and define how men and women should perform and interact in society. While Shakespeare uses many of the characters in the play to illustrate how honour is defined differently for men and women, or how social grace and polished manners controlled the interactions between men and women, Shakespeare utilizes the characters of Beatrice and Benedick to offer a contrasting argument on how some men and women defy traditional gender roles and social decorum. In addition, I will explore, compare and how both films adapted from the original play, Much Ado about Nothing (1993) and Much Ado About Nothing (2013), how they achieve to illustrate Benedick and Beatrice breaking away from traditional gender roles.
Prior to the scene between Beatrice and Benedick, at a church, Friar Francis is performing the nuptials between Claudio and Hero. Unbeknownst to the Friar, Leonato, Benedick, Beatrice, the attendants, and most importantly, Hero, Claudio is enraged over believing that he had seen Hero and another man in an amorous act the previous night at her bedroom window, when in fact, this was a deceptive plan by the malicious Don John, who wanted to start mischief for his entertainment. Claudio, along with the honorable Don Pedro and Don John, proceeds to publically shame Hero, accusing her of being a whore, who “knows the heat of a luxurious bed [4.1....


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...wished for: Beatrice is no longer crying and Benedick has agreed to challenge Claudio. However, they are still reeling from the love they expressed to each other, and don’t know where they stand in regards to it. As Beatrice walks off with her hand raking her hair, Benedick stares after her with a look of heartbreak and loss in his eyes: they have both not said a word about how they will progress together as lovers.
The film is vital to capturing the emotions of the play, visually, while the play captures the theme linguistically. Beatrice and Benedick are aware of the constraints and limitations of their identity, but refuse to let that dictate how they will engage and interact in life. Shakespeare establishes that gender norms are not concrete, can be broken, and that it is not a bad thing to defy social graces and gender roles in place of being your unique self.

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