The Character of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing Essay

The Character of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing Essay

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The Character of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

Many would believe this to be a understated summary of the way
Shakespeare presents her character in Much Ado About Nothing because
Beatrice is not just a humorous character but a strong role model for
both ShakespeareÂ’s time and for a modern audience defying social
expectations and being equal to her male counter parts, she is the
heroin of the play and even though speaking “all mirth” which would
probably be expected from a lead Shakespeare role, however she is much
more that that. Beatrice has the most depth to her character in
comparison to other characters than simply humour. Thus the statement
not doing Beatrice justice as she has the most positive influence over
the other characters. To an Elizabethan audience the story line of
Hero and Claudio would be familiar because of the traditional views
held by their characters, and so the audience would have expected Hero
to be the romantic lead of the play. However, Beatrice’s ‘emotional
gravity,’¹ eventually leads the importance of her role to go beyond
that of HeroÂ’s, whilst still maintaining the humorous aspect essential
to her character.

It would seem definite that Shakespeare is making a criticism of the
patriarchal and misogyny that resided in society at that time which is
expressed through Beatrice who defies her social expectations. She is
a strong feminine role model; Shakespeare uses her to challenge sexist
beliefs and the subordination of women. This holds special interest
for feminine critics, alike many of ShakespeareÂ’s works female
characters such as Beatrice have the major parts and speak as many

... middle of paper ...

... mood of Benedict and the idea of him ranting
sulkily. The effect of Beatrice on him is comical in this way because
of his dramatic reaction.

The word choice is also interesting possessing some underlying
meaning. For example, it appears significant of the word ‘endure’ to
be used a number of times. Beatrice states, “I could not endure a
husband” (II.i.26), and Benedick exclaims “I cannot endure my Lady
Tongue” (II.i.257-8). It would seem that these two statements
parallel each other in the sense that the couple are drawn to each
other which is implied by ShakespeareÂ’s choice of words.

¹Marguerite Alexander, Shakespeare and his contemporaries p.69

²Ellen Terry, Four Lectures on Shakespeare 1932 p83-84

³The Arden Edition – Much ado about nothing p30

Vickers p174

*Ibid., pp. 175, 176

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