Essay about Gender Roles in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing"

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William Shakespeare said: “Women may fall when there's no strength in men” (Romeo and Juliet). Throughout history gender role have been a big, whether someone is a feminist or someone believes there is no equality between males and females; everyone has different opinions when it comes to the matter of gender roles. The same thing can be said about William Shakespeare who was a feminist (Shakespeare of Stratford). This ideology can be seen in his play Much Ado about Nothing. In this comedy Shakespeare focuses on two pairs of lovers named Claudio and Hero who are set to be married in a week but before their marriage day, they plan to conspire with Don Pedro, the prince of Aragon to trick their friends Beatrice and Benedick to admit their love for each other. Don John, the brother of Don Pedro, meanwhile plots to prevent marriage of Claudio and Hero by accusing Hero of being unfaithful. Don John initially succeeds in his plan as Hero is accused and ashamed at the marriage ceremony, but at the end Claudio and Hero are united and marry each other. Also, Beatrice and Benedick finally declare their love for each and dance at the end of the play. Shakespeare uses a lot of sources for this comedy and one of them is “Orlando Furioso” written in 1591, which gave Shakespeare the idea of Hero and Claudio’s marriage and Don John’s plot to prevent it. Another source Shakespeare used to write the play is the courtier written in 1588, which gave him the idea of the romance between Beatrice and Benedick. And also “La Prima de la Novelle” written in 1554 by Matteo Bandello gave Shakespeare the idea of putting the setting in Messina, Italy (Shakespeare in quarto). Because Shakespeare was a feminist, some of the women appear as supporting and central...

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...n after criticizing the institution of marriage.
In conclusion, gender role in Elizabethan era is very complex with respect to women’s role. Men are the masters of the home and society; they preside over every aspect of life. They are however, expected to take care of their family and also be actively involved in politics, war, and they inherit their father’s properties. Women role varied a according to their social status. All women were raised to be subservient to men. Unlike upper class women, lower class women were denied any kind of education. And all women are expected to get married and bear children. The qualities Shakespeare gave Beatrice are very significant because it contrasts traditional Elizabethan theater. Gender role has evolved over time, especially women’s role and it will continue to evolve as long as there are women like Beatrice around.

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