Acknowledging Female Stereotypes in Much Ado About Nothing Essay

1639 Words Nov 2nd, 2013 7 Pages
Acknowledging Female Stereotypes in Much Ado About Nothing Women in the Elizabethan age were extremely repressed and discriminated against. Most would not have gone to school or received any type of formal education. They were not allowed to vote, own property, or freely voice their opinions. They were seen as the property of a man, subject to his wants, needs, and not allowed to have their own; men held extremely stereotypical views of their female counterparts that helped them justify the way they treated them. Shakespeare exposes many of these injustices and biases in his stage plays, which are still commonly read and performed today. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio moves from seeing women (specifically Hero) as goddesses and wives …show more content…
Claudio denounces Hero, and wishes Don Pedro “joy of her,” once again suggesting women to be objects of personal property, solely existing to fulfill the desires of man. When it is confirmed that Don Pedro was indeed just performing his friendly duties, Claudio instantly reverts to his view of Hero as a perfect, virginal, almost goddess-like potential wife. He says to Hero: “Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange” (2 1 233-4). Claudio acknowledges that Hero is now his property, and as that is an accepted custom in Elizabethan England, it is therefore deemed heroic that he gives himself to her, as well. Using the word “exchange” suggests a formal transaction of property, which is what is really transpiring between Claudio and Leonato. Claudio expresses his anticipation for the wedding, as time moves slowly “till love have all his rites” (2 1 269-70); the two meanings of rites as the actual ceremony and rights as a husband provide insight into this. He feels a necessity for their union to be official, as legally marrying Hero will give him legal ownership of her, and her property. Though he claims to love her, his affection could ultimately be seen as a want of her dowry. Claudio shows his opinions of women in his

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