Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Much Ado About Nothing '

1812 Words 8 Pages
Shakespeare’s comedies are famously known to defy the norms of

Elizabethan society seen through his interpretation of gender roles to include

the behaviour of men and women, language and sexuality. It is important to

note that during Shakespeare’s times the insight into the roles of men and

women were becoming more and more challenging especially by the time

Queen Elizabeth the first became monarch. Some might argue that the

portrayal of prominent female roles, in Shakespeare’s comedies, to subvert

the norm might be the result of the influence that Elizabeth the first had due to

her own personality challenging and going against gender viewpoints of the

times. However, as much as Shakespeare intendeds his female characters

subverting the traditional role of Elizabethan women in his comedies, it is

interesting to note that in ‘Much ado About Nothing’ the protagonist Beatrice

somehow returns to the conservative traditional role of women, which might

serve as a comedic element in itself.

From the very outset the audience will be intrigued with the character of

Beatrice who immediately ‘challenges the social orthodoxy of their times’ as

stated by Emma Smith. While Leonato speaks with the Messenger Beatrice

interrupts their conversation, which reveals her active role in the play by the

interruption of a male conversation, an attitude considered gravely unsuitable

during Elizabethan times. When Beatrice asks ‘I pray you, is Signior…

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