Women Are Submissive, And Men Are Superior Essay

1400 Words Oct 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
Women are submissive, and men are superior – that is the traditional assumption made of gender roles throughout the Elizabethan era. In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing the theme of traditional gender roles and gender equality run throughout the play, contradicting one another. According to Professor Linda Bamber, “whenever Shakespeare’s comedies challenge the limits to sexual equality, they end by strenuously reaffirming those limits.” In this paper, I will argue that her statement is true, whereby Shakespeare challenges gender roles and stereotypes, but concludes the play by portraying these gendered stereotypes in his characters and their language. This is revealed through the characters Hero, Claudio, Beatrice and Benedick, both as individual characters and as romantic couples.
Beatrice’s character is the most evident illustration where Shakespeare challenges the limits to sexual equality. Beatrice is a witty, outspoken, playful and noble character. However, her views on matters of the heart do not follow that of traditional attitudes. Beatrice retorts “Just, if He send me no husband, for the which blessing I am at Him upon my knees every morning and evening.” (2.1.27-29) This suggests that Beatrice is thanking God for not having a husband, as she refers to God as “he” and “him.” She refutes the idea of marriage, and is content with being an independent female. However, her statement both challenges and encourages stereotypical gender roles. She refers to the action…

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