Stereotypical Views Held About Women by Elizabethan Men in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Stereotypical Views Held About Women by Elizabethan Men in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

Introduction ============

Much Ado About Nothing exemplifies a kind of deliberately puzzling title that seems to have been popular in the late 1590s. Indeed, the play is about nothing; it merely follows the relationships of Claudio and Hero, and in the end, the play culminates in the two other main characters falling in love, which, because it was an event that was quite predictable, proves to be much ado about nothing

The pronunciation of the word "nothing" would, in the late 16th Century, have been "noting," and so the title also apparently suggests a pun on the word, "noting," and
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In Elizabethan times, there were four main types of stereotypes of women - Woman was a whore or wife, woman was a Goddess, Woman was an adulterer, and woman was a shrew/scapegoat.

In the early modern period, women were considered to be chattels owned by men, either as prostitutes or wives. They were sold by other men, pimps or fathers. A husband was what a woman should hope and pray for. She could not earn a living for herself, other than as a prostitute, and therefore, needed to be kept by a man.

Many poems have been written, and still are, deifying and glorifying women. An unmarried woman must be innocent, pure and virginal to be adored by men. This sort of adoration was favoured in court, of course, headed by the virgin Queen, and has become known as courtly love. Male courtiers would write poetry in the name of their adored, whom they would never touch. Goddesses such as this were denied any sexual power with which to challenge or entice men. They were assimilated to marble statues, by being placed on high pedestals devoid of voice, emotion, independence or power. This sort of depiction of love effectively silenced women.

Virginity was a virtue and adultery an inexcusable sin, because adultery gave women sexual

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