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Much Ado About Nothing

The play illustrates different stereotypes and the most predominant one is the stereotype of women. In the play, Shakespeare portrays men as superior to women. Throughout the play, women are portrayed as mindless, fickle minded, easily manipulated and all the negative aspects labeled in women. This stereotyped can be justified as during Shakespeare’s time, women were treated as second class citizens and were thought to be inferior to men. Women were confined to the four walls of their house and most of the time of young women was spend on contemplating about marriage. Shakespeare illustrates the character of women very accurately in the play and all the females’ characters have different personality such that most the female stereotypes are covered. Although there are only four women characters in the play, each woman feature very heavily and voice different opinions, characteristics, values and personalities. Most of the women characters fit the typical female stereotype in Shakespearean society. The character Hero is portrayed as virtuous, mild young woman who uses her feminine wiles to get her way, and is also at the same type stereotyped as a vulnerable woman who cannot speak out her mind or defend her reputation. Hero is the lead female character in the play, but she does not have much of a backbone. She does not have many lines in the play as she is stereotyped as a gentle, virtuous woman who needs men to stand by her side. Throughout the play she always reacts to the actions and command of others. She is easily influenced by others and is rarely the agent of her own actions. Most of the time, she lets other decide for her as she is incapable of making big decisions. Hero is the perfect version of a sweet and innocent woman who cannot defend herself. She is the silent woman who does not speak up for herself. She is presented in the first scene of the play but she spoke only one line throughout the entire act. She is very shy, sensible and polite. all her character reflects the way women are supposed to act in Shakespeare’s time. Her loyalty also shifts quiet easily. This can be seen in the fact that she readily accepts Don Pedro’s apparent proposal, then she quickly changes her mind to marry Claudio. But, when Claudio humiliated her in public, she is still quite ready to marry Claudio after his repentance. All her actions show the vulnerable side of women and she is stereotyped as a woman who cannot make up her mind. When Claudio proposes to Hero, she does not take much time to think about her decision as she readily agrees to the proposal without thinking about the consequences of her decision. At the ceremony, when Claudio questioned her virtue and chastity she does not speak up to defend herself from the accusations. Claudio slanders her at the altar and screams There Leonato, take her back again. Give not this rotten orange to your friend. She’s but sign and semblance of her honor. (Shakespeare) She did not raise her voice to protect her reputation but instead innocently takes all the false accusations. Instead of defending herself against the false accusation she simply mumbles, O, God defend me! How am I beset! What kind of catechising call you this? (Shakespeare). As a young woman, hero is expected by the society to have control over her lust and it is her chastity and mild manner that give her respect in the society. At the time of Shakespeare, chastity was an important thing in a woman as it was the most desirable