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Audience Reactionsd And Attitudes To Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

2435 words - 10 pages

Audience Reactions and Attitudes to Much Ado About NothingIn "Much Ado About Nothing" Shakespeare captures many of the social standards in Elizabethan society whether they are fair or not. In Act 2 Scene 2 of the play, Don John plots to frame Hero and make it look like she has been unfaithful to her fiancée the night before they are due to marry. This then sparks outrage from the male characters, which in turn shows a male bias in their society. The way Hero's father takes a mans word over hers shows how strong trust and respect was for men compared to that shown towards women.Even though this play was written in a time when England was ruled by a woman (Queen Elizabeth) society was still dominated by men. Even Queen Elizabeth said she had the stomach of a man, implying that men are tougher than women purely because they are of a different gender. This left women with two roles in society; they were seen as prostitutes to be bought or wives to be owned. On top of this, women were also used as scapegoats for the faults of the world, this idea spawns from the beginning of time and Eve eating the apple and having mankind banished from the garden of Eden. This attitude is similar to the opinion of the Nazis towards the Jews, blaming the Jews for all the bad and evil in the world.At the start of act 4 scene 1, the arranged marriage between Claudio and Hero is about to take place, Claudio, Don Pedro and Don Pedro think that Hero has been unfaithful and is no longer a virgin. However, they have been misled and the other characters are not yet aware of their feelings. As Claudio turns down Hero at the altar and lets everyone know, men's attitudes towards women become clear.The first person to speak on the subject is Claudio, he turns to Leonato and says "Give me this maid your Daughter?" He is making a statement because as far as he knows Hero is not a "Maid" (virgin), he is challenging Leonato because he has been given Hero like a gift but she is not what he expected. This quote is also interesting because is shows us that women are seen as possessions of their fathers. Claudio has to ask for permission from her father to "give" Hero to him, almost like a present. This would spark a reaction with a modern day audience as women are now seen as equals and independent in society. However, in Elizabethan times this is what they were used to so they would probably not give it a second thought. Claudio then refers to Hero as "a rich and precious gift," this confirms what I have already said that women were seen as possessions to be given to people. Claudio then goes on to say, "Give not this rotten orange to your friend." He is using the orange as a metaphor for Hero, a rotten orange can appear fine until you peel it or taste it and see what is inside. He is saying that Hero appeared to be an innocent virgin but now he has seen that maybe that isn't true. He is saying she is "spoilt goods." However, this quote also shows us that Claudio is putting part...

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