Beatrice and Hero in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
Beatrice is a young, attractive woman, who lives to be an
unconventional member of her community. She is technically a free
woman as her father died when she was younger and she has no one to
say to her no, or that’s enough, or in general tell her what to do.
She lives her life as she wishes and is known as Lady Disdain by one
of her fellow characters, Benedick.
However, Hero is the complete opposite to her cousin Beatrice. She too
is an only child; she is rich and would be a good catch for any man of
her time. She is as decorative as a porcelain doll and never
complains. She is also loyal to her friends and family, and always
does exactly what she is told, without making a fuss.
Shakespeare uses different ways and techniques to present the two very
different characters, and personalities of Hero and Beatrice.
The addition of the characters of Beatrice and Benedick to the play
adds to the comedy of the rest of play. It is obvious to the audience
that Beatrice and Benedick are in love, and seeing their different
reactions proves comical to all. For example, like the way that the
two fight each other, and are constantly fighting a ‘merry war’
against each other.
The play is set in Messina, Sicily and was written by William
Shakespeare around the time of the 1600’s. The role of women at this
time was similar to that of Hero’s character. A woman to look pretty,
bring up the children, and to be placid and patient.
Shakespeare often refers to women at this time as wives, potential
wives, or whores. However when he writes the character of Beatrice, he
is one of the first to write about an “unconventional wife to be”, and
with a setting such as the patriarchal world of Messina, a character
so outgoing, and distinct as Beatrice is unusual and extremely
Beatrice sees herself as equal to most men. She is witty and
confident, and cannot pass through the day without making a joke or
remark about her ultimate opposition, Benedick.
‘Why he is the prince’s Jester’
However she doesn’t just make jokes about Benedick, but about the
whole of the living, breathing, male race. One of the main reasons
that she does this is because of the absence of her father. This has
opened her eyes and she is able to see the unfairness of her society.
A good example of this is the scene of Hero and Claudio’s wedding.
There is no question that Claudio is lying or may be wrong about Hero,
and even Hero’s father sides with him.
In the play the audience is also told in so many words that there has
once been some kind of relationship between Beatrice and Benedick.
This is also a motive for the two to fight like cat and dog, and to
make those bad jokes about each other, that the...