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Social Pressures In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

2545 words - 10 pages

Social Pressures in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

There has been much discussion about whether or not Shakespeare’s play
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ it is based more around social pressures
rather than true love; this essay will see to what extent the play
supports this idea.

Shakespeare wrote the play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ around 1598. It
was located in Italy, because Italy at the time was seen as a romantic
exotic country, writers during this time period were obsessed over
Italy, a lot of the plays written were set in Italy. This play has a
wide appeal to all classes which shows that it would be appropriate
for all to watch. The title ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ suggests that to
a person looking on in the play the dilemma could seem a lot more
serious to them than it would to someone who was really in the
situation. The genre that Shakespeare chose for this play is a comedy,
this play was written to entertain the audience.

In my opinion the essay question portrays the idea that the play may
be based around social pressure rather than true love. Social pressure
is when you are pressured into doing something that you do not want to
do, for example Beatrice and Benedick seem to fall in love with each
other purely because of what they have heard. Whereas true love is
when you have affection and kindness towards a person and have strong
feelings for them. For example in the play the fact that Hero and
Claudio decide to get married the day after they get engaged could
show that they are truly in love and is meant to be a whirlwind of
romance and love. Although the organisation of their wedding is quite
rushed this could show that they are eager to get married because of
their love for each other.

Women during this time were ‘convinced’ to get married, if a women was
not married she was seen as a ‘spinster’ because no matter what class
she was in a girl had to be married and have children. Maybe this was
because life expectancy was not extremely long; as a result she had to
marry at a young age. Every girl throughout this time had a ‘dowry’
which was money or property brought by a bride to her husband at
marriage. This was a sort of social pressure because marriages were
usually arranged by the parents and was not a matter to be discussed
with them you could have been expected to marry who they chose for you
even if it was not true love. Things that were considered socially
unacceptable were sleeping with someone before you were married,
having a baby with someone else and trying to pass it off as your
husbands.

At the beginning of the play the men Don Pedro, Don John, Claudio,
Benedick, Leanato and Antonio return from war, from the onset the play
focuses on Beatrice and Benedick, as the two central characters.
Beatrice is portrayed as a strong...

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