Audience Reactionsd and Attitudes to Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Essay by jimbarson February 2004

download word file, 10 pages 4.3

Downloaded 37 times

Audience Reactions and Attitudes to Much Ado About Nothing

In "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...