Hero And Beatrice In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Through The Lenses of Modern and Classic Audiences As time passes, language changes along with societal values and peoples' views on certain topics. The experience of a modern audience watching a play from the sixteenth century significantly differs from that of an audience at the time the play was written. Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing, one of the best examples how standards change over time, talks about the position of men and women in society, dignity and marriage. Characterized by dramatic irony, the play leaves different impressions on people depending on the time period in which they live. However, the romantic interactions between men and women in Shakespeare's time, to control and conform, remain familiar. Throughout…show more content…
The contrasting values of Hero and Beatrice give the readers an idea of how Shakespeare, and the people in the Elizabethan era viewed women and their place in society. Hero exemplifies traditional woman of the Elizabethan time, while Beatrice, one of the Shakespeare’s strong female characters, depicts a modern one. Unlike Hero, a proper lady, who falls in love with Claudio, Beatrice refuses to marry, unwilling to surrender her liberty and submit to the will of a controlling husband. Not interested in love or marriage, Beatrice protests that there will not be men for her "till God make men of some other metal than earth" (Page 15). Although she appears hardened and sharp at the beginning, audience realizes that Beatrice fears committing herself and loving, as the play and her character develop. Once she overhears Hero saying that Benedick is in love with her, she opens herself to the sensitivities and weaknesses of love: "I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest" (Page 61). Beatrice discovers that love is not something that she can control as she previously thought. Shakespeare satisfies classic audience's expectations by changing Beatrice, making her a proper lady, as she finally says to Benedick: "I will require thee,/taming my wild heart to thy loving hand" (Page 37). On the other side, modern audiences dislike her change, thinking that Beatrice is perfect just the way she is: strong, independent, and ready to live without a
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