Gender And Socioeconomic Identity In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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In modern society, humans have come to judge each other off of superficial characteristics. These superficial characteristics are often a result of facticity, or characteristics people are unable to change about themselves, or at least not easily, these qualities are present at the time of birth. Opinions are commonly formed about people based off of their gender and socioeconomic status. These elements also frequently serve as a basis for how to interact with other people. The idea of identity, such as being a middle class male, shaping the status of a person in society is not only prevalent in reality, but also in literature, films, and theatre. Shakespeare, in his play Much Ado About Nothing, highlights the way both gender identity and socioeconomic identity shape the way people act and the way others interact with them. As suggested in Joost Daalder’s commentary on the play, “The Pre-History of Beatrice and Benedict”, there are…show more content…
As the story progresses, Hero is accused of sleeping with another man. When Claudio learns that his wife-to-be is unloyal, his first instinct is to publicly reject her at their wedding. He continues through with this plan, saying “Not to be married, not to knit my soul to an approved wanton” (125). Given his male identity, he has the power to react in this way. It was not looked down upon for him to rescind his love so quickly from a woman who he originally believed to be “the sweetest lady that ever [Claudio] looked on” (17). Claudio can easily rid his mind and heart of a woman who is unloyal in order to find himself a new, more worthy companion. This only works, however, because he is a male. If the same had happened to Hero, she would have been expected, as a result of the gender norms created by society, to remain quiet and continue with the

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