Gender 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, because these qualities are evident from the time of birth. Opinions are commonly formed about people based off of two specific characteristics-- their gender and their socioeconomic status. These elements also frequently serve as a basis for how to interact with other people. These elements turn into an identity, such as being a middle class male, which shape the status of a person in society. This form of identity is not only prevalent in real life, but also in literature, films, and theatre. Shakespeare, in his play Much Ado About Nothing, highlights the way both gender identity and socioeconomic…show more content…
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” and ultimately decide she is no longer worthy of his love (1:1:183-184). 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 about the affair and continue with the marriage. Not only does gender impact the actions of and reactions to characters in the play, but socioeconomic status does as well. Two of the characters in Much Ado About Nothing that highlight the relationship between socioeconomic identity and the way they are treated are Friar Francis and Dogberry. Both of the men play a major role in the way the events of the play unfold, but neither receives much recognition for their impact, which can be attributed to their lack of
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