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Much Ado About Nothing Gender Roles Essay

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Extracurricular Reading II Much Ado About Nothing analyzes how traditional gender roles shape behavior and actions in society. Many of the characters in the play, such as Benedick and Beatrice, actively attempt to defy the expectations placed upon them by virtue of their sex, while others nearly perfectly match the stereotypes- Hero and Claudio being prime examples. Benedick and Beatrice represent defiance of the norm- Beatrice repeatedly claims that she will avoid marriage at all costs, and Benedick doesn’t seem any more likely to place himself in a position to be cuckolded. The two of them engage in several bouts of cleverly written banter, each blow professing the gospel of celibacy. In this, if nothing else, they are in agreement- Benedick…show more content…
It is an intrinsic battle that takes place over the course of the play, but comes to a head during the concluding moments, in which Claudio is deceived by his apprehensions of marriage into rejecting Hero, showing that perhaps he prides his honor above the love he so freely professes. Hero is placed in the uncomfortable position of being rejected by nearly everybody she cares for, necessitating that she fake her demise and be reborn as a new woman, resurrected from the grave and cleansed of the impurities she was accused of. Benedick and Beatrice have both pledged never to find love, and therefore must remove the guises behind which they labor- for indeed, both characters desire love, but hide their wish for fear of being rejected. In each instance, past beliefs must be discarded in the name of securing future happiness, which causes consternation in each individual. In the case of Benedick, he is forced to challenge his best friend to a duel in order to win the hand of his lover- an appendage of the central conflict, which is the inner battle between love and personal reservations which takes precedence over life and death (at least for the Christ-figure maiden
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