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The Application of Gender Roles Within “much Ado About Nothing” and “the Taming of the Shrew”

Fundamentals of Physics, II (PHYS 201) The course begins with a discussion of electricity. The concept of charge is introduced, and the properties of electrical forces are compared with those of other familiar forces, such as gravitation. Coulomb’s Law, along with the principle of superposition, allows for the calculation of electrostatic forces from a given charge distribution. Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: open.yale.edu This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

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The Application of Gender Roles within “Much Ado About Nothing” and

“The Taming of the Shrew”

In his works William Shakespeare exploits many different themes to uncover the message of the works, impress reader and make a narration more vivid and colorful, sophisticated and interesting. The treatment of gender roles plays an important role in the plays under analysis being an integral part of plot and characters development. In Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare attempts to portray a more positive and accepting view of how women should be regarded and treated.

Shakespeare constructs gender role according to characters functions in the play. “In Much Ado About Nothing”, most of the male characters is depicted as brave soldiers. Leonato, Claudio and Benedick. They are courageous and clever men. For all their concentration on mundane details, Shakespeare’s novels depicts survival, heroic adventures of social mobility in which individuals single-handedly confront and conquer a host of adverse circumstances. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, the major characters Petruccio and Lucentio are joined by friendship. Despite the apparent crudity of their narratives, Shakespeare’s novels are animated by a quality more usually identified with a more self-consciously sophisticated form of gender relations. In both plays, women characters are depicted loving and sympathetic, nevertheless very proud and ambitious.

In spite historical epoch and predetermined gender roles of woman as subordinate, Shakespeare underlines that gender role between women and men are not so important as considered to be.

“Now Kate, I am a husband for your turn,

For by this light, whereby I see thy beauty

Thy beauty that doth make me like thee well” (The Taming of the Shrew, p.272).


In contrast to men, the function of women is to be a good wife and mother. In “Much ado about nothing” he writes that: “They say the lady is fair. ‘Tis a truth, I can bear them witness. And virtuous’tis so, I cannot reprove it. And wise, but for loving me. By my troth, it is no addition to her witnor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her” (Much ado about nothing, p.204).

Gender roles are stable in the plays in spite of the changes in appearance of the characters. From the very beginning in “The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare portrays changes in the statuses of the hero. Sly is dressed as a lord, and a pageboy dressed in women’s clothing: “Am I a lord and have I such a lady? Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now? I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak”. (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, Scene 2, lines 28-30). In the other play, Claudio and Hero decide to play a game, and force Beatrice and Benedick to fall in love. Their changes in appearance are successful helping Beatrice and Benedick to stop arguing. In “Much ado about nothing” the main hero says “What should I do with himdress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him” (Much ado

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