Female Characters in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing Cover Image

Karakteri ženskih likova u Šekspirovoj komediji Mnogo vike ni za što
Female Characters in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing

Author(s): Amina Arnautović
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Univerzitet u Sarajevu
Keywords: female characters; the question of identity; the role of women in the Elizabethan society; ‘feminine discourse’; ‘feminist discourse’

Summary/Abstract: The following paper is a literary analysis of the female characters in Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing”, in which the author is primarily concerned with questions of identity and the social roles of men and women during the Elizabethan era (1558 1603), the age when the paternalistic control and ‘silencing’ of female characters became a norm. Through the two main female characters, Hero and Beatrice, this paper analyses two conflicting discourses at work in the construction of the text of Shakespeare’s play. The ‘discourse of femininity’ as the discourse describing qualities that are considered to be typical of women in the Elizabethan patriarchal society, the one which is used in the creation of Hero, is compared and contrasted with ‘the discourse of feminism’, which is represented by the character of Beatrice and within which the notion of ‘the female self’ and the focus on the difference of female subjectivity is highly important. Through the analysis of the two female characters this paper will illustrate how one discourse gave rise to the other discourse, which then conflicted with the first one and forced it to change in structure and content, thus preparing the ground for, and determining the direction of long-term social changes.

  • Issue Year: LII/2011
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 55-78
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Bosnian