‘Men Were Deceivers Ever.’ to What Extent Can It Be Argued That Shakespeare’s Presentation of Men’s Attitudes to Women in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Allows for Comedy?

1372 Words6 Pages
‘Men were deceivers ever.’ To what extent can it be argued that Shakespeare’s presentation of men’s attitudes to women in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ allows for comedy? In Much Ado about Nothing, it can be equally argued that men’s attitudes towards women are actually used for comedy purposes, and it can be argued that their attitudes aren’t. For this argument, the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick at the start of the play can be seen as comical to the audience, as they both claim to dislike each other and take pleasure in making rude remarks to one another. On the other hand, the relationship between Hero and Claudio could be seen as quite dark to the audience, as there are accusations and trust issues between the two. The quote ‘men were deceivers ever’ comes from Act 2 Scene 3 of the play, from the song that Balthasar sings. The cultural perceptions of gender role in the Elizabethan era would be seen from a different perspective by a modern day audience. The message in the song presents ideas of women accepting men as they are and that their behaviour is not going to change which contrasts with women’s attitudes in the modern day, as women would not be expected to conform to the rules of society. This quotation can be used to describe the false accusations that Hero is cheating, which Don John claims to Claudio. In Act 3 Scene 2, Don John enters Leonato’s house and says to Claudio “I came hither to tell you, and circumstances shortened the lady is disloyal.” Don John is presented as a ‘deceiver’ in this scene by his actions, creating uproar between the couple. The ways in which Shakespeare presents men’s attitudes to women are not used for comical purposes in this scene. This scene presents women to be promiscuous and untrustworthy characters. Also, the fact that Claudio believes Don John and assumes that the woman committing adultery is Hero portrays
Open Document