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Patriarchal Society in Much Ado About Nothing

            Throughout the play, "Much Ado About Nothing," the use of both language and interactions between the characters are combined to accurately depict Elizabethan attitudes towards women and the patriarchal society that was once seen as normal. This is shown not only through the cruel way in which Hero is treated, but also through the way that weddings were carried out.
             At the start of the ceremony Claudio asks Leonato "Will you with free and unconstrained soul Give me this maid your daughter? ". This shows how in Elizabethan times women were thought of as little more than possessions. The use of the word "give " suggests that women were objects to be traded to benefit men, as in this case Leonato is offering Claudio his daughter to create a bond between the two families. In reply to Claudio's question Leonato says "As freely, son, as God did give her me ". This could be seen as a sweet reply in which Leonato expresses his eagerness to welcome Claudio into his family, however it further represents the way women were objectified in Elizabethan times , inferring that women are objects to be handed down from man to man.
             When Leonato agrees to give Claudio his daughter, Claudio asks what he could give back that "May counterpoise such a precious gift ". Here Claudio is being sarcastic while also pretending that he still wants to marry Hero, this use of dramatic irony will only be apparent to Claudio, Don John, Don Pedro and the audience. Claudio does this to make the upcoming humiliation worse as the shock will be far greater. To this question Don Pedro answers "Nothing, unless you render her again ", here, instead of meaning that there is nothing that could match her preciousness, he is implying that there is nothing that can match her deceptiveness and treachery. This soon becomes apparent to the rest of the audience once he, Claudio and Don John begin to accuse Hero.
             Claudio then gives Hero back to Leonato and tells him not to give "this rotten orange to your friend ".

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