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In Virginia Woolfs novel A Room of Ones Own Woolf puts forth the argument that it would have been impossible completely and entirely for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare Woolf 60 as women of that time neither had the finances nor the space where they could sit down and write effectively Along with this convincing argument Shakespeares constant portrayal of women as second class citizens lacking in personality cannot be ignored Even though Elizabethan values were rooted in a patriarchal system a woman playwright would not have portrayed the members of her own sex in such a degrading manner as Shakespeare did The depiction of women in Shakespeares comedy Much Ado About Nothing reflects a common pattern of imagery In this play Shakespeare demonstrates that women are objects that their worth lies solely in their chastity and purity and that women on the whole lack in personality He further illustrates that women who do not lack the strength of character are of no use to society until they are subdued In Shakespeares play male characters objectify women In the opening scene of Much Ado About Nothing Claudio a young lord of Florence professes that he is in love with Hero the daughter of Leonato governor of Messina The audience feels that it is Heros physical beauty as well as her innocent and quiet nature that attracts Claudio to her Before Claudio has even spoken to Hero he asks his friend Benedick Is she not a modest young lady Much Ado About Nothing 11 165 Claudio is not interested in Heros personality He further seeks his friends approval when he questions Benedick Can the world buy such a jewel 11 181 Not only does Claudio need Benedick to validate Heros worth he equates her with a precious object This transmits the patriarchal idea that women are not people but possessions to own admire and use Shakespeare places great stress on the virginity
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