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Much Ado About Nothing summary at eNotes

A Feminist Critique Note

One of the chief issues that has divided critics of all stripes in their respective readings of Much Ado About Nothing concerns Hero's acceptance of Claudio after he has spurned her on their first wedding day. Many commentators, and virtually all modern feminist critics have found it intolerable that Claudio should be reunited with Hero after believing a flimsy slander and rejecting her in public on their wedding day. On this count, we note that the extraordinarily satiric wit of Beatrice should not blind us to the fact that the gentler and more feminine Hero is fully capable of holding her own in the war of the sexes. When a disguised Don Pedro attempts to woo Hero, she matches wits with him, showing that she is by no means a vapid, powerless female. In response to the masked Don Pedro's requests that she walk with him, Hero makes it clear that she will do so only on her terms, i.e., "so you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk, and especially when I walk away" (II, i., ll. 88-90). Hero is not as pliant to male will as is often supposed; she merely appears that way when set alongside the feistier Beatrice.

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