One example of gender inequality is the way in which women are portrayed in society. Women are told to look and act feminine especially around suitors. One example of this is how Beatrice is an outcast because she defies this role. She does not believe she should live only to marry and reproduce.
She wants to marry someone she loves and not someone she loathes: “add a quote”. Another example in which the role of women in society is shown is when Hero is told to act politely if the prince asks her to marry him. Although she is used to acting this way, it is appalling that she is expected to do so in the first place.A central theme in the play is a women’s virginal chastity and that it is of utmost importance that she should cherish it until married. Women were expected to be obedient and subordinate to men, chaste, virtues and a good wife and mother. The play focusses much on the importance of an honorable and virginal bride, rather than true love and happiness. On example of how women are more suspicious than men in the form of virginal chastity is how easily Don John was able to convince Claudio and Don Pedro that Hero was having an affair.
This is shown on page 97 when Don John says that a lady is unchaste and Claudio immediately guess’ Hero. Don John says, “I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shortened, for she has too long a-talking of, the lady disloyal” and Claudio later says, “who Hero?”( add citation ). This quote shows how women are more suspicious because nobody cared about the man that might have been with Hero just that she was with him. Another example of this is when hero is publicly shamed. Hero is publicly shamed because Claudio and the prince believe she is having an affair when in reality Don John tricked them into believing she is. Claudio says, “Hero itself can blot out Hero’s virtue. What man was he talked with you yesternight out at your window betwixt twelve and one? Now I you are a maid answer to this.
” and hero responds, “I talked with no man at that hour” and Leonato eventually jumps in and says, “death is the fairest cover for her shame”(citation). This is an example of women being more suspicious when it comes to chastity because her father would rather disown her than deal with the shame of having an unchaste daughter.