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An exploration of the ways in which Shakespeare presents love and romance within 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

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Introduction

Approximate word count: 2000 An exploration of the ways in which Shakespeare presents love and romance within 'Much Ado About Nothing' Love and romance are two major themes within 'Much Ado About Nothing'. They are approached through different relationships that develop throughout the play. Shakespeare expresses how romance differs with different gradients of love. The two main relationships within the play are Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio, however other forms of love are raised throughout the play, as well as less intense relationships- like Margaret and Borachio's. During the sixteenth century there was much pressure on young individuals to marry- to marry was one of the key objectives in a citizens life. Love was seen in a very different light as to how we view it today, it was dramatic, instant. Claudio falls 'in love' with Hero before even talking to her, he bases his love completely on her appearance, and financial situation. In Claudio and Hero Shakespeare has presented a sixteenth century ideal of a couple. They marry for social betterment, because it is the correct path to follow, not because of true love. The couple follow societies expectation of what they should do. Hero is 'wooed' by Don Pedro- and then given to Claudio, Hero has been told how to answer the princes offer- with no decision of her own, as Beatrice implies. ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice is not easily deceived- even Leonarto doubts his own daughter, symbolising his love is not as true as Beatrice's. Here Shakespeare shows different depths of love in 'Much Ado About Nothing"- he juxtaposes different relationships each with individual gradients of love. Claudio is also quick to judge Hero, and then take revenge. He publicly shames Hero- placing emphasis on the importance of public image. Although one can claim Claudio's reasoning for humiliating Hero are fair, however to publicly humiliate someone is not the actions someone in love would take. When in love one drops their inner morals, accepting their loves wish over theirs. An example of this is when Benedick accepts Beatrice's challenge to kill Claudio. Earlier in the play Claudio and Benedick are described to be close. "He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio". His love for has been overridden with Beatrice's wish, here we acknowledge that their love is true, and pure. Benedick trusts Beatrice's judgement as well as loving her. Friendship has been defied in the face of true love, and it adds a great sense of trust and companionship to their relationship. Benedick accepts Beatrice without any consent from others... "In brief, since I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it" Benedick exclaims that no one can say anything to deter him from marrying Beatrice. ...read more.

Conclusion

By using the word "Hero" it also enhances the audiences understanding that his love is based on an image. Even when he first hears of her death he does not grieve her- not until her name is cleared, when suddenly he regains his love for her. Their love is superficial, and yet it would have been accepted within sixteenth century Britain. In conclusion I believe Shakespeare is trying to suggest that with societies pressure to marry, it is making the act false- and superficial. Beatrice and Benedick- who wait for love, will marry happily, one can imagine their relationship to be one that works- mutual love will carry them through. One can imagine Hero and Claudio's relationship to be less successful, Claudio does not have a realistic outlook on their relationship. He suggests the Don Pedro that he will accompany him to Arragon after his marriage. "I'll bring you thither, my lord," Don Pedro- who is more mature refuses his offer. "Nay, that would be as great soil in a new gloss of your marriage". Don Pedro sees that it would be neglecting the marriage- but the statement suggests Claudio does not see marriage as a commitment, he does not see that he should alter his lifestyle. He and Hero seem to be marrying because it is the correct thing to do, and romance, and true love are not involved in this. ...read more.

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