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Claudio and Hero are romantic lovers who 'live in a world of appearances and properties which are more important than personal relationships; Benedick and Beatrice are the true romantics. To what extent do you agree with this observation?

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Introduction

Claudio and Hero are romantic lovers who 'live in a world of appearances and properties which are more important than personal relationships; Benedick and Beatrice are the true romantics. To what extent do you agree with this observation? This essay will explore the characters and the nature of their love for each other in William Shakespeare's play "Much Ado About Nothing". The play is intriguing because it seems to be mainly concerned with fate and the theme of love conquers all. However when this play was written and based love did not come into family politics. The characters are linked together in ties between family, friends and lovers. This essay will be looking more closely at the relationships between the lovers, Hero and Claudio, Beatrice and Benedick and the effects their family and friends have on their love. The opening of the play allows us to form our first opinions about some of the main characters. The character Claudio is introduced with the word 'honour'; he is a perfect example of a 'suitable' Elizabethan man. Having just returned from war we, the audience are made aware that he has performed 'in the figure of a lamb, the feasts of a lion' implying that Claudio has exceeded all expectations of him. ...read more.

Middle

Later on when discovering Hero's death, he appears to show no remorse and is very fickle 'I do embrace your offer, and dispose for henceforth of poor Claudio', as he agrees to Leonato he will marry Hero's 'cousin'. This increases our condemnation of Claudio from a modern audience's point of view. After Hero's callous treatment from Claudio both modern and Elizabethan audiences take pity on Hero. However modern audiences may also perceive Hero as being weak when discovering she is still willing to marry Claudio after the maliciously unacceptable way in which he treated her. It is highly doubtful that Hero could ever feel that much affection towards Claudio after she knows the hurtful way in which he once treated her. This therefore suggests that their relationship is not built on love, but instead the conventional relationship of the time. In comparison, Benedick and Beatrice's love is not built around these conventions and expectations, and is a rare example of a relationship of true love at the time. Beatrice is a complete contrast to her calm and demure cousin Hero, who only speaks to avoid being rude or when she has something to say compared to Beatrice who is outspoken, has a lot to say and is not afraid to say it, making her quite an unconventional character for her time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the relationships between Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Benedick are different in their values and what they are based upon one being conventional and more materialistic the other being based around true discovered love, it could be argued that they were initiated in similar circumstances, both by the work of Don Pedro who acted as a 'go-between' throughout the play. Beatrice and Benedick are tricked into thinking the other is deeply in love with them by Don Pedro. However unlike the proposed union of two people who don't know each other, like Hero and Claudio, the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick is encouraged by a past relationship and therefore is done so in a genial manor. In turn their love for each other is also built on enjoyment of each others qualities. Shakespeare deliberately chose two pairs of lovers that contrast so that we can distinguish genuine love from superficial love. Shakespeare shows the insincerity of Claudio's approach to love and the subsequent flawed relationship between him and Hero. In comparison Beatrice and Benedick's relationship is a lot more authentic, the relationship between the two is based on friendship and they therefore value each other as humans and not just as objects. ...read more.

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