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Compare and contrast the way that Shakespeare presents love through the relationships of Benedick and Beatrice and Hero and Claudio

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Compare and contrast the way that Shakespeare presents love through the relationships of Benedick and Beatrice and Hero and Claudio. Love is the main theme in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The main relationships which develop in the play are between the characters of Benedick and Beatrice and also Hero and Claudio. However there are also other characters that present the theme of love throughout the play. For example, Don Pedro is seen as a romantic as he speaks in verse and also offers to 'woo' Hero for Claudio at the ball. The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice and Hero and Claudio are created differently. At the beginning, Shakespeare establishes Beatrice and Benedick as a potential couple, although there is friendly banter between them. Beatrice's first words imply the characters thoughts on Benedick. She asks about Benedick before anything else which shows how she cares for him. Beatrice asks if: 'Signor Mountanto returned from the wars?' The character of Benedick supports this suggestion that there may be a relationship between him and Beatrice, at this early point in the play, by saying that he thinks Beatrice is more beautiful than Hero. Benedick mentions that Beatrice causes men to have a 'scratched face' which infers that he is insulting Beatrice, but could also mean that her insults toward him actually hurt him emotionally, as his feelings are what is underneath the skin when it is scratched away. ...read more.


The audience can see this because of the suggestions from the beginning, with the two characters' indults towards each other. Shakespeare uses this dramatic irony to add comedy to the play through this character as Benedick says that men, such as Claudio, become a mockery of themselves by falling in love. This is because they used it to ridicule others who fell in love. Benedick is objecting to Claudio to falling in love with Hero but he will in fact become 'the argument of his own scorn' by falling in love with Beatrice. Shakespeare also uses metaphors to portray the theme of love. When Beatrice is tricked into believing that Benedick loves her she develops a cold. She says that she is 'exceeding ill'. This is a reference to love as a sickness as she now begins to love Benedick. Shakespeare uses this metaphor with reference to the love between Beatrice and Benedick to continue their comic value to the play. The way they are tricked into loving each other is amusing for the audience. Beatrice can not understand why she loves Benedick and she thinks that she does not really love him but she is in fact ill. Benedick was also told that Beatrice was 'almost sick' for him and Beatrice was told that Benedick was 'well-nigh dead' for her. ...read more.


The two relationships follow different narratives to show how differently they have been formed and how they are based on separate ideas and beliefs. Benedick and Beatrice's relationship is formed through trickery whereas Claudio and Hero's relationship involved deception and fickleness formed through appearances. Beatrice and Benedick cannot make their love public because of Claudio's shaming of Hero. Shakespeare uses this sub-plot to affect the main plot. Shakespeare starts this romantic comedy with reference to war rather that the traditional love story. This can be relevant to the 'merry war' between Beatrice and Benedick with their friendly banter. Also it allows the men to be seen as heroes and warriors. The messenger refers to Claudio as 'the right noble Claudio' saying that he is high up in society and his appearance in social concept is very appealing to a character such as Hero. This is another suggestion of the fickleness of love. Claudio is concerned about his appearance if he married someone who has betrayed them and when he agrees to marry Hero's cousin he does so because he knows she looks like Hero. 'Much Ado About Nothing' uses mainly the relationships between Claudio and Hero and Benedick and Beatrice to show the capital theme of love. The two relationships contrast to portray the fickleness and deception found in romance. Shakespeare uses the characters to show how different people handle and go about love. WORD COUNT: 2,284 ...read more.

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