• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Shakespeare’s Presentation of Men in Much Ado About Nothing

Extracts from this document...


Discuss Shakespeare's Presentation of Men in Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare presents the men in many different ways and as the play unveils itself his portrayal of them changes. At the time of writing the play, men were considered to be the jokers, soldiers and respected people of the era and we see these characteristics portrayed in characters such as, Claudio, Benedick and Leonato. There was a definite hierarchy where the men were ranked and their mistresses or wives were ranked by the ranking of their father or husband. The men had the power to do everything and it all rested on their ranking in society which rested on their wealth. Shakespeare portrays the men as loyal to their friends but only to their own close friendship groups rather than to their lesser friends. We see a change in the characters as the play unfolds which shows us another side of their character. This different perspective of the characters takes time to come through due to the complexity of the men. Benedick is very versatile as we find out later on in the play, due to the way that by the end of the play Shakespeare has portrayed his character inside out. At first although we are given to understand that, "He hath done good service" in the wars, but shortly after his arrival we see his comical side emerge, "You always end with a jade's trick." Beatrice and Benedick jest with each other and the undertones are usually to do with how they can, "love none." ...read more.


(105) This is due to the difference in their ages, with Claudio being the younger, so it is right that he shows respect. Shakespeare uses these two characters to show the hierarchy in men depends on age also. Claudio didn't stop at offending Hero as she is a young women but no one felt sure enough of themselves to insult Leonato directly, "Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?" he moans.(105) Leonato looks for support against the raging Claudio by going to the well respected bachelor Prince, Don Pedro, "Sweet Prince, why speak not you?" (103) This shows that Leonato wanted the marriage to go ahead with Claudio but that he couldn't understand his sudden change of heart. He is looking to the Prince to stop Claudio because he obviously believes that he has some control over Claudio that he hasn't got. This could be paralleled to a child asking a teacher to get his toy back from a bigger boy because he assumes that the bigger child will listen to the teacher more than he would to him. Don Pedro is a bit like Claudio's big brother in the sense that Claudio looks up to him and admires him. There is a mutual respect for each other, probably due to the feats that Don Pedro has done and, the promise that Don Pedro can see in Claudio. We know that Don Pedro is a good fighter because we hear of his great victory at the start of the play, "A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers." ...read more.


(17) He feels that he must stay true to his feelings if they are true, because he feels that, "God forbid my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise." (13) He does not want to offend the powerful Leonato who we know has, "Ability in means, and choice of friends." (111) We can see that Leonato's money makes him powerful but also his friends. Shakespeare is trying to show that allegiance is important and that men make money but money is men. In general all of the men have similar traits depending on their rank in society and their age. I can predict that Claudio will be a wise old man similar to Leonato in rank, when he gets to his age because Don Pedro thinks that "He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age," (3) already, which shows that he has abundant potential. We can see from Shakespeare's portrayal of Benedick and Don Pedro that it would be ideal for them both to have wives as with all men. There are also difference in the way the two men go about this fact, Benedick pretends that he doesn't want a wife and Don Pedro doesn't mention it very much. The main characteristics in the men that Shakespeare portrays are, wit, kindness, affection and allegiance. In the men in general Shakespeare shows that there is a hierarchy and using Don John that there are good men and bad men with the good men in control, as they have the power to forgive as Don John has been, "Reconciled to the Prince." (9) ?? ?? ?? ?? Luke Roberts 12SS 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Much Ado About Nothing section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Much Ado About Nothing essays

  1. Act 4 Scene 1 is often considered a key scene in 'Much Ado About ...

    Conflict is relied on in this scene, which is vital for successful theatre, so that the audience can engage on the different characters. Trickery, which has been fun, turns sour and resentful. Language is extreme and the theme of love is turned upside down.

  2. Discuss how Shakespeare creates the character of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing

    Before the trick is played he yet again condemns his cynicism for love. Shakespeare heightens the impact here with the use of a romantic love song. After the song is played, Benedicks first comment it "he had been a dog that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him".

  1. Discuss the presentation of the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare's 'Much Ado ...

    They are fooled into thinking that each loves the other, and they actually do fall in love as a result. 'Much Ado About Nothing' shows that deceit is not initially evil, but it is something that can be used for either good or bad reasons.

  2. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Claudio and the intentions behind the main plot in Much ...

    Claudio's polysemic character can be interpreted on many different levels. He is the main character of the main plot, in which his life in Messina is focussed upon, and his relationships and love life in much greater detail, and therefore would be considered the 'hero' of the play.

  1. How Shakespeare portrays Hero and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

    As she is unable to defend herself, she faints powerlessly and later on in the same scene when she regains consciousness again she is still unable to make any decisions towards her fate let alone clear her sins, this is partly due to the fact that she can have absolutely

  2. Consider how Shakespeare presents the character of Claudio and how interpretations of his character ...

    As the act goes on, and Claudio beings to speak, we see he expresses interest in love but as he does so he seems very na�ve. Here we can see the two interpretations mentioned in the introduction, the immediate interest in love, which could be interpreted as desperation or a genuine interest in Hero.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of Gender Issues in "Much Ado About Nothing"

    However, you could argue that this was simply how things were done at that time and that Hero does not invite Claudio to talk to her so she is also to blame to a certain extent. Even though Claudio does not really mention what he finds attractive in a woman,

  2. How effectively does Shakespeare present the relationship between men and women in 'Much AdoAbout ...

    This is displayed through the relationship of Benedick and Beatrice. An example of this is illustrated in Act 1 Scene 1 where Beatrice and Benedick are arguing. Beatrice would rather hear her "....dog barks at a cow than a man swear..."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work