• 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 Claudio and the intentions behind the main plot in Much Ado About Nothing

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE English Coursework Let every eye negotiate for itself And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Claudio and the intentions behind the main plot in Much Ado About Nothing "Let every eye negotiate for itself And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch" Claudio, Act II, i, lines 134-5 In William Shakespeare's romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, the character Claudio is a young duke from Florence, commended for his proficiency in battle with Don Pedro's army, and a man quick to choose his love; his first line in the play, which happens to be to Benedick, is about his new love. Whilst he falls for Leonato's daughter Hero, we see his poor qualities flourish - he is na�ve, even for his age, rash and gullible, but the nearest parallel to his friend, Benedick there is in the play. Compared, Claudio seems extremely similar, yet without Benedick's superior maturity or academic qualities. Claudio occasionally finds himself out of place, (for instance, in act I, scene I, he waits from line 71 to 118 to speak, as the most upper class members of society there meet and greet each other) as he might do with many high ranking and gifted men along side him, especially in the town of Messina where language is seemingly used as a force, or a weapon, and not just for simplistic communication. ...read more.

Middle

We see that he is in the role of the typical hero - the Shakespearian lover, the warrior commended for bravery in battle and a young, noble man, and so we assume that we can take him at face value. Upon close inspection however, we can see hints that Claudio is much darker than he shows on the outside - he is manipulative, scheming and dominative. Claudio also symbolises the neat, conventional male that takes up the bulk space in the phallocentric hierarchy of Messina. He makes sure he conforms to what everyone else does, even these actions may conflict with his own beliefs, principles or moral high points. For instance, he plays along with the joke played upon Benedick - "Oh aye, stalk on, stalk on, the fowl sits." (Line 83, II, iii), but is it to help lure Benedick into realising his love for Beatrice, or to simply re-iterate his position as a fun loving, joking guy. If his own experience in love (or lack of it) may give any clues, it would be that he is simply using the situation. History suggests that he will view love being set into motion so he can gain from the experience and use it himself, and to confirm his preferred image of the laid-back, prankster, but also giving yet more force to the concept that he's far more sinister than first looked upon. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare's intentions for the play are not all on the surface. In Much Ado About Nothing, there are several hidden meanings. Firstly, the idea of a 'marriage de covenance'; one where social standing and economic stability were a great deal more important than actual emotions and romanticism. Claudio would greatly embrace this idea, as he would rather accept formal marriage than run the emotional risks of romantic wooing. He is inexperienced in love, and would play safe to get Hero than gaining a possibly better relationship, but having the chance to ruin his chances. Secondly, there are numerous hints pointing towards the play being a more detailed version of a common folk tale. In Shakespearian times, these were common, elaborate, hyperbolic, and had a mix of comic and tragic themes. They also generally had story lines to do with couples being separated by a rival, who would tell one partner that the other was being unfaithful whilst they were remaining faithful. Shakespeare didn't just have allusions to them in Much Ado About Nothing - The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello and The Winter's Tale all insinuate that Shakespeare has suggested that they are all based upon this simple folk tale construction technique. ...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. Much Ado about Nothing - Choose one of the main characters and examine what ...

    From the minute they see each other they supposedly fall in love. I am not so sure that this is the fact. Claudio asks Leonato 'hath Leonato any son my lord?' This is a probing question because if he has not then Hero will inherit all of Leonato's money and land making her a very interesting prospect for marriage.

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

    Marriage was seen as a way for a family to reinforce or increase its status in society; women were simply matched with a suitable man by their father as soon as possible because they were seen as a burden on the household.

  1. Compare Shakespeare's Presentation of the Contrasting Relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and ...

    Benedick is concerned for Beatrice and is willing to change himself. The audience observe Benedick change physically in his efforts to impress Beatrice and seem more attractive, "Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of his beard".

  2. Yet sinned i not but in mistaking. To what extent do you agree that ...

    Don John must be very trusting as even Don Pedro believes him. "The prince woos for himself, friendship is constant in all other things save in the office and affairs of love." This quote shows that Claudio trusts Don Pedro in everything execpt women and Don John is very convincing

  1. An exploration of how Shakespeare presents Messina society and its failings in Much Ado ...

    Ursula and Hero begin speaking in blank verse when they are trying to deceive Beatrice into falling in love with Benedick. They are messing with the course of love as Hero says "of this matter is little cupid's crafty arrow made."

  2. To What Extent is Much Ado About Nothing a Play about Social Pressures Rather ...

    Although the organisation of their wedding is quite rushed this could show that they are eager to get married because of their love for each other. Women during this time were 'convinced' to get married, if a women was not married she was seen as a 'spinster' because no matter

  1. How does Shakespeare reveal Claudio's character to the audience through his use of language ...

    Claudio also appears to be selfish as he asks Don Pedro 'Hath Leonato any sons my lord?' Claudio wants to know if Leonato has any sons because if he doesn't then if and when Claudio marries Hero he will be the one to inherit all of Leonato's things when he

  2. Describe and discuss Shakespeare's presentation of the code of values in Messina

    This scene echoes the trick played upon Beatrice and Benedick, but with the opposite effect. Instead of making two people fall in love, it causes Claudio to abandon Hero. Finally, at the end of the play, overhearing restores order. The men of the Watch, hearing Borachio brag about his crime to Conrad, arrest him and bring him to justice.

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