• 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...


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.


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.


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

    All the eavesdropping shows and displays the question, 'can anyone be trusted in Messina?' Some of the deceptions are malevolent, others are kind. The duping of Claudio and Don Pedro results in Hero's disgrace, while the ruse of her death prepares the way for her redemption and reconciliation with Claudio.

  2. "Much Ado About Nothing" in fact has a great deal to say about love ...

    "You have no intent to turn husband, have you" (1:1:172-173), Benedick asks Claudio. He doesn't want him to get married; neither does he want to get married himself. Similarly Beatrice's hostility to marriage is shown when she says "Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am upon my knees every morning and evening" (2:1:24-26).

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

    dies this makes him seem selfish as it shows he doesn't care for Hero he just wants the money. During Act 2 scene 1 Don John and Barachio have tricked Claudio into thinking Don Pedro has wooed Hero for himself.

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

    is constant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love" (35). It is ironic that it was Claudio that said this earlier in the play and now it has proven true with Benedick rather than with Don Pedro whom he had thought it true earlier.

  1. Explore Shakespeare presentation of women in the play "Much Ado About Nothing".

    This view that Claudio's revenge is to do with honour and reputation results in Claudio wanting to restore his reputation and honour; it is Claudio that creates this problem that 21st audiences share on the treatment of women. Claudio has accepted what Don Jon has shown Claudio, in a manner

  2. What is striking about Much Ado About Nothing is that it is written largely ...

    Friar Francis tells them that he noted Hero when she was accused and that he thinks she is innocent. Hero wakes up and informs her father that she has no idea what man Claudio was talking about. Leonato swears revenge if she is telling the truth.

  1. "Much ado about nothing" - What does a study of Claudio's use of language ...

    isn't love but just lust and that the only reason he likes her is that he has just come back from war and he is confused. This makes the audience feel sorry for Hero. He also wants her money which is shown in line 220 where he asks if Leonato has an heir.

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

    "Hath Leonato any son, my lord!" In Elizabethan times it was important to ask this because it was a financal transaction, as a romantic union. Claudio and Hero stay in love through out the play being constant, and sincere whereas other people's love is irrational and changable.

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