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

    she isn't pure still a virgin but that she worthless like a piece of rotten fruit wouldn't be worth anything this because she is not a virgin. This is a huge insult because if this is true Leonato will be unable to marry her off and when he dies al

  2. "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.

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

    And the fine is - for the which I may go the finer - I will live a bachelor" (I, i, 223-4). The men fear cuckoldry so much because it shows them not as the all powerful and controlling men that they want to be and that they cannot make women totally obey them.

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

    Beatrice and Benedick are a good example as their love is unpredictable, irrational and changeable but Claudio and Hero love each other all the way through the play. "But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing but what was true and very full of proof".

  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. 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."

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

    Benedick reiterates his challenge to Claudio and leaves. Dogberry and the constables arrive with Borachio in tow. Don Pedro sees the men and recognizes them as friends of his brother whom Benedick told him had run away. Borachio reveals the entire plot against Hero, causing Claudio and Don Pedro to react with guilt and fear.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing Some Critics Have Seen Claudio as a 'problem'. How far ...

    Some critics say that this raises the question about whether Claudio truly trusts Hero. I do not think that this is an issue about trust but more about the importance of reputation. Claudio does not want to be shamed by society and feels that he is doing the right thing by showing up Hero.

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