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Discuss Shakespeare's treatment of courtship and marriage in "Much Ado About Nothing". In your essay you should refer to modern interpretations of the play and consider the context in which they were produced as well as the context of the original play.

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Introduction

Discuss Shakespeare's treatment of courtship and marriage in "Much Ado About Nothing". In your essay you should refer to modern interpretations of the play and consider the context in which they were produced as well as the context of the original play. In 'Much Ado About Nothing' there are two love interests on which the play is mainly focused. The courtship between the two couples Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio gives the audience a glance at two completely different forms of love. The relationship between the characters Claudio and Hero is one which is very traditional and a very safe way of communicating their feelings to one another. Shakespeare borrowed the story of Hero and Claudio from a man called Matteo Bandello, this shows that this may not be his own view of how love should be expressed. He did however invent the story of Benedick and Beatrice; this may mean that he believes that the way in which love is expressed should be much more spontaneous and heart-felt. ...read more.

Middle

however his love for her is very strong but it seems that he is able to feel the way he wishes as if he could turn his emotions on and off as he explains that he could leave his love if he were to be wanted in battle. Claudio, although he loves Hero intensely, he relies heavily on others to express his feelings to her. This relationship is has true love involved but seems very structured and doesn't quite look like they feel it. Claudio explains that he will never stop loving Hero 'if my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise'; this is ironic because he fell in love so quickly and proves himself wrong as he very quickly falls out of love when she is accused of being unfaithful. The language used to describe the courtship between these two couples show two very different approaches to this act of love. The language between Hero and Claudio is extremely romantic 'in mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that I ever looked on' but the language used by Benedick and Beatrice is slightly degrading towards each other 'if ...read more.

Conclusion

feel, he does not look deeply into the scenario as he wants Beatrice to reciprocate his feelings for her that he had not yet ever even considered expressing. In act 3 scene 1 we see Beatrice in an environment in which she feels comfortable as she is with only women, this leads to her feeling she can believe Hero and Ursula when they gull her into admitting her feelings for Benedick ' to bind our love up in a holy band'. These two scenes change both Beatrice and Benedick's views on love and marriage as both had previously sworn they would never marry, but both admit now that they could see each other marrying. In Shakespeare's time plays would have been acted by a male-only cast, this meant that the actors would have had to be able to portray the feminism of the women as best they could by using body language. The relationship between Claudio and Hero was one which the Shakespearean audience would have been a custom to and would have expected. The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice would have come as a slight surprise to the people living in ...read more.

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Response to the question

This answer focuses extremely well on the proposed question about how Shakespeare presents the relationships between the two pairs of lovers in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The answer is consistent, thorough and shows a profound understanding of the play and ...

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Response to the question

This answer focuses extremely well on the proposed question about how Shakespeare presents the relationships between the two pairs of lovers in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The answer is consistent, thorough and shows a profound understanding of the play and how it came about, appreciating contextual factors that influenced the writing and the controversy that surrounded the play, as well as how the play is interpreted by an audience of today. The last two features of this essay are surplus, but they almost always appear in the higher band answers. Where this candidate fell down is something seemingly trivial, but imperative, and that is in their use of quotes. So many opportunities to provide quotes to back up analytical points are missed, and this is what lowered their grade.

Level of analysis

The candidate here shows the ability to analyse at a strong A grade for GCSE, but there is limited explicit evidence from the actual source text to fortify the answer. The analysis is profound, and delves deep into the portrayal of courtship and marriage in Shakespeare's most sardonic comedy, with the candidate concerning themselves with a range of literary devices and plot themes. And there is no doubt that the candidate has an in-depth knowledge of the play and even the writing of it, but the exam criteria requires candidates to make plenty of quotes - there are some but these are not in sufficient quantity - candidates should be looking to back up all (or almost all) their points with a quote sourced from the text they are analysing, to show the examiner an explicit control of analytical evidencing and a knowledge of the play.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication shown by this candidate is very good. There is a sound handling of the English language and there are no malapropisms. Where this candidate could improve is by adhering to the standards of quoting. When quoting from a novel, play, poem, or any other written/spoken source, candidates much use speech marks ("") and not inverted commas (''). Inverted commas must be placed around titles of published works such as the title of the play and any other source that may be mentioned within the answer.


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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 06/04/2012

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