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How does Shakespeare present the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. How might a modern audience respond to the presentation of these relationships?

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Introduction

Stacey Carlyle AS Coursework 27/02/2003 Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare How does Shakespeare present the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. How might a modern audience respond to the presentation of these relationships? 'Much Ado About Nothing' was first published in 1600, the Elizabethan era. The audience of 1600 would have had different interpretations of the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Hero and Claudio from what we have in the modern day. Benedick and Beatrice are used by the play write to create a sub plot. The audience can clearly see that the main and desired love is that of Claudio and Hero. Beatrice and Benedick have been acquainted for a great length of time, and Beatrice swears that she will never be married, likewise Benedick clearly states that he will never fall in love the way Claudio did. "Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face! I had rather lie in the woollen." Beatrice's determination not to marry, allows the audience to see that she holds a mature awareness about marriage and knows that it carries many risks. However, both of the two characters change their views about marriage once hearing others talk of their love for one another. ...read more.

Middle

The presentation of Benedick and Beatrice's relationship allow the modern day audience to see that they are truly in love. Benedick is a truthful and sincere character and is prepared to lose everything he has ever worked for in order to prove his love. The play indicates that the two have previously been a couple and Beatrice wants Benedick to prove his love before she commits herself to him. The audience will get the sense that she dearly loves him but does not want to be disappointed again. In conclusion Shakespeare shows that their relationship is far more genuine than that of Hero and Claudio. The second relationship demonstrated within the play, is that of Hero and Claudio. They had known each other a mere few days before confessing their love for each other. When arriving early on in the play, one of the first questions asked by Claudio is, " Hath Leonato any son my lord?" This is the first thing asked about Hero and immediately questions Claudio's true meaning behind his love for Hero. He feels that if he confines his love for Hero, they will be wed and once her father dies, they will inherit all of his wealth and good fortune. He may appear to some as being interested in Hero's family, but he is simply being shallow. ...read more.

Conclusion

We would expect nothing more than him to be deeply upset and show some remorse instead of his light-hearted manner. This is another indication that the love between them was purely superficial and idealised. However, all but Claudio had become convinced of Hero's innocence and he is made to feel very guilty and shameful, paying a choir to sing at her tomb. Beatrice and Hero herself feel that they need to punish Claudio and let enough time pass in order to regain her honour. Both characters hope that despite the arrogance of Claudio, he would indeed realise and accept that he was wrong to believe the likes of Don John, over his fianc�e. The Elizabethan audience would agree with the actions of both Hero and Beatrice. However, the modern audience would feel that Claudio has been let off very lightly. Furthermore, Antonio had promised to pretend that Hero is his daughter so Claudio will believe he is marrying Hero's cousin. "Another Hero!" This illustrates how idealised their love is, Claudio feels he had been reunited with Hero and been given another chance to prove his love. The presentation of Hero and Claudio's relationship allow the audience to witness another kind of love, one that is popular, idealised and convenient. One can still see that the stronger and more genuine love is that between Benedick and Beatrice. 1 ...read more.

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