• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How is the character of Hero presented in 'Much Adoabout Nothing'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Monday, 02 February 2002 Jad Salfiti AS English Literature: Shakespeare coursework/ Much Ado about Nothing How is the character of Hero presented in 'Much Ado about Nothing'? Hero is the beautiful, young and vastly dutiful daughter of Leonato, and cousin of Beatrice. She and Claudio fall in love simultaneously, but when Don John slanders her and Claudio takes rash revenge by ruthlessly shaming her at their wedding, she suffers terribly. Hero feigns her death and watches as Messina mourns. When her name is cleared she forgives and marries Claudio. Many critics, write off Hero as 'two dimensional' and 'unworldly'. Initially Hero might strike the audience as the conventional heroine; fair, passive, mild and meek, and the likelihood is she will not contradict first impressions until later scenes. In this essay I will be looking at how Hero's character is presented in 'Much Ado about Nothing'. The name Hero would be familiar to the Shakespearean audience. Christopher Marlowe used the name for the heroine of the romantic epic poem 'Hero and Leander'. Hero is synonymous with the romantic heroine, therefore. Hero to an extent is the conventional romantic heroine: pretty, fair, lovely, kind, graceful, charming, gentle, modest, well-behaved, docile and most essentially passive. The audience is denied complexity resulting in a drive to discover what lies beneath the repressed simplicity of Hero's persona. Hero is withdrawn from the play and harmless, thus in every respect a 'suitable' wife for a hapless war hero like Claudio. ...read more.

Middle

However, both Hero and Claudio have more in common than meets the eye. Claudio, like Hero, shares the same mentality of staying virtually mute in the presence of the opposite sex. On the other hand Hero might be aware of her role as the manipulator of the situation and the unsuspected dominator of Claudio. Hero may be termed a 'submissive' heroine but she is the universal object of affection: Leonato's, Claudio's, Beatrice's and is therefore mentioned in each and every scene. Despite the fact Hero speaks little in the play she has a degree of control; Hero is the backbone and core of if not the play, most defiantly the plot. Hero is periodically victimized in the play, without ever expressing emotions of rage at the injustices heaped on her. In fact, she is forgiving of Claudio "One Hero died defiled, but I do live, And surely as I live, I am a maid." Hero asks no apology of Claudio for the things he has said to and about her. For a modern audience the 'crimes' committed by Claudio without a doubt require a great act of forgiveness but I feel that forgiveness is of great importance in the play. For an Elizabethan audience the love of man for woman, but not of woman for man, is seen as too frail an emotion to sustain the burdens that are frequently put upon it. Man's love fails and woman must benevolently forgive the failure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hero follows the cultural norm of the obedient child but finds her voice, once she is no longer under her father's responsibility. Therefore, I am forced to consider Hero as an individual to an extent, hindered rather than helped by her father's dominance. Hero's lack of power is re-enforced following Leonato's extreme and irrational out burst: when Hero is accused at the altar of being unfaithful, she is so timid she does not even press her truth and faints to the ground. Hero's lack of power is further re-enforced by the way the others take control after the disaster and invent the death subterfuge. Even at the point of her unmasking Hero is acting under the direction of others. Shakespeare uses Hero as a device to heighten the drama of her accused dishonour. Modern audiences typecast Hero as the vacuous trophy wife. I believe Hero is anything but 'two dimensional' and 'unworldly'. Hero is the unconventional conventional heroine; cunning and astute if fair, passive, mild and meek on the exterior. Shakespeare has clearly set out to emphasise Beatrice and Benedick as the people's couple, playing down the apparently 'wet' Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice as the overall more real, raw and likeable female character, one must not, however, waive Hero's relevance to the plot for without her it would surely be non-existent. In my opinion Hero becomes and is the play; through a fake resurrection, Hero dies to live, the tragic chasm is bridged to achieve an aesthetically pleasing happy ending. Hero is the silent female character who ultimately speaks volumes. ** Hays, Janice. "Those 'soft and delicate desires' Much Ado and the Distrust of Women." ...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. Compare the characters of Hero and Beatrice, as they are presented by language and ...

    Hero's actions hurt Claudio's pride because he does not want to be associated with whore. This all comes down to the importance of property because no man wants an illegitimate child inheriting all there property and money because that child was born first, this is why it is so important for women to be virgins when they marry.

  2. Compare and contrast the romance of Hero and Claudio and Beatrice and Benedick.

    (Act 2 Scene 1), here she states she would rather go to hell then marry a man. She too like Benedick contradicts herself and is hypocritical. Full of emotion Beatrice asks her lover to kill Claudio, showing his loyalty to his friend Benedick refuses, 'not for the wide world' (Act 4 Scene 1).

  1. Compare and contrast two characters from 'Much ado about nothing' as presented by Shakespeare.

    Then the Friar's benevolent plot is revealed as he tells Hero "Come lady, die to live; this wedding-day" a paradox is apt from a friar. This, along with the fact that Borachio is already under arrest, gives the audience hope for the future; Hero's innocence will be proven and there will be a happy ending as there should be.

  2. Much Ado About Nothing - Elizabethan Women

    Benedick, trying to comfort Beatrice, asks if there is any way he can show his friendship to her. He suddenly confesses that he is in love with her, acknowledging how strange it is for his affections to suddenly reverse, and she, equally startled and confused, replies in similar terms.

  1. How does Shakespeare present the relationship of Beatrice and Benedick in "Much Ado About ...

    The audience find their reactions very entertaining since the change is so dramatic it is almost ridiculous. The fact that both are being totally hypocritical and contradictory towards the feelings they had before towards love and marriage is very humorous.

  2. Explore the possible meanings of the title 'Much AdoAbout Nothing'.

    In her wedding scene in Act 4 Leonato answers for Claudio whenever the Friar asks a question, and this may also intimidate Hero because it would appear that her father likes to be in control. As well as Hero feeling that she lacks importance, Claudio may also feel it from

  1. How Shakespeare portrays Hero and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

    As she is unable to defend herself, she faints powerlessly and later on in the same scene when she regains consciousness again she is still unable to make any decisions towards her fate let alone clear her sins, this is partly due to the fact that she can have absolutely

  2. How effectively does Shakespeare present the relationship between men and women in 'Much AdoAbout ...

    She is now to abandon her "maiden pride" and to tame her wild heart for Benedick's hand. This is because she needs to come to terms with her feelings. Although she may feel as though admitting to her love is not like her, she has to now because Benedick obviously has.

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