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Much Ado About Nothing: Compare and contrast the two pairs of lovers. Consider their attitudes, actions, language, love, and audience reaction to their stories.

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English Essay Question: Compare and contrast the two pairs of lovers in 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Consider their attitudes, actions, language, love, and audience reaction to their stories. Ideas for structure: 1 Introduce the play, explaining the role that the lovers play, and how, immediately, we are shown the differences between youth and experience 2 Assess the relationship of Beatrice and Benedick (very untraditional) a. Hint at its 'internal nature' (how the relationship is initially for the benefit of the 2 individuals themselves rather than for the other) b. Look at their behaviour towards each other (brother/sister relationship (very comfortable around each other, fiery bickering, competitive) c. Example of the reversal of the gender role in Shakespeare's time (Benedick hiding like a girl in the garden outside the house, Beatrice demanding that Benedick kill Claudio (and Benedick agreeing), Beatrice always being strong (having the last word and sexual innuendo in Act2 Scene1 (which would have surprised the audience at the time) whereas Benedick is a somewhat foolish character - they men ridicule his inability to love, and he has the only soliloquy) d. Give examples of the language used (prose versus verse when the lovers are talking to each other) ...read more.


at the latter end of the 16th Century. The conflict between how one is supposed to act (played by the younger couple) when contrasted with a more liberated couple (Beatrice and Benedick) is made abundantly clear from the off when Beatrice interrupts Benedick's conversation shamelessly2 (Beatrice: I wonder that you will still be talking, Signore Benedick, nobody marks you - Act 1, Scene 1) - their acid wit and 'Merry War' is charming to 21st century viewers, though it must have been shameless to Shakespeare's contemporaries; Beatrice being so forthwith and Benedick allowing himself so emasculated. Their relationship is very much self-satisfying, for personal gain, whereas Hero and Claudio's is more noble, more archetypal, more perfect. The young couple have to be seen to be doing the right thing, no matter the cost, whereas the more experienced pair will settle only for what is satisfying to them, having we are told, both loved before, and by implication had their hearts broken. The fear that they show is mirrored completely by the young, naive love of the teenagers. It's not fair to accuse Benedick and Beatrice of pure bitterness though, as their interactions are much more complex: they are so comfortable around each other that passion has almost ...read more.


At the dance, Leonato reminds Hero what her answer is if the Prince should woo her, even though she may have feelings for Claudio. She appreciated that her life is 'to do the greater good" rather than to pursue her own personal comfort, and forgiving Claudio for doing what he thought was the right thing is just what we should expect of her. There are beautiful qualities and lessons that any audience can learn from. Compare this with how quickly Claudio believes he has been tricked and loses faith (Claudio, in verse: ...'Tis certain so, the prince woos for himself, Friendship is constant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love....Act 2, Scene1) - first by the Prince and then by Hero - and how he is unwilling to forgive (and unable to imagine he has seen anything other than the truth) in both cases until proved wrong. Perhaps Shakespeare is pointing at youth and showing us how impetuous, principled, and fickle it can be, and how a little experience may make one tread a little more carefully and seem a little ridiculous. ...read more.

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