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"Much Ado About Nothing" in fact has a great deal to say about love and marriage. What is Shakespeare trying to tell us about relationships between men and women? Compare the play's treatment of love with that in "Silas Marner"

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"Much Ado About Nothing" Literature Essay Will Hewson "Much Ado About Nothing" in fact has a great deal to say about love and marriage. What is Shakespeare trying to tell us about relationships between men and women? Compare the play's treatment of love with that in "Silas Marner" In "Much Ado About Nothing" there are many different forms of love and relationships that range from youthful infatuation to parental love. Shakespeare makes many comments about men and women and shows the audience a variety of both romantic and platonic relationships. In this essay, I shall examine the differences between the relationships that are based around romance, mutual respect and power and discuss what Shakespeare might be trying to tell the audience. I will also compare these relationships to those in Silas Marner discussing the similarities and differences between the two texts. The first example of love in the play is the traditional love and romance between Claudio and Hero. Claudio is a young, romantic man, who has an idealistic view of love. As a typical Elizabethan man, he is optimistic about relationships, and indeed falls in love at first sight with a woman who embodies the traditional feminine values. Claudio is attracted to Hero physically, "is she not a modest young lady" (1:1:147), and he is instantly besotted with her; the majority of his dialogue refers to her beauty, "Can the world buy such a jewel?" (1:1:161). As he compares her to a jewel he shows how precious she is to him and how she is a unique and valuable person in his life. Claudio is a young, romantic person, and although he is clearly stuck by Hero's beauty, Shakespeare gives hints that we shouldn't trust him completely as he is impulsive and seems to change his mind quite often, "If my passion changed shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise" (1:1:194-195). In this comment, the audience get a glimpse of his character, youth and inexperience, and may well question Claudio's feelings and wonder whether they are genuine and to be trusted. ...read more.


Benedick, though, shows hints from the start, that he still has feelings somewhere for Beatrice. For example, when he speaks to Claudio about how he feels about Hero, he compares her to Beatrice: "There's [Hero's] cousin an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much beauty as the first of May doth the last of December" (1:1:170-172). Similarly, this is shown when we first meet Benedick and Beatrice together: " I know you of old" (1:1:129-130). These comments are a complete contrast to what Claudio and Hero say about each other. Beatrice and Benedick's relationship is based on knowing each other and understanding feelings, whereas Hero and Claudio's is based on 'love at first sight', beauty, and maybe money. Claudio and Hero's relationship starts happily, where everything is perfect, yet it ends with unhappiness and mistrust. Beatrice and Benedick start off arguing and insulting each other, yet end with a strong, tightly bonded, marriage. Other characters have to interfere in order to make them realise they would be a perfect match, and if not for deception they may never have ended up together. When they both realise and finally admit they have feelings for each other they instantly seem notably happier, thoughtful, and more mature. As they have had several arguments in the past, each of them understands the other's point of view. This has made the relationship between them stronger and both of them would be equal within the partnership. Therefore, Shakespeare could be trying to show us that Claudio and Hero's relationship will suffer as the infatuation dies, whereas Benedick and Beatrice's relationship suggests to the audience that it would last, and you can imagine that they would grow old together because of the mutual respect and understanding they have for each other. I believe Shakespeare could be trying to say that women need to be more outspoken and assertive to find real love in a relationship. In "Much Ado About Nothing", Shakespeare has shown two very contrasting relationships. ...read more.


As with "Much Ado About Nothing", when there is an unequal balance of power the relationship fails. In conclusion, in both "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Silas Marner" there are many examples of relationships and partnerships. Both authors make many subtle comments about what makes a successful relationship. To sum up, on first appearance, Hero and Claudio are an ideal and romantic couple, but on closer examination, many questions are raised about whether the relationship would work in reality and if they really are in love. On the other hand, despite at first being enemies, Beatrice and Benedick are in an equal partnership, due to Beatrice's assertiveness and the ease in which they communicate with each other. An imbalance of power is shown in Leonato and Hero's father-daughter relationship. Her love for her father is questionable, and her silence may have lead to her downfall. Above all, Shakespeare shows how love changes us all for the better and that it is a driving force in our lives. Interestingly, Don Jon is without a partner or any love in his life and, as a result, he is an unfriendly, hated, nasty and bitter character. In "Silas Marner", the relationship between Silas and Eppie shows an unbreakable strong bond. They communicate well and respect each other and contrast with the cold, distant relationship between Hero and Leonato. In Lantern Yard, Silas' relationship with Sarah had a lack of communication similar to Hero and Claudio's, and as a result, the relationship failed. In contrast, George Eliot shows us how Eppie and Aaron have an equal status; they communicate well and therefore have a happy relationship. Therefore, in answer to the question, I believe that both Shakespeare and George Eliot are trying to tell us that women need to be assertive for a loving relationship to work. Communication is the key to a caring partnership. When in one of these relationships, it changes you for the better and makes you a happier, warmer person. "Much Ado About Nothing" 1 Will Hewson 23 May 2003 ...read more.

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