Much Ado About Nothing-pairs Of Lovers Essay, Research Paper
Hero and Claudio represent an idealised love that was a very widespread image of love in the Elizabethan renaissance. With the introduction of Beatrice and Benedick, we see a very different picture- a love that thrives on conflict and tension. While Claudio says of Hero, ¡§Can the world buy such a gem,¡¨ Benedick refers to Beatrice as ¡§my dear lady disdain.¡¨ While Claudio and Hero whisper sweet nothings into each other¡¦s ears, Beatrice and Benedick bicker incessantly. (Compare ¡§My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.¡¨ to ¡§if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her.¡¨) However, the play ultimately shows that Beatrice and Benedick¡¦s relationship is the more genuine. When early on in the play Claudio asks, ¡§Hath Leonato any son my lord?¡¨ This is one of the first questions Claudio asks about Hero. This would suggest that he is finding out whether she will inherit all of Leonato¡¦s wealth before he finally decides that he loves Hero. When Don Pedro replies, ¡§no child but Hero¡¨ he immediately delivers a speech about how much he loves her, ¡§how fair young Hero is¡¨. This speech seems to be sincere but is he simply being shallow? The fact that Claudio says he is in love with Hero having only known her well for a few days raises the question as to how sincere Claudio really is. ¡§My liking might too sudden seem¡¨. This quotation shows that he realizes that it may seem odd that he has fallen in love with a potentially rich maid too quickly. However, we should remember that the idea of ¡§love at first sight¡¨ was very popular in Shakespeare¡¦s day. (Romeo and Juliet, for instance, fall in love at first sight).
When Don John tells Claudio at the dance that Don Pedro ¡§Woos for himself¡¨ he is too quick to doubt his close friend (Don Pedro). This shows how untrusting and suspicious Claudio is. It also shows us that he is too easily swayed perhaps even gullible?
After the disastrous wedding we see Claudio, Benedick and Don Pedro talking. We see Claudio behave in a manner, which shows that he does not feel guilty despite ¡§murdering Hero¡¨. In fact he begins to make jokes, ¡§We had like to have our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth¡¨. One would expect Claudio to be deeply upset and show some guilt instead of his almost light-hearted manner. Is this the behavior of someone who has just lost someone they love very much?
When Don John tells Claudio of how Hero has been unfaithful, this time Claudio is not so credulous, ¡§May this be so?¡¨, ¡§Disloyal?¡¨. However, Claudio immediately comes up with a plan of how he will shame Hero on their wedding day. This speech or plan all seems too pre-meditated (as do many of his other speeches concerning Hero). Would someone, upon hearing that his fiancée is being disloyal, devise a plan so soon after hearing it? I say hearing it because it has not actually been proved to him, he has only been told! However, in Claudio¡¦s defense we may remember that Claudio is young and inexperienced, that Don John the bastard is a very clever trickster, and that even the older, more experienced Don Pedro is deceived. This is all contradicted when he finds out that he ¡§Wronged the dead Hero¡¨ because he seems genuinely in remorse.
Claudio seems genuinely in love with Hero, but he seems to have an unfortunately suspicious nature, quick to believe evil rumours and hasty in despairing and taking revenge. Also his speeches, to me, all seem too pre-meditated.
All of this suggests to me that Claudio is not entirely what he seems. In my opinion Claudio is a difficult character to understand. Is he genuine? I think not. Benedick, on the other hand, certainly seems to be genuine. All of his speeches seem to be sincere and none pre-meditated. Benedick is the character everyone likes. He seems also to be more passionate. Benedick is prepared to be humiliated by his friends in order to marry. One cannot see Claudio doing the same. They did not jump into their relationship as they already new each other for a long time. Their love is based on the exploration of each other¡¦s character, partly by means of verbal duels. Although originally they are both too proud to acknowledge each other¡¦s love for one another. This shows development in their characters. Hero and Claudio do not appear to be confident around each other. This is shown when Claudio asks Don Pedro to woo Hero for him, ¡§Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won¡¨. Beatrice and Benedick on the other hand seem over confident and do not mind openly expressing their feelings to one another
One can not see Claudio and Hero thriving on an ¡§insulting¡¨ relationship as do Beatrice and Benedick. Shakespeare presents Beatrice and Benedick very much as equals in ¡§Much Ado About Nothing¡¨. If you compare how Beatrice talks to Don Pedro to how she talks to Benedick one can see that she thinks herself as being equal in superiority with Benedick but inferior to the Prince.
Benedick: God keep your ladyship still in that mind, so some gentlemen or other shall scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beatrice: Scratching could not make it worse, and ¡¥twere such a face as yours were.
Don Pedro: Will you have me, lady?
Beatrice: No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days, your grace is too costly to wear every day.
There seems to be less trust in Hero and Claudio¡¦s relationship than Beatrice and Benedick¡¦s relationship. If the same scenario (Benedick suspected Beatrice of cheating on him) had happened to Benedick and Beatrice then I am sure Benedick would have investigated further before taking any action as he trusts more readily. This trust is shown when despite not believing that Claudio wronged Hero he goes with Beatrice¡¦s word and challenges Claudio. This also shows that Beatrice and Benedick would do anything for each other, even kill ones best friend to prove their love for one another. Beatrice and Benedick have been well acquainted for a long time, ¡§I know you of old¡¨. Whereas, Claudio and Hero barely know each other before they decide that they love each other. In ¡§Much Ado About Nothing¡¨ there are three pairs of lovers. One is the idealised more popular love, Hero and Claudio. Another is the love that thrives on conflict and tension, Beatrice and Benedick. And the last is the more vulgar and squalid side of love, Margaret and Borachio which is purely sexual. Despite at first sight one pair of lovers seems to fulfil the stereotype of true love but after carefully reading one eventually sees that Beatrice and Benedick¡¦s love seems to be the more authentic. Overall Beatrice and Benedick¡¦s relationship seems altogether more genuine, more trusting and more sincere than Claudio and Hero¡¦s relationship.