Examine the differences between the ‘Hero and Claudio’ relationship and the relationship between ‘Beatrice and Benedick’. Throughout lessons we have read one of Shakespeare’s well-known comedies, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. The comedy is well known for its tragedies, deception, mischief and love stories. In this piece of coursework I will be examining and comparing the relationship between ‘Beatrice and Benedick’ and the relationship between ‘Hero and Claudio’, the two central couples in Shakespeare’s play.
During the period when Shakespeare wrote ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, love and marriage was looked upon in a different way as it is today. In Elizabethan times it was not rare for arranged marriages to take place: especially within wealthier families. Marriage was often arranged between people depending on the wealth of both families. Fathers often arranged marriages between two people to gain more money, land or social status. In today’s society on the other hand, marriage is mostly based on love between two people not what the families can gain from one another.
In Elizabethan times there was a well known phrase called ‘courtly love. ‘ Courtly love was invariably adulterous, largely because upper-class marriage at the time was usually the result of economic interest or the seal of a power alliance. The courtly lover, who saw himself as enslaved by passion but fired by respect, faithfully served and worshiped his lady-saint. Shakespeare is well known for his plays apposed to his poetry. Throughout Shakespeare’s comedies he often used comedy lines, love stories and tragedies. Shakespeare’s comedies often resulted in a couple getting married.
Throughout ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, Shakespeare uses a variety of language styles; prose, poetry, wit and imagery. The language is also particularly rich in rhetoric. When Shakespeare uses poetry throughout “Much Ado About Nothing” it does not always rhyme but is set out like poetry. We can see an example of this when in Act 4 Scene 1, lines 119-121, Leonato accuses his daughter, Hero, of being unfaithful towards Claudio. “Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny The story that is printed in her blood? ” “Printed in her blood”; shown in her blushes of shame, stamped on her life.
Unusually, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is written in prose, as opposed to blank verse. An example of this is shown when Dogberry, Master Constable of Messina, is talking to Leonato about the prisoners. “Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass. ” Dogberry has a great opinion of him self but an imperfect mastery of the English language, meaning most of his speech is not correct. Shakespeare has most people wondering why he decides to write in a poetry style and in other places in prose.
The most likely explanation for this is that higher status characters, such as Beatrice, use poetry in important and more dramatic scenes, whereas prose is mostly likely to be used by the lower status characters, such as Dogberry, in more comical and less important scenes. At the start of the play, Beatrice is keen to know weather Benedick has survived the war as she secretly care for him. “I pray you, is Signor Montanto returned from the wars, or not? ” Here in Act 1 Scene 1, lines 128-29, Beatrice asks the messenger weather Benedick has returned from the wars safely but uses the name ‘Montanto’, which confuses the messenger.
Beatrice coins the name, with obvious sexual innuendo, form a fencing term for a fencing term for an upward thrust. After Hero puts the messenger back in the picture he replies that Benedick has returned safely from the wars. When Beatrice hears the news that he is safe she disguises the fact that she was worried about the well being of Benedick as if she did not care weather he was alive or not. Throughout the entire play, Beatrice and Benedick, accompany each other in ‘battles of wit. ‘ This is one of the focus points of the play, showing Shakespeare’s superb intellect whilst writing.
Both Beatrice and Benedick both try to throw one another in believing there is no slight chance of love. Both Beatrice and Benedick vow not to marry. We can see this from Benedick as in Act 2 Scene 1, line 224, Benedick announces to Claudio and Don Pedro; “I will live a bachelor. ” He tries to fool them into believing that he hasn’t any feelings for Beatrice. Throughout Act 2 Scene 1, Benedick is found, continuously, talking about Beatrice. It is now even clearer to the audience that Benedick has feelings for Beatrice. “But that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! Here Benedick refers to Beatrice as ‘my lady’ making me come to the conclusion that Benedick does love Beatrice.
By continuously talking about Beatrice, Benedick makes clear his feeling towards Beatrice, but still tries to disguise the fact that he has feelings for her. Benedick adopts the appearance of being a male chauvinist and Beatrice adopts the appearance of displaying resent towards the male gender. Beatrice also adopts the appearance of being an unconventional woman of the time era with her constant out spoken behaviour and witty intelligence, which presents a challenge to all male characters in the play.
The couple’s background is fairly clear. We know that Beatrice and Benedick have known each other for a fairly long time. We can see by reading the play that they have a secret passion for one another but that they both fear to speak out about their feelings for one another in case the other does not feel the same way. Both Beatrice and Benedick continue to fight in ‘battles of wit’ to try to disguise the fact that they both feel the same way towards each other. Beatrice often wins their ‘battles of wit’.
I think this is because Benedick is sincere towards Beatrice and maybe even lets her win out of respect for her. As the battles continue throughout the play, chemistry starts to grow stronger between them both. As the play continues, the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick starts to blossom and finally results in the couple revealing their true feelings for each other. The couple finally pluck up the courage to do this with a little will power from other characters within the play. Hero and Ursula deliberately talk aloud about Benedick’s feelings for Beatrice, so that Beatrice over hears.
After over hearing the conversation Beatrice now feels she can also revel the feelings she has for Benedick, as she now does not fear the thought of rejection. “Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. ” In Act 3 Scene 1, Beatrice revels aloud that she has feelings for Benedick. In Act 4 scene 1, Benedick now knows that the feelings are mutual. Now the couple have become closer, Beatrice springs a conundrum on Benedick to kill Claudio or lose her. In Act 4 Scene 2, after hearing that if he does not challenge Claudio to a fight and hearing the consequences, Benedick finally agrees to challenge Claudio to a fight. I will challenge him. ”
This now shows how much Benedick feels for Beatrice as he is more willing to kill his best friend than lose her. In Act 5 Scene 4, Benedick announces to Beatrice that he is in love with her, whilst at Hero’s and Claudio’s wedding. “Here’s our own hands against our own hearts. ” Benedick carries on to ask for Beatrice’s hand in marriage. “Come, I will have thee. But by this light, I take thee for pity. ” Benedick then waits for Beatrice’s reply, which is “I would not deny you. ” Beatrice accepts Benedick’s proposal and the couple finally get married. Beatrice and Benedick share many similarities.
They both vow never to marry at the beginning of the play. The meaning of Benedick’s and Beatrice’s name are the same; ‘the blessed one. ‘ Another similarity they both share is their very high intellect. We can see from reading the play that Beatrice and Benedick are very intelligent as their intelligence is displayed in their many ‘battles of wit. ‘ Another similarity they both share is, is that at the beginning of the play their hate for the opposite sex. Beatrice and Benedick are also very stubborn. This could be down to the fact that they are scared of the idea of rejection.
They both also try to disguise their feelings for one another through trickery but this does not last for long as their feelings are mutual and genuine. Their feelings are not only based on looks, unlike Claudio and Hero’s relationship, but personality too. I do not think Beatrice and Benedick have any differences. This therefore makes the couple strong and a recipe for success. The type of relationship between Beatrice and Benedick was one of Shakespeare’s favourite types to write about. This is because the couple are completely different from a conventional Elizabethan couple.
It was not expected that couples would be out spoken about their feelings and thoughts, like Beatrice and Benedick display, and it was expected of couples to keep personal matters and feelings strictly between one another, not anybody else. Throughout ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, there is not much background between Hero and Claudio, one of the couples within this comedy, apposed to Beatrice and Benedick. This is as the couple only meet for the first time at the start of the play at the masked ball at Leonato’s house, which happens to also be Hero’s home.
Claudio, an immature and naive character, falls instantly in love with Hero as soon as he sets eyes on her. In Act 1 Scene 1, he immediately starts to think about marriage and a future for them both. “I would scarce trust myself though I have sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. ” This quote tells us that Claudio is willing to marry Hero even though he knows nothing about her or her personality, only that she is attractive. Also in Act 1 Scene 1, lines 147-185, Claudio has a conversation with Benedick about Hero.
Claudio asks Benedick about his opinion of Hero. “Benedick did thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato? Her Leonato asks Benedick weather he had noticed Hero and Benedick replies that he did but did not take much notice of her. Further on in the conversation Benedick asks Claudio; “Would you buy her, that you enquire after her? ” Even further on in the conversation it is clear that Benedick does not find Hero attractive, whereas Claudio does. “In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. ” Here Claudio is saying that Hero is the most attractive and beautiful lady he had seen in his life. This shows that Claudio is falling madly and deeply in love with Hero based on her looks and clearly not on her personality.
Hero and Claudio’s relationship experiences both magical moments and the worst and lowest points a couple could wish for in a relationship. The couple first set eyes on each other at a masked ball at Leonato’s house, which also happens to be Hero’s home. The couple do not talk to each other but instantly Claudio is sure that Hero is the right girl for him. People witnessing the play could either say that Claudio’s feelings were ‘love at first sight’ or that Claudio was a chauvinistic male, judging Hero on her appearance only. Claudio instantly revels his feelings for Hero in a conversation between himself and Benedick.
In the conversation they have Benedick can not come to terms or understand why Claudio feels so strongly for Hero. Unlike Benedick, Claudio revels and makes clear his feelings for Hero. The conversation between Benedick and Claudio is where the relationship between Claudio and Hero starts to develop. After revealing his feelings for Hero, Claudio does not know what step to take next so Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, decides to help Claudio and offers to disguise himself as Claudio to woo Hero for him. “I will assume thy part in some disguise, and tell fair Hero I am Claudio.
And in her blossom I’ll unclasp my heart and take her hearing prisoner with the force and strong encounter of my enormous tale. ” This conversation takes place in Act 1 Scene 1 after Claudio has opened his heart to Benedick. Now the plan was arranged the relationship between Hero and Claudio, if the plan works, should result in the two becoming a couple. Although on the night of the masked ball, when Don Pedro is wooing Hero for Claudio, Don John ‘the bastard’ decides to interfere with the plan and makes Claudio believe that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. As Claudio is a naive and immature character, he falls for Don John’s trickery.
In Act 2 Scene 1, Claudio speaks aloud to himself and feels betrayed by Don Pedro. Now Claudio believes he has no chance with Hero and that all hope of having a relationship with her has vanished. Further on in the play Don Pedro announces that he has wooed and won Hero’s heart for him. “Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her father and his good will is obtained. ” Now in Act 2 Scene 1, Don Pedro has won Hero’s heart for Claudio but not only that, he tells Claudio that he has had the approval off Hero’s father for Claudio to marry her.
This comes as an enormous shock to Claudio as he was fooled to believe that Don Pedro was wooing Hero for himself. Claudio is silenced by the shock of the new he has been told, but soon the news sinks in and he lets out all of his joy. “Lady, as you are mine, I am yours. I give away myself for you, and dote up on the exchange. ” This quote appears in Act 2 Scene 1. Claudio thought that he had lost all hope of being with Hero but now he has been told that he has her hand in marriage he is over the moon and shows that he is truly grateful for the opportunity.
He express how happy he is and how he is willing to give his future to the marriage. This is the point of the play where the relationship between Claudio and Hero officially begins. All is going well between them and we do not hear much about Hero and Claudio and they are only mentioned individually a few times until the wedding ceremony. The ceremony does not go to plan. Claudio hears that Hero has been unfaithful and decides not to approach her with the allegations, instead leave it till the ceremony where he plans to announce it and embarrass Hero in font of the entire church.
We can now tell for certain that Claudio is immature, as he did not approach Don Pedro about the allegations that Don John had told him and now he does the same to Hero. “Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness. There, Leonato, take her back again. Give this rotten orange to your friend. ” In Act 4 Scene 1 Claudio denounces Hero in front of everybody at the ceremony and everyone present seems confused and bewildered along with Hero. Claudio explains all and confronts Hero, making a big scene in the Church. “What man was he talk’d with you yesternight out at your window betwixt twelve and one? Claudio revels the rumours that he has heard earlier in Act 4 Scene 1. Hero denies all allegations and appears in a confused state. Shortly after the confrontation, Hero faints and the wedding ceremony is abandoned.
It now seems to the audience that all is lost between Hero and Claudio and word travels around that Hero has died. All seems lost until Act 5 Scene 1 where Borachio, a follower of Don John, reveals to Claudio that Hero did not deceive or be unfaithful to him and in fact it was Margaret at the window. â€¦how you were brought into the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero’s garments, how you disgraced her when you should marry her. ” Claudio, now knowing the truth, feels full of regret and guiltiness as he now thinks he has lost the love of his life. Leonato then hears the truth and meets with Claudio and offers him the chance to marry his niece. “My brother hath a daughter, almost the copy of my child that’s dead. ” Hearing the news in the same scene, Claudio accepts Leonato’s offer. I think Claudio is still deeply in love with Hero and only accepts Leonato’s offer out of mourning for Hero.
In Act 5 Scene 4 Claudio prepares to meet his new wife to be. When the new bride unmasks her self it turns out to be Hero. This is a great twist in the play. “Another Hero! ” Claudio is shocked and awaits an answer, “Nothing certainer. One Hero died defil’d but I do live, and surely as I live, I am a maid. ” This then concludes the development of the relationship between Hero and Claudio. They both finally reach the alter, for a second time, and finally get married. The wedding goes to plan this time and like many of Shakespeare’s comedies, the couple are expected to lead a happy and fulfilling life together.
After studying the relationship between Hero and Claudio, I have established the similarities the couple share. Firstly, I come to the conclusion that both Hero and Claudio are not confident people. Claudio does not have the confidence to talk to Hero and approach himself. Therefore, Don Pedro does the talking for Claudio. Hero displays her unconfident manor in a different way. She is conventional in the relationship between herself and Claudio and acts like what people expect of her. She displays the tradition ‘Courtly love’ throughout the relationship and displays all the actions a typical Elizabethan women was expected to do.
Secondly, Hero and Claudio base their feelings for each other mainly on the looks of one another. Both want to marry at the start of the play also. Lastly, Hero and Claudio act more immaturely, apposed to Beatrice and Benedick. I cannot state any clear differences between the couple. When comparing the relationship between both couples there are similarities and differences. The main similarity and only similarity I can think of between both couples is the trickery used, resulting in both couple getting married.
Beatrice and Benedick were tricked into confessing their love for one another and Claudio was tricked into thinking many things, although Claudio still ends up marrying Hero. There are many differences between both couples. Hero and Claudio’s relationship is based solely on the sexual love they have for on another. They are mainly in love with each other’s looks, making the relationship very shallow. On the other hand Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship is much deeper, based on not only looks but also personality.
Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship took a longer time to blossom and the couple knew each other for a longer time apposed to Hero and Claudio’s relationship, which only starts to take place at the masked ball. The final difference is that Benedick and Beatrice took time to finally confess their feelings for one another, whereas Hero and Claudio announced their feelings for each other straight away. Overall, I think both relationships will last but to different factors. I think Hero and Claudio’s relationship will last but only on the fact that they have feelings for one another based on looks.
I think Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship will be the happiest as they have more solid foundations. They both have a lot in common; their views, intellect and history. I think the most secure relationship will be Beatrice’s and Benedick’s. I think this as their relationship is based on more than just looks. The feelings for one another seem genuine and when analysing the couple it seems to me that they are a match made in Heaven. Overall I think “Much Ado About Nothing” is a magical and superb play showing Shakespeare’s gift for writing throughout.
I enjoyed reading the play, as it did not fail to surprise me with its twists. I think it tells the history of Elizabethan marriage superbly. I enjoyed reading the ‘battles of wit’ that took place between Beatrice and Benedick mostly. If I had the chance to see “Much Ado About Nothing” in theatre I would as I think it would turn out to be a very entertaining and enjoyable play. Shakespeare’s work did not appeal to me before reading the play “Much Ado About Nothing”, but now after reading it I will have to re-evaluate my thoughts as if each play is as superb as this one, I will be reading a lot more of Shakespeare’s works.