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Love In Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

3451 words - 14 pages

Love in Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare is well known for presenting the full repertoire of human
emotions, and love is no exception. Much Ado About Nothing is
unquestionably a play about love. Shakespeare provides the audience
with a whole gamut of lovers from the banal Claudio and Hero to the
rebellious Beatrice and Benedick. It is this range which allows
Shakespeare to critique the conventions and perceptions within his
renaissance society This variance in love and lovers also serves to
inform the audience of the many different faces of love, and to
further the plot, for example it is Margaret's brand of free love that
causes the turning point in the play. The comparisons drawn between
Beatrice and Benedick's love and the superficial love of Hero and
Claudio are typical of the constant contrasts that Shakespeare builds
into this play, comical or otherwise. It is in this way that
Shakespeare manages to cross-reference almost all of his characters
with each other; ` the 'wise' Beatrice with the 'modest' Hero, the
'valiant' Benedick with 'Sir boy,' the young Claudio. This emphasises
their strengths and highlights their weaknesses respectively. By this
he makes them more interesting, and so more realistic, pointing out
things about the society in which the play was written, and about
human relationships as a whole.

One of the topics Shakespeare is especially fond of is that of Love
being a force for good in society, improving anyone who is infatuated
with it. During Act 2 Scene 3 Don Pedro comments that if Beatrice
loved him like she supposedly loves Benedick, 'I would have doffed all
other respects and made her half myself,' so proving that the very
fantasy of love makes a man think of improving himself. At the end of
this scene, where Benedick has his second monologue, we see Benedick's
dramatic change of heart towards the fairer sex. He retracts his
earlier stance, and despite the 'remnants of wit,' that will be
'broken on me,' his attitude is irreversibly inverted, for the less
'proud,' and the more 'horribly in love.' He invents a number of
humorous excuses for his change of heart,

'the world must be peopled.' 'When I said I would die a bachelor, I
did not think I should live till I were married.'

This exhibits that he it is not his deeper, witty self that has
changed, but the surface misogyny that he had already admitted in Act
1 Scene 1 was 'after my custom,' hence not entirely serious, and so
easy to drop.

During the two gulling scenes, namely Act 2 Scene 3 and Act 3 Scene 1,
Shakespeare and the characters 'in' on the gulling are effectively
playing with the love of two individuals. Benedick and Beatrice
suspect nothing, taking all the overheard gossip at face value;
strange for a pair of characters that seem to read so much into what
...

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