Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
"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
In addition, the fact that Claudio asks Don Pedro about Hero's family
and whether she has any brothers suggests that he could be thinking
about money and inheritance; "Hath Leonato any sons, my Lord?"
(1:1:261). This implies that Claudio could be calculating and shows a
materialistic, mercenary interest in marriage. Are Claudio's feelings
entirely based on the sight of Hero, or is money governing his
intentions? I believe that Claudio is most interested in the dowry
that he will receive when marrying Hero, although he is also
infatuated with her and loves her beauty. This questions whether he is
a true romantic.
Of course, during the Elizabethan period, marriages were often based
on money, and not usually on love. On one hand, Shakespeare could be
merely writing about the...