Much Ado About Nothing - The Characters of Claudio and Benedick
Shakespeare's comedy, `Much Ado About Nothing' is a play revolved around the love and friendships of two young couples, integrated with each other through both friendship and love. Love and marriage are the two most prominent ideas in Shakespeare's comedies. The two couples are Benedick and Beatrice, an unpredicted match as they appear to be quite the opposite and are forever arguing in their poetic banter. The other couple is Claudio and Hero, the two who seem madly in love yet Claudio's untrusting and naive side takes power at one stage, in which the couple's relationship seems destined to be doomed. The two characters of Benedick and Claudio are very different in both personality and manner, much like the two couples previously mentioned. The play ends with a double marriage--the union between a fair young woman and a heroic war soldier, and the passionate match of a firebrand spinster to her avowed bachelor. Ideas of loyalty and trust are interspersed throughout the Claudio-Hero union; Claudio shows little loyalty or trust but is made repentant before the marriage can take place. As for the Beatrice/Benedick union, there is a strong sense of the uncontrollable unpredictability of love. Neither would like to admit they have fallen for each other, but they have little if any choice in the matter.
Benedick is the egotistical soldier who is the butt of all of Beatrice's jokes. He is the other involved in the "merry war" with the woman he is secretly (to start with) in love. He is confident and I got the impression he believes he is God's gift to women. He doesn't know it, but he is in love with Beatrice. It takes the tricky thinking of Don Pedro, the prince, to make him eventually come to his senses so to speak, and realise he is in love with Beatrice.
Like many of Shakespeare's other heroes, Benedick has a comic and serious side. I think he combines everything Shakespeare seems to like in a character; he is amusing (his witty banter with Beatrice is where most of the humour in this play revolves around) and he is also able to laugh at himself- he takes in good humour like the teasing of his friends about his cynicism about matrimony. He is loving too, (an example of this is his poem to Beatrice) and also deadly serious is his love for her- he renounces his male comradeship to "kill Claudio" as she demands- he is prepared to give up his current, enjoyable way of life for her. He is also loyal to the prince, in that he despises Don John, but he is most loyal to the one he loves, something the majority of Shakespearean heroes personify (even those who go astray eventually return to their love- Romeo never wavers from his purpose in loving Juliet). His relationship with Beatrice is another ideal held up to us by the playwright. Beatrice chooses Benedick, she pleases herself, not her family, and as a result, their...