The Role of Love in Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
The role of romantic love plays a central part in the plot of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The way in which each character embraces the emotion shows a great deal about who they are, as well as the time in which they lived. Love, as defined by Shakespeare's characters, differs greatly from my own definition. However, the changeable nature of the emotion itself is what allows Claudio, Hero, Bene*censored*, and Beatrice to interact in a way that is both comical and entertaining.
Perhaps the most obvious of all the differences between my opinion of love and Shakespeare's is the time frame in which 2 individuals grow to develop the emotion. This is most likely due to societal differences. During the time when Shakespeare was writing his plays, life expectancy was considerably shorter than it is today. For this reason, young people were expected to reach maturity at a much earlier age. Women were usually married well before the age of 20. By today's standards, that seems a very young age to enter into such an adult commitment. However, since life itself was shorter, people had comparatively less time to meet a mate, fall in love, marry, and have children. In my opinion, with anywhere from 70 to 100 years to live, there is certainly no time limit set on falling in love. Likewise, marriage should not be a bond entered into in haste, since ideally, it should last for many decades.
To me, romantic love is an extremely powerful bond. Like a friendship, it takes time to develop. It is characterized by a desire to share every aspect of oneself, mind, body, and soul, with another person. The two people become best friends as well as lovers. For many, the ultimate result is marriage. In Much Ado About Nothing, there are 2 couples that exhibit what Shakespeare would consider to be romantic love: Claudio and Hero, and Bene*censored* and Beatrice. There is a large disparity in the way these people reveal their emotions. The differences help to distinguish each character and his personality.
The character of Claudio is written to be impulsive. His actions are not supported by a profundity in thought and are therefore rash and impetuous. Claudio falls in love with Hero without having so much as a conversation with her. He then falls quickly out of love when he believes her to be cheating on him. If Claudio truly loved Hero, he would cherish her as a human being rather than as that which he coveted. If his love for her was consistent with my definition, his trust in her would have caused him to doubt even his own eyes upon seeing her with another man. It would also cause him to seek out the truth, no matter how obvious it...