Beatrice and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing Essay
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Beatrice and Hero in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
Beatrice is a young, attractive woman, who lives to be an unconventional member of her community. She is technically a free woman as her father died when she was younger and she has no one to say to her no, or that’s enough, or in general tell her what to do. She lives her life as she wishes and is known as Lady Disdain by one of her fellow characters, Benedick.
However, Hero is the complete opposite to her cousin Beatrice. She too is an only child; she is rich and would be a good catch for any man of her time. She is as decorative as a porcelain doll and never complains. She is also loyal to her friends and family, and always…show more content…
Beatrice sees herself as equal to most men. She is witty and confident, and cannot pass through the day without making a joke or remark about her ultimate opposition, Benedick.
‘Why he is the prince’s Jester’ ===============================
However she doesn’t just make jokes about Benedick, but about the whole of the living, breathing, male race. One of the main reasons that she does this is because of the absence of her father. This has opened her eyes and she is able to see the unfairness of her society. A good example of this is the scene of Hero and Claudio’s wedding. There is no question that Claudio is lying or may be wrong about Hero, and even Hero’s father sides with him.
In the play the audience is also told in so many words that there has once been some kind of relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. This is also a motive for the two to fight like cat and dog, and to make those bad jokes about each other, that the audience has come to know and love.
It would not be possible to describe the character of Beatrice in three or four words, however, sarcastic, confident and fiery are a good start.
When she is constantly reminding the audience of how she dislikes Benedick, the hope of a new love is on the horizon. In the first dance scene,
From its opening lines to its final scene, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a feast of wit and verve. The play’s humor runs from slapstick to subtle wordplay, and it features Shakespeare’s wittiest couple, Beatrice and Benedick.
The plot consists of two interwoven love stories: those of Beatrice and Benedick, and that of Claudio and Hero. Claudio, accompanying his friend, Don Pedro to Messina, is smitten with the lovely Hero, daughter of Leonato, governor of Messina. To help his friend, Don Pedro assumes Claudio’s identity at a masked ball and woos Hero. In the meantime, Don John, bastard brother of Don Pedro, does his worst to undermine the love affair by convincing Claudio that Hero is unfaithful.
Benedick, another friend of Don Pedro, has arrived in Messina a confirmed bachelor, ridiculing men who succumb to marriage. Equally opposed to marriage is Beatrice, Leonato’s niece, the verbal jousting partner of Benedick. The fireworks between these two spark the play. Don Pedro, Hero, Claudio, and Leonato all conspire to bring this unlikely couple together.
The plot speeds to its climax on Hero and Claudio’s wedding day as Don John’s deceit convinces all but Beatrice and Benedick. When Don John’s evil plot is exposed in a hilarious report by the constable, Dogberry, Claudio is led to believe that his foolish acceptance of Don John’s lies about Hero has led to her death. One remaining plot twist awaits the repentant Claudio. After he consents to marry Leonato’s niece, he learns that Hero in fact is alive. A double wedding ensues.
Bloom, Harold, ed. William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Contains eight significant articles from the 1970’s and 1980’s. See especially the essays by Richard A. Levin, who looks beneath the comedic surface to find unexpected, troubling currents, and Carol Thomas Neely, who contributes an influential feminist interpretation.
Evans, Bertrand. Shakespeare’s Comedies. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1960. Important critical study. Concludes that Shakespeare’s comic dramaturgy is based on different levels of awareness among characters and between them and the audience. The comedy in Much Ado About Nothing reflects an intricate game of multiple deceptions and misunderstandings that the audience enjoys from a privileged position.
Hunter, Robert Grams. Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness. New York: Columbia University Press, 1965. Argues persuasively that the thematic core of several Shakespeare comedies derives from the tradition of English morality plays. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio sins against the moral order by mistrusting Hero and is saved by repentance and forgiveness.
Macdonald, Ronald R. William Shakespeare: The Comedies. New York: Twayne, 1992. Compact introduction to Shakespeare’s comedy that is both critically sophisticated and accessible to the general reader. Essay on Much Ado About Nothing reveals various subtextual relationships of class and gender by probing the characters’ semantically complex and ironic verbal behavior.
Ornstein, Robert. Shakespeare’s Comedies: From Roman Farce to Romantic Mystery. London: Associated University Presses, 1986. Award-winning book by a major Shakespeare scholar. The chapter on Much Ado About Nothing offers a sensitive, graceful analysis of the play that focuses primarily on characterization, plot, and moral themes.