Development In Much Ado But Nothing English Literature Essay

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Much Ado but Nothing is often referred to as a romantic comedy. It was written and produced by William Shakespeare in the late 1500's to early 1600's.Shakespeare set this play in Messina one of the largest cities in Sicily, Italy. In his day it was considered a romantic and exciting place. The focal point of my essay will be to compare Benedick and Claudio's different attitudes to life, love and marriage. I will also describe how their characters develop and change in the play. Benedick is a wilful lord from Padua a city in the north of Italy. Claudio is a young count from Florence the capitol city of the Italian region of Tuscany. Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro the prince of Aragon have returned from the war along with Don John and his men. Don John is the half-brother of Don Pedro. Upon arrival to Messina Leonato and his family welcome them. Leonato the governor of Messina and father of Hero is well respected in all of Messina.

Firstly whom is Benedick a good soldier, stuffed with all honourable virtues? We learn of benedick in (act 1 scene 1) after he's returned from the war. He appears to be an unmovable man of steel; his heart is definitely not with the ladies, but he seems to have a way with words; and he's able to use them in a poetic and comical fashion and this we see when he and Beatrice the niece to Leonato are entangled in a witty battle of words, in this scene you will notice that there is a crowd of spectators, a sort of atmosphere Benedick will flourish in. Benedicks comical side is further exposed in (act 2 scene 1) when they are at the masked ball, Beatrice and Benedick move aside to talk, presumably she not knowing that the man behind the mask is in fact Benedick, or does she? You can ague that she is simply trying to provoke him, she audaciously passes comments like; "why, he is the prince's jester, a very dull fool". She continues to pass audacious remarks and in defence all he can say is, "when I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say". His response is purely based on the notion that she doesn't know whom she speaks with.

After Benedick has removed his mask he tells Don Pedro of how Beatrice has misused him, not long after that Beatrice and Claudio approach the pair, Benedick then remarks to Don Pedro regarding the approaching Beatrice.

"Will your grace command me any service to the worlds end? I will go on

The slightest errand now to the antipodes that you can devise to send

Me on. You have no employment for me?" [1] 

These over exaggerated errands he suggests for himself are made in a very comical way; this gives us an insight to Benedicks witty side, he is not upset but instead he is rather drawn to make more comical remarks.

Benedicks attitudes toward love and marriage are one of a kind; he adopts the pose of a woman hater and swears he will never marry. In some of the comments made by Benedick in (act 1 scene 1) where he says "It is certain I am loved by all ladies, only You excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard Heart, for, truly, I love none". [2] 

This suggests that he sets himself as an unattainable object of desire, he perceives himself to be one who is loved by many, when in fact that is not the case. Another example of Benedicks uncompromising principles towards his rejection to woman is noted in (act 1 scene 1) Benedick says to Claudio,

"That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I like wise give her most humble thanks. But that I will have recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me, I will live a bachelor" [3] . At this point Benedicks attitude to life love and marriage is self-evident.

In the beginning of (act 1 scene 1) we are also introduced to Claudio. He is a brave and enthusiastic young man; he is also the close friend of Benedick. From the first scene we already notice that Claudio is an impulsive immature young man, he is also more of a lover than any of his friends. Claudio's attitude towards life, love and marriage is more of a sweet and sour experience. When Claudio appears; he is already in love with Hero. He admits it in the first scene, much to Benedick's scorn that "she is the sweetest lady that e'er I looked on." Benedick later emphasizes the change between Claudio's previous attitude and his new one: "He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose...now...his words are a very fantastical banquet", "and says that his old comrade used to relish the drum and the fife, the martial instruments of marching bands, but now prefers the melodies of the civilian tabor and pipe".

Claudio could be played as a passionate hot-head who, returning from the wars needs to learn that life is more complex than he thought, and not everything is about his honour. The play also suggests Claudio is rather an immature adolescent who alternately luxuriates in his own infatuation and guilt; he is also impetuous and naive. We see this when he makes the sudden decision to marry Hero, in normal circumstances most people even in Elizabethan times would choose to rather know their partner more adequately before they made such a big decision, but Claudio demonstrates why we refer to him as impetuous and naive, his inability to reason and make a decision not based on emotion lets him down a few times throughout the play. "A couple of examples are Don John's plot to fool everybody and make Hero seem like a common prostitute who gives herself to all men".

Much Ado About Nothing is a short play by Shakespeare, which has comedy, romance, suspense and a lot of drama entangled into hundreds of verse lines. The conclusion is joyful, though; little has changed notwithstanding two marriages. The play is important, not because of its theme matter, but because it displays to us that life itself is similarly entertaining and foolish, our lives are "much ado about nothing". The first item an audience will find to relish in this light-hearted comedy is the brilliant stagecraft, which contains setting, costumes and masks. (Act 2 scene 1), is a perfect example of the kind of stagecraft an audience would get plenty enjoyment out of. As (Act 2 scene 1) begins, the key female characters, chaperoned by Leonato and his brother Antonio, enter a vast courtyard, which is portion of Governor Leonato's estate. The whole courtyard is wound with airy lights, which, while lighting the scene, also add a romantic touch.

Throughout the play characters overhear incorrect conversation, fight each other with words, and muddle up their terminology. In the case of Beatrice and Benedick, language is a sport used as a method of foreplay. Truth can be exposed through language as well. Claudio and Hero are discreet characters who do not say much. For that purpose, whenever these two characters say what their thinking, one must actually listen to what they have to say. Language can also uncover social significance. Claudio and Don Pedro use language to illustrate reverence to others. Whilst Dogberry, confuses his words, thus showing his lack of social importance. Language, and the manipulation of language, is vital to the characterization of Much Ado About Nothing.

Words are precisely imperative in Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare uses language that deals with speaking and overhearing words. The first line of the play is Leonato saying he has received information of Don Pedro's coming. Many events occur in Much Ado About Nothing where words talking of words are said by the characters. When Don Pedro asks Hero to escort him she replies by saying, "I may say so when I please" (Act 2 scenes 1). Similarly, Margaret tells Balthasar, "I say my prayers aloud" (act 2 scenes 1). Words that deal with overhearing or speaking emerge all through the play. By using words that purposely invoke images of speaking and hearing, Shakespeare is echoing his subject of language. Therefore, a simple wooden spoon can represent the subject of identity. Shakespeare uses a similar method in Much Ado About Nothing, when he uses words to echo his "noting" style. 

I will now compare Benedick and Claudio's different attitudes to life, love and marriage. I will also describe how their characters have developed and changed throughout the play. How does Shakespeare present the differences between Claudio`s and Benedick's attitudes to love in the play? The characters range from the mean and arrogant to the honourable and gentle and their nature is revealed through the attitudes towards each other. Hence when Benedick enters in the middle of the first scene of the first act, he refers to Beatrice as "Lady Disdain", and his response to her insults clarify his regard for her: "Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved by all ladies, only you excepted and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none". Benedick's words anticipate his independence from emotion and affection for any woman. He calls himself a ``professed tyrant to their sex. But Benedick's singling out Beatrice for rejection has the effect of indicating how intrigued he is with her.

When Claudio and Benedick are left alone, Benedick claims hardly to have noticed Hero Leonato 's daughter, but Claudio expresses his interest in curious terms: "Can the world buy such a jewel" Through this metaphor Shakespeare does not only point to Claudio 's admiration but rather he means that he seeks to own her, as he does wealth. He adds: "in mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I look'd on". Claudio judges Hero by appearance. Shakespeare uses images of sight to show Claudio's superficial attitude to Hero by exclusively referring to her as an object of beauty. We also note that to this point in the play Hero has said not a word. Therefore Claudio's affections seem based on surface values: her money and her appearance.

Throughout the rest of this scene Claudio does not become more thoughtful in his

estimation of Hero. Indeed, he even asks Don Pedro: "Hath Leonato any

son, my lord" The implication is whether Hero will have to share her wealth with any siblings. Benedick and Claudio 's attitudes to love, life and marriage expressed by the words they utter openly, in fact, do not comply with reality. Shakespeare artfully disguises their true feelings and intentions behind the veil of metaphors and unspoken meanings of their speech. Hence Benedick's pretended indifference and contempt conceals his interest in women while Claudio's mock admiration and passion are intended to hide his selfish ends and superficiality in regard to them.

He Claudio's zealous feelings, and the eagerness with which he gives himself up to his emotions, are as marked as his immaturity. When Claudio loves Hero, he loves her to distraction. When he hates her, he hates her with rage. When he teases Benedick, he teases pitilessly. When he realizes he has wronged Leonato, he'll do anything to win Leonato's forgiveness. He mourns Hero like one who will never love again, and then happily will marry whoever Leonato puts in front of him the next morning. Only when he sees Hero again does he simply say "Another Hero!" with no more gushing. Claudio doesn't do much to commend himself to me in this play; he has no set principles in his life making him someone who bends whichever way the wind blows. By the end of the play, he's still a joyous, foolish boy, and while he has apologized, he's never really come to terms with his own individual shortcomings.

The actual turning point for Benedick is at Hero's early wedding, when he decides to stay with Hero and console her, instead of leaving with his friends. Immediately, he makes it clear that his loyalty is now also to the woman he loves. He agrees to contest Claudio by Beatrice's influence. Beatrice is prepared to surrender love over Hero's reputation, and Benedick is prepared to surrender his friendship with Claudio over Beatrice's heart. The very moment he's been stirred by love, his loyalties are clear to him. This is put to the test in the final scene, when he publicly announces their. Whilst Beatrice is prepared to repudiate their love, Benedick asks again if she loves him, and he seems delighted when the letters show up.

"He even declares the sudden saving of their love affair to be a miracle! He has harmonized a marriage ceremony with the Friar, and happily tells Beatrice that he'll wed her, though he still teases her that it's only out of pity". Thus Benedick is a lovable character that keeps his wits about him. And we see specific change in him; his views on love, life and marriage have developed throughout the play and blossomed into a sensible and lovable character.Overall the characters in the play have their ups and downs. For example Benedick starts off as a woman hater and slowly grows into his final character, someone who has compassion for women and the ability to love them. Benedick transforms from being the creator of drama and comedy in the play to being the finisher of romance and tender-heartedness with the little bit of comedy. Whereby in my opinion Claudio shows no signs that he's changed. The play is one of Shakespeare's masterpieces it explores and stimulates most if not all a viewer's emotions. The play itself is a comedy, although there is a happy ending one cannot ignore the serious and dramatic scenes throughout the play. I can't help thinking that this play is more or less a summary of our lives today. Much Ado About Nothing, (a lot of fuss about nothing).

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