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Love in Much Ado About Nothing

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Exploring Love in Much Ado About Nothing

In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare depicts different kinds of loving relationships - romantic love, family support and loyal friendship - and shows how various characters react to love and marriage. By exploring the effects of this powerful emotion Shakespeare highlights its universal relevance, a relevance that transcends time.

The main plot of Much Ado About Nothing is that of the relationship between Claudio and Hero. Their story is a melodramatic saga concerning the realities of relationships based on love at first sight. Claudio has no sooner seen the pure face of Hero than he professes his undying love and seeks her hand. This gesture could be regarded as the quintessence of romantic love. However, Claudio's admiration for Hero comes across as a school-boyish crush, rather than deep felt love and respect. He seeks the opinion of his friends to reinforce his judgment on Hero, thereby showing that he is not convinced of his own feelings. Claudio sees Hero as a flawless angel, a naive, boyish assumption.

Benedick. Would you buy her [Hero], that you inquire after her?

Claudio. Can the world buy such a jewel?

The sincerity of Claudio's love is thrown into question by the fact that his 'soft and delicate desires,/ All prompting him how fair young Hero is, are not confessed until he has ascertained that she will bring her husband a fortune.

Claudio. Hath Leonarto any son, my Lord?

Don Pedro. No child but Hero; she's his only heir.

Claudio's interest in Hero is on account of her wealth, but her outward beauty also attracts him. Claudio is hence revealed to be a slave to social assumptions. He regards love and marriage as a sensible way in which to obta...

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...hing" Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 8 (1968): 235-251.

Lane, Robert. "'Foremost in Report': Social Identity and Masculinity in Much Ado About Nothing" Upstart Crow 16, (1996): 31-47.

Much Ado About Nothing.  Directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Samuel Goldwyn Company and Renaissance Films, 1993.

Much Ado About Nothing.  The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.  366-398.

Ranald, Margaret Loftus.  " 'As Marriage Binds, and Blood Breaks': English Marriage and Shakespeare" Shakespeare Quarterly 30, (1979): 68-81.

Rossiter, A.P. "Much Ado About Nothing."  William Shakespeare Comedies & Romances. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Shakespeare, William.  Much Ado About Nothing.  Bevington 216-51.

Vaughn, Jack A. Shakespeare's Comedies.  New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1980

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