Problematic Marriage in Much Ado About Nothing

926 Words4 Pages
Questioning Marriage in Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing raises many important issues concerning the institution of marriage. Perhaps Shakespeare's purpose in writing this play was to question the existing approach to relationships and marriage. Shakespeare reveals the faults of the process through the characters of Hero and Claudio and also Hero's father, Leonato. Shakespeare also may be suggesting an alternative approach to marriage and relationships through the characters of Beatrice and Benedick.

Shakespeare does this through the characters of Hero and Claudio. Claudio suddenly becomes very enamored with Hero when returning from the war. Rather we should say that he has become quite enamored with her money. And hints it very obviously to other characters in the book by saying things like, "Hath Leonato any son, my lord?"(1.1.262). Who, although these characters know he wants her for her money, which is seen by Benedick saying, "would you buy her that you enquire after/her?"(1.1.159-60) and Pedro saying, "That she is worthy, I know"(1.1.204) do nothing to stop the upcoming union. In fact, they encourage it because at this time, it is not at all unusual for a man to marry a woman for her money. In fact, it was quite commonly practiced. Shakespeare uses lines such as these to bring attention to the requirements a gentleman has when looking for a wife. He throws these kind of lines in to make the audience aware either subconsciously or consciously so that maybe they will question whether or not two people should be married on the basis of how much the bride is worth.

Pedro woos Hero for Claudio and it would seem that she would have one as just as well as the...

... middle of paper ...

...marvelous job of trying to open the audience's eyes to the faults in the institution of marriage. He has done it a way that the audience cannot leave the play with consciously or subconsciously questioning the things with which they were just presented. Perhaps Shakespeare hoped these questions would lead to further contemplation on the issues of marriage and it's current conventions.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Lewalski, B. K. "Love, Appearance and Reality: Much Ado About Something" Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 8 (1968): 235-251.

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; Washington Square Press; New York, NY; New Folger Edition May 1995
Open Document