An Analysis Of Much Ado About Nothing

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An Analysis Of Much Ado About Nothing Essay, Research Paper An Analysis of Much Ado About Nothing Written between 1598 and 1600 at the peak of Shakespeare’s skill in writing comedic work, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s wittiest works. In this comedy, Shakespeare’s drama satirizes love and human courtliness between two couples who take very different paths to reach the same goal: making the connection between inward and outward beauty. Much Ado About Nothing shows different ways of how people are attracted to one another, and how their realization and definitions of “love” relate to their perceptions of inward and outward beauty. The play is set in Messina, Italy, a small province facing the Straits of Messina, in northeastern Sicily, at the estate of

the governor of Messina, Leonato. Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon, Don John, his brother, Borachio his servant, Benedick, a young lord, and Claudio his best friend are all returning from war, and have been invited to stay with Leonato for a month. Shakespeare’s antagonist Don John, bears much resemblance to Don John of Austria, the illegitimate son of Charles V, half-brother to the King of Aragon who defeated the Turks at Lepanto and returned to Messina after his victory in October of 1571 (Richmond 51). Don John of Austria had many of the qualities that Shakespeare’s Don John did, he was not on good terms with his brother, and although he tried with much effort to gain status, he was frequently humiliated in attempts to bring himself fame. Shakespeare was known to draw

parallels between his characters and actual historical figures, in an attempt to produce a sort abstract history of the times (Richmond 49). Upon returning from war, Claudio saw a young woman named Hero that he had seen before going to fight, and felt a strong attraction to her. Claudio expressed to Benedick his attraction to Hero, Leonato’s daughter, and Benedick, with a mouth as loose as oiled hinge immediately told Don Pedro of the attraction. Don Pedro, being much closer to Leonato than any of the other veterans were, told the governor Leonato about Claudio, who in turn informed his daughter Hero of him, all with the lightning speed of gossip. Claudio’s attraction to Hero is described by Shakespeare with skill as he puts emphasis on the Claudio-Hero relationship that is

forming but at the same time keeps it in the background. Claudio is clearly attracted to Hero’s outer beauty and knows nothing of her inner beauty, but after conversing with his friend Benedick and then Don Pedro he decides he will marry Hero. A possible scheme of Claudio can be noted when after describing his attraction to Hero to Benedick, he asks Don Pedro, “Hath Leonato any son, my lord?” Don Pedro replies that Hero is “his only heir.”(I.i.262) An interpretation of this might be that Claudio’s attraction to Hero was rooted in a pursuance of the love of Hero’s wealth, masked by her outward beauty.(Brown 79) At this point the drama takes a twist and a sub-plot is formed as Don Pedro talks to Claudio about Hero and assures him that he will have Hero. Don Pedro

describes to Claudio his plan of achieving this, he will don a disguise of Claudio and woo her for him. At this the scene closes, and Claudio and Benedick are left to wonder about Don Pedro’s intentions. Benedick believes that Don Pedro wants Hero for himself, and Don John and Borrachio agree with his statement. This forces Claudio to act on his instinct and initial attraction to Hero alone and decide to marry Hero. Don John, feeling resentful of his brother is quick to accept his servant Borrachio’s plan of deceiving Claudio into thinking that Hero is promiscuous, so that he can shame one of his prestigious brother’s followers and prevent Claudio and Hero’s marriage. Borrachio’s plan included having an amorous encounter with Margaret, Hero’s maid, and in the middle