An Analysis Of Much Ado About Nothing — страница 2

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of everything announcing Hero’s name for everyone who might be in earshot to hear. While Claudio describes his love of Hero, Benedick reveals his attraction to Beatrice to Claudio, Leonato’s niece, but at the same time profoundly states a declaration of bachelorism. Beatrice’s character is described as a fine example of a woman in Shakespeare’s time. She has a biting wit, and in her “high intellect and high animal spirits meet” (Jameson 349) Benedick and Beatrice quarrel in a skirmish of wits which is merely a facade of their underlying attraction to each other, and an ongoing struggle of recognizing their love. Benedick and Beatrice’s attraction and pre-existing relationship is evident, and their battle of the sexes is followed closely. Beatrice admits her

attraction to Benedick but is reluctant to act upon it, and at the same time rejects the idea of giving herself to a man, and jokes about her believing that she will never find the perfect husband. Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship is tumultuous from the start of the play because of a previously soured relationship between the two, and from the beginning she seems reluctant to trust him as well. Beatrice says to Don Pedro in response of his noting that she had “lost the heart of Signior Benedick”, “Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for it-a double heart for his single one. Marry once before he won it of me with false dice; therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.”(II.i.249) She also says, “You always end with a jade’s trick.”

“I know you of old.”(I.i.129) Beatrice does not want to trust Benedick with her heart, but Hero, along with Ursula and Margaret her maids, plot to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love by telling each of them of the others attraction, and ironically they succeed in resparking a pre-existing flame. This trick that Hero and her maids pull off is not an invention of Shakespeare, rather, he may have borrowed the theme from a tale in a collection of stories about the French court in the Valois era written by Margauerite de Navarre, sister of Francis I. The story, quite similar to the play, describes female courtiers tricking a man that despised women into falling for a particular woman, catching him in the act and ridiculing him (Richmond 56). Shakespeare carefully

contrasts the characters of Benedick and Claudio and allows them to play off one another. Benedick feels ever-confident in his presentation of self and declaration of his bachelorism, and is contrasted to Claudio in his uncertainty, and need to confide in and look for approval from others. Claudio only saw Hero for a brief moment upon returning from the war, and immediately desires her. In the play, The only conversation Claudio and Hero had was at their wedding when he denounced her and made public her accusation of promiscuity. This shows that his attraction to her is purely of outward beauty and he only guesses at her inward beauty; he trusts his eyes solely on who is to be his future wife but can also somehow denounce her and cause her shame. He sees her outer beauty but can

only guess at her inner beauty until he learns of her innocence from ‘The Watch’, at which point her inner beauty is revealed to him, and he believes he will never find another woman of equal worth, and will stoop to marry an Ethiope.(V.iv. 38) Leonato offers him the hand of Hero’s look-alike, one of Leonato’s nieces, and he accepts. When the Hero look-alike comes forth her true identity is revealed to Claudio, and he realizes that his love for her is true. Beatrice and Benedick are overconfident in their actions, and as a result muddle their love affair. Claudio and Hero are not confident in their feelings or desires, and their lack of action muddled their relationship, and allowed trickery to step in (Brown 122). Beatrice is a strong woman firm in her ideas of not

succumbing to a man, becoming his wife, and Benedick is as firm in his belief of not marrying a woman, and is referred to as “being committed to a war against the ladies.” They learn to trust their feelings more than their observations of character and witty remarks to each other and as a result see inward beauty in each other. Towards the end of the play Benedick proposes to Beatrice and kisses her before Claudio and Hero’s marriage, this shows that they had come a long way, with a little help from their friends. Claudio sees inner beauty in Hero when he learns of her innocence, but Shakespeare makes it seem much less dramatic that that of Benedick and Beatrice. One could say that Claudio fell in love at first sight, and then caught a glimpse of her inner beauty when her