Comparing and Contrasting the Relationships of Beatrice and Benedick, and Hero and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing

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In Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing, written in the early 15th century, the relationships between Benedick and Beatrice and Hero and Claudio are the key to the play and create a lot of tension and comedy. The two relationships are interesting in different ways, and this essay will explore this in terms of the language used, the plot, characterisation and how the two relationships stand thematically.

Beatrice and Benedick are interesting due to Shakespeare’s use of language. Confusion is created as to whether they love or hate each other owing to their snide comments, such as Beatrice’s response “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours” (1.1.104), notably continuing the reference to animals, after Benedick
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Through this use of language in their banter and witty exchanges, they would be more interesting to the audience as they are a unique couple who are ‘just them’ and their exchanges would fuel much speculation about their life, whether they love each other or hate each other.

On the other hand, the infrequent dialogue between Hero and Claudio could be seen as less interesting in terms of language. Hero doesn’t speak much – in fact she only speaks one line in the opening scene where she is present throughout- “My cousin (Beatrice) means Signor Benedick of Padua” (1.1.35) - this is to help the messenger understand what Beatrice has just said. It is also significant due to the fact that Hero only speaks in relation to Beatrice and Benedick, as can be seen by the quotation above.. Although it can be argued that the silence creates interest in the couple and that Hero’s silence is typical of traditional Elizabethan courtly love, this can be seen as unoriginal and stereotypical. Another part of the play that shows this is in Act Four, during her wedding. The number of lines she speaks is minimal, and where she does it is mysterious and can be seen in many ways. “One Hero died defiled, but I do live, and surely as I live, I am a maid.” (5.4.63).This
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