How Does Shakespeare Present Love and Marriage in ‘Much Ado About Nothing' and How Might a Modern Audience Respond to the Presentation of These Themes?

1736 WordsNov 20, 20057 Pages
Through rich imagery and a comic context Shakespeare uses characters to explore his ideas about love and marriage, using relationships to show the trials of love. In his play Shakespeare makes Beatrice and Benedick the critics of love and through them the modern audience is shown how Elizabethan society maltreats the female role and how the male code of honour and pride can lead to devastation. Shakespeare portrays Claudio and Hero as a pair of conventional lovers who go through an unadventurous and predictive courtship. Through this relationship he shows the modern audience how women were largely dominated by men. As Claudio metaphorically asks, ‘can the world buy such a jewel' Hero is portrayed as an object and someone to possess and…show more content…
In Kenneth Branagh's' film he emphasises the animal imagery by making Benedick cry out indignantly like a bird because of what the men are saying. The symmetry in language is also echoed in the way that Beatrice and Benedick decide to dedicate themselves to each other as a result of this guiling, ‘Love me? Why it must be requited…I will be horribly in love with her.' The result of the tricking scene and the way that they are so easily duped creates humour because they now seem desperately in love with each other 'Benedick love on. I will requite thee'. As a modern audience we feel satisfied at this union. Kenneth Branagh creates unity between Beatrice and Benedick with a montage. When Benedick is in the fountain splashing and laughing and Beatrice is on the swing smiling. These scenes make the audience smile and anticipate the positive ending. In this play Shakespeare presents love sickness literally. Both Beatrice and Benedick have either ‘toothache' or are ‘exceeding ill'. As well as the change in health Shakespeare presents a transformation in language and appearance as the side effects of love. They say that Benedick ‘rubs himself with chivet', he has shaved, washed himself and put make-up on, ‘when was he wont to paint himself'. Shakespeare shows the complete change that love brings upon Beatrice by changing her prose into alternately rhyming lines of iambic pentameter in her soliloquy. Shakespeare writes that
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