Much Ado About Nothing Essay: Effective Use of the Foil

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Effective Use of the Foil in Much Ado About Nothing


In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the famous British poet William Blake wrote that "without contraries there is no progression - Attraction and repulsion, reason and imagination, and love and hate are all necessary for human existence" (Blake 122). As Blake noted, the world is full of opposites. But, more importantly, these opposites allow the people of the world to see themselves and their thoughts more clearly. For, as Blake asserts, without attraction, one cannot understand repulsion, and without imagination, one cannot understand reason. In Much Ado About Nothing (MAAN), William Shakespeare uses this idea of the power of opposites to show the differences in two
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This is proven by the fact that he easily believes others comments about her and even goes so far as saying that "she knows the heat of a luxurious bed" and refusing to marry her based solely on false allegations made by other characters.

Hero, just like her suitor, follows the model, at least in the eyes of Claudio, of the perfect ideal woman. Even though Benedick does not like her and thinks that she is "too low..., too brown..., too little..., [and] unhandsome" (Shakespeare 1.1.138-141), Claudio thinks that she is "the sweetest lady that ever [he] looked on" (Shakespeare 1.1.151-152). Throughout the play, Hero is a model of speechless modesty. She has very little to say or do in the play except live up to the expectations of the courtly lover. For example, rather than violently or angrily objecting to the false accusations made against her by Claudio at the alter, she, as would be considered proper for the ideal woman, only swoons, blushes, and blanches.

If Claudio and Hero can be accepted as the perfect models of courtly love, than Beatrice and Benedick's love is easily proven as a flawless example of true love both through an understanding of their characters as well as their interaction. Benedick, a young lord of Padua, is, like Claudio, a gallant gentleman, but this is where their similarities cease. Benedick is baffled by the emotions which seize him…