William Shakespeare's Presentation of the Two Pairs of Lovers in Much Ado About Nothing

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William Shakespeare's Presentation of the Two Pairs of Lovers in Much Ado About Nothing


'Much Ado About Nothing' would have been pronounced 'Much Ado About
Noting' in Shakespeare's time. Noting would infer seeing how things
appear on the surface as opposed to how things really are. This
provides an immediate clue as to how the play and the presentation of
the story of the two pairs of lovers would be received by an audience
of the time, living as they did in a patriarchal society which was
based on social conventions and appearances. It can also be taken as
an initial comment by Shakespeare about that society and its values
and moral codes. Modern audiences, however, live
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She behaves in the manner
society expects and does not question it at all.

Claudio too is every bit the courtly hero of tradition and convention
as demanded by the society of the time. He is a dashing young count
returned from the wars in a blaze of glory. Claudio represents the
romantic, with the flowery speech of a lover. He says of Hero;

"Can the world buy such a jewel?"

His love is based on an appreciation of her looks and status.

In Elizabethan times women were wooed in the presence of and often on
behalf of other parties as in the play. Thus the business of Don Pedro
at the masked ball wooing Hero on behalf of Claudio, rather a strange
concept to modern audiences, would be totally accepted as normal to a
contemporary audience. Shakespeare introduces devices of masks and
deception to underline the superficiality of a society where truths
are hidden below appearances.

Throughout the first acts of the play, Hero and Claudio behave and
proceed with their courtship in a manner befitting the conventions of
the time. Claudio wants to be sure that Hero would make a suitable
bride before he pursues her. He asks Don Pedro: "Hath Leonato any Son,
my Lord?"

This would not be unreasonable at the time, as suitors were expected
to find a partner who was of…