Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing are both love stories, but their portrayal of love is very different. In Much Ado About Nothing Claudio and Hero fall in love, break apart, and then fall in love again, while at the same time, Beatrice and Benedick are being tricked into loving each other. This is very different from Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet are in a constant struggle for their love. Shakespeare’s plays Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing both contain the elements of; love at first sight, manipulation of love and a detailed love story, but the portrayal of love in Romeo and Juliet much more fast paced and reckless than it is in Much Ado About Nothing. Three important aspects of love are written in each play but are portrayed in completely different ways. Both Romeo and Juliet, and Hero and Claudio experience love at first sight. But the level of love they experience is dependant on the book. In both books, love is somehow manipulated, but it is manipulated in different ways for dissimilar purposes in the different books. Finally, the whole crazy journey of love is radically different for Benedick and Beatrice than it is for Romeo and Juliet. Love at first sight is a simple concept. However, it can be experienced at many different levels of love. In Romeo and Juliet, the moment Romeo sees Juliet, he immediately devotes himself to her. He says “The measure done, I’ll watch her place stand/ and touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. / Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, / for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (Shakespeare 53). Shortly after Romeo meets Juliet, he immediately woos her and kisses her, forgetting entirely about Rosaline, his previous love. Their experience of love at firs sight was so intense that they forgot to even tell each other their names. Claudio and Hero’ experience of love at first sight is not quite as spectacular. When Claudio is talking to Prince about Hero he says “O, my lord, / when you went onward on this ended action, / I looked upon her with a soldier’s eye, / that liked but had a rougher task in hand / than to drive liking to the name of love. / But now I am returned and that war thoughts / Have left their places vacant, in their rooms / Come thronging soft and delicate desires, / All prompting me how fair young Hero is…” (Shakespeare 25) Here, Claudio says that he had liked Hero before, but now he is ready to make a move, he likes her but he does not go crazy about her. He doesn’t really know what to do though. So Prince offers to woo her sometime soon in the name of Claudio while wearing a mask. Romeo is clearly much more vigorous and reckless than Claudio, who is much more conservative and thoughtful. The drastic difference in Much Ado About Nothing is that Hero does not even know that Claudio loves him at all until that night. Pace of the love is clearly different in the two plays. Romeo and Juliet’s experience of love at first sight is much faster paced and intense, While Claudio and Hero’s is much more laid back and careful. Love at first sight is only one aspect of love that is in both plays.
The manipulation of love is a common thing in both plays. In Much Ado About Nothing, almost all the main characters participate in a scheme to get Benedick and Beatrice, who are bitter enemies, to love each other. Prince says, “I will teach you how to humor your cousin /, that she shall fall in love with Benedick; / and I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick that, / in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, / he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, / Cupid is no longer an archer: / his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods” (Shakespeare 69) Prince, Hero, Leonato, and Claudio try to make Benedick and Beatrice love each other by telling each that the other is crazy about them. This makes them look upon the other in a new light and eventually love. Also in Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio...
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