Representations of Love in Much Ado About Nothing

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Explore representations of love in Much Ado About Nothing

In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare uses literary structures such as doubles and opposites in order to emphasise the plays main themes and ideas. McEachern claims “It is undoubtedly the most socially and psychologically realistic of his comedies, in it’s portrait of the foibles generosities of communal life.” (McEachern, 2006, 1) One main theme I want to explore is love and how Shakespeare represents this in Much Ado About Nothing. The two main genres in Shakespeare’s dramas are tragedy and comedy. Tragedy always ends in death and comedy always ends in a marriage. Although Much Ado inevitably ends in marriage, it differs from some of Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies as his other comedies usually portray love in a much more unrealistic way. “Much Ado About Nothing is best known for the ‘merry war’ between one of it’s two couples, and an oxymoron could also describe this comedy’s identity as a whole. Shakespeare offers a play of light and dark, of romantic union wrested from fear and malice and of social harmony soothing the savagery of psychic violence” (McEachern, 2006, 1)

In Act 1 Scene 1, Don Pedro, prince of Arragon arrives with his bastard brother Don John, and his two friends Claudio and Benedick. It is in this Act that Beatrice and Benedick first meet and the war of wits begin. Leonato states “There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her [Beatrice]; they never meet but there is a skirmish of wit between them.” (Much Ado, Act 1 Scene 1, 520) Although their words seem quite hateful to one another, at the same time it may also come across as flirtatious. Before Beatrice even meets Benedick, she expresses her distaste for him, however, she talks about him in such great depth it is almost more like an obsession than hatred. Benedick teases Beatrice by saying “I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find it in my heart that I had not a hard heart;...
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