Shakespeare: Then and Now
Compare and Contrast: Claudio and Benedick
Shakespeare’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, is a play that follows a small group of friends from a high-class society in Massina. Two of this group are friends are Claudio and Benedick. In the beginning of the play they are seemingly similar, in that they both are of an upper-class upbringing and do their best to maintain their social reputation. The characters are made as to enhance their differences by the end of the play; they are foils to one another. Both Benedick and Claudio find themselves fooled by other characters in the play and have to decide what they are willing to believe is true and what is false, furthermore both characters find love by the end of the play, but which means they use to get there differ.
In the beginning of the play Claudio is introduced as an accomplished young military man who has just come back from a successful battle. He claims to be “in love” with a woman named Hero. Before confronting her about the feelings he has for her, Claudio asks his friend Benedick to tell him what he personally thinks about Hero. In the hopes that he will confirm that she is in fact as fair and lovely as Claudio thinks she is. “I pray thee tell me truly how thou lik’st her.” (Much Ado About Nothing 1.1.171-172) The “love” Claudio feels for Hero is based on the approval of his friends. Claudio goes on to ask, yet another associate, Prince Don Pedro, how he to feels about Hero. Claudio is clearly a shallow minded individual with a limited capacity to think of only a few thoughts occupy his mind at one time. Claudio even makes not of it himself when talking to Benedick about when he first came to love Hero.
I look'd 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 return'd and that war-thoughts Have left their places vacant, in their rooms Come thronging soft and
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print. Vaughn, Jack A. Shakespeare’s Comedies. New York: Fredrick Ungar, 1980. Print. Finlayson, Caitlin. Much Ado about Nothing (review). Shakespeare Bulletin 25.3 (2007). Web. Oct 18, 2011.