Much Ado About Nothing



In his immaturity and impetuousness, Claudio is a foil for Benedick. While Benedick rails sarcastically against marriage at the beginning of the play, Claudio welcomes the idea of marriage with highly poetic language. Their different attitudes can also be seen to represent how seriously they really feel about marriage: perhaps Benedick fears it because he views marriage as an important bond, not to be taken lightly, while Claudio sees it only as an extension of his idealized romance. Although Claudio eagerly dives into his relationship with Hero, he is easily swayed by appearances and extremely vulnerable to any potential loss of social standing. After his slander of Hero, Beatrice mocks Claudio as a honey-tongued courtier, attacking his weak masculinity by calling him “Count Comfect,” meaning candy or confection—not a man of honor or of action at all. Claudio has a long way to go to be the man that Benedick is, but by the end of the play perhaps he is taking the first steps. His pride is not so great that he can deny Hero’s innocence, and he immediately asks for an opportunity to repent. He accepts Leonato’s request to marry a woman he has never seen, demonstrating a more steady sense of honor than previously, and has apparently learned something from his mistakes.

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