William Shakespeare’s -Much Ado About Nothing

Love and War

much ado about nothing 2

Love and marriage are the two most prominent ideas in the comedies of Shakespeare, and Much Ado About Nothing is no exception. The play ends with a double marriage–the union between a fair young woman and a heroic war soldier, and the passionate match of a firebrand bachelorette to her avowed bachelor. Ideas of loyalty and trust are interspersed throughout the Claudio-Hero union; Claudio shows little loyalty or trust but is made repentant before the marriage can take place. As for the Beatrice/Benedick union, there is a strong sense of the uncontrollable unpredictability of love. Neither would like to admit they have fallen for each other, but they have little if any choice in the matter.

In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a parallel is drawn between conventional Elizabethan couple Claudio and Hero, and their opposites in Benedick and Beatrice. Claudio is a typical example of a male in Shakespeare’s day, and Hero is quiet and obedient, as was expected of a young woman. Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship challenges the conformist and patriarchal expectations of their society, and the audience can clearly see that despite this, the bond between these two is much deeper than that between Hero and Claudio.

A significant contrast between the couples can be drawn by comparing their displays of loyalty. Claudio is quick to dismiss Hero as unfaithful in his first moment of doubt, and therefore immediately deems her unsuitable for marriage to him. It does not take much for him to abandon and humiliate the one he is supposed to be in love with. His honor is clearly more important to him than any of his ties to Hero. On the other hand, when Benedick is tested by Beatrice’s request that he challenge Claudio, he shows that his love for her is more powerful even than his allegiance to his friend, demonstrating in very extreme and unpleasant circumstances his devotion to her. That same devotion allowed him to overcome his reluctance to marry and fear of being betrayed, and made Beatrice swallow her pride and allow herself to become vulnerable in love once more. It is this devotion, that proves to us, which convinces the audience that the love between Benedick and Beatrice is a truer and stronger love than that of Hero and Claudio.

In conclusion to the play, I really enjoyed Shakespeare’s depiction of a two-sided love affair. Relationships are going to be tested. That part is inevitable. It is natural for certain relationships to have their quarrels and differences, but, what really matters are if it makes or breaks them. I believe the ending he shaped for both couples was reasonable. Although I still disliked how Hero was treated by Claudio, the truth was revealed and her name became clear of the lies. Thus, there was no other solid reason for them to not be together. For Benedick and Beatrice, I quite loved their matching to one another. They finally gave up the war with one another and opened their arms for love. I believe Shakespeare created the completion of the play to label the different stereotypical relationships. Some are going to be stronger or weaker, however, the major theme he portrays is the need for connection and the survival of the union.

 

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Elizabeth Bishop’s “Poem”

Memory in Art and Poetry

Elizabeth Bishop

“Poem,” from Bishop’s final book, Geography III, takes turns and shifts in tone and subject as we discover the main theme is about an unprepossessing painting. At first, I detected “Poem” to have little importance or worth by her usage of words and rhythm within the first stanza. Once I reviewed her poem over and over again I began to realize that she was highlighting a sense of emotional connection to her poem as if her main point was to express a memory. Bishop configured her poem to take dramatic steps from the particulars of the painting and its place in the family tree, even from its emotional value to her, to a meditation on art.

Elizabeth Bishop Poem Painting

Bishop leads her reader into a slowly directed drawing of a reflection in her own mind. After receiving the handed-down painting from her uncle and great-uncle, she depicted the shades and strokes incorporated within the painting as if it were the steps and stones of a time in her own life. She specifies the images of the painting to imitate Nova Scotia as she declares that she “knows the place.” The details of the Presbyterian Church, the meadow, cows and geese, the iris, and the spring water to have all been pieces of this small but faint memory.

I believe the main reason Bishop wrote “Poem” was to share the importance and role that memory can have in a little, free-handed painting. She wanted to paint her reflection on a piece of a paper exercising her strong words rather than a white canvas. Art itself is a memory, or the fact that a single memory can give a painting the power of life is the ultimate craft in how they flow together. In some honest appreciation “life and the memory of it” may seem “cramped and dim painted on a piece of shoddy Bristol board,” but still, there is a part that is “live” and “touching in detail.” This idea, perchance, is the possibility of the two “visions,” or “looks,” overlapped between Bishop and her great uncle. It is fairy clear that Bishop seems to believe memories and specific details or images can give structure and life to poetry, just like a painter with a brush on canvas.