Love and War
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.