How Does Shakespeare Present Love and Marriage in ‘Much Ado About Nothing' and How Might a Modern Audience Respond to the Presentation of These Themes?

1732 Words Dec 1st, 2005 7 Pages
Through rich imagery and a comic context Shakespeare uses characters to explore his ideas about love and marriage, using relationships to show the trials of love. In his play Shakespeare makes Beatrice and Benedick the critics of love and through them the modern audience is shown how Elizabethan society maltreats the female role and how the male code of honour and pride can lead to devastation.

Shakespeare portrays Claudio and Hero as a pair of conventional lovers who go through an unadventurous and predictive courtship. Through this relationship he shows the modern audience how women were largely dominated by men. As Claudio metaphorically asks, ‘can the world buy such a jewel' Hero is portrayed as an object and someone to possess and
…show more content…
This is odd since men had little to lose by marriage. He is also presented as scornful of Claudio; ‘he is in love…with Hero, Leonato's short daughter' this is also very insulting to Hero. Similarly, Beatrice contradicts herself in describing her aspirations for a husband, ‘he that is more than a youth is not for me, /and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.' Beatrice knows that being married will mean resigning herself to a man and losing her veracity. This is one reason why they both shun marriage. Beatrice even goes as far as to refuse Don Pedro's offer to marry her, ‘No, my Lord, unless I might have another for working days'. Shakespeare presents her more like a modern woman who does not seem to need marriage or a man.

Shakespeare shows that their fear of marriage is what causes them to deny their love for each other and it is only through the machinations of the other characters that they manage to overcome this fear. In the tricking scenes, we see how Don Pedro describes himself as a ‘love God' and plays the part of ‘Cupid', making love seem like a game that every one should play. Shakespeare employs animal references, images of hunting and entrapment as if love is a sport. ‘O, ay, stalk on, stalk on, the fowl sits.' and ‘Bait the hook

Related Documents