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Although initially these two characters seem similar in terms of their shyness and their youth, it is clear that as the play progresses we question Claudio's character more and more. Hero appears to be the stereotypical figure of a meek, mild and submissive woman. Note the way in which she utters but one line in Act I scene 1 for example. Her goodness, purity and innocence are obvious. However, we begin to suspect that there is something rather disturbing about Claudio with the way in which he is so quick to accept the "proof" of Hero's infidelity and especially the way in which he publicly chooses to shame her at their "wedding." He never questions the "proof" that Don John has shown them and chooses to damage both Hero's and Leonato's reputation in public in the most overt way possible. Note the words he uses to do this:
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that Claudio shows great cruelty and viciousness in the way that he denounces his bride-to-be, and a readiness to believe the worst that speaks of a jealous disposition and an obsession with honour. Whilst the two do get back together, we are left with the rather unsettling thought that Claudio has shown himself to be unworthy of his bride.
Hero is a quiet, obedient, shy and feminine woman who marries the valiant, manly and noble Claudio. Claudio acts as if he has purchased Hero, and she is his asset. This relationship was one view of the role of gender; a patriarchal family with a dominating male and an obedient female.
Essentially, the main differences are that Hero is submissive and tolerant, whilst Claudio is dominating and cruel man.
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