How do the characters Claudio and Benedick compare and contrast in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing?

Despite sharing experience as soldiers and both being young, Claudio and Benedick are more dissimilar than alike. Claudio is conventional and deadly serious about most things, while Benedick is witty and hides his serious romantic feelings behind a comical facade.

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Claudio and Benedick would not appear to have much in common. They do have similar life experiences as soldiers and both are energetic young men who appreciate life. However, this is where the similarities end. Claudio is deadly serious and in earnest about everything, while Benedick tends to laugh at life with his witty jabs.

Claudio and Benedick are most opposite in the realm of romantic love. Claudio's romance with Hero is quite conventional in both the nature of the attraction between the two and the way in which he woos her. By contrast, Benedick and Beatrice constantly banter and bicker with one another, and both mock the idea of falling in love, but these prickly encounters hide a deep affection and attraction between the two of them neither are willing to admit until later in the play.

Ironically, even though Benedick makes dismissive remarks about marriage and is cynical when it comes to women, he proves a better lover than the marriage-minded Claudio. Claudio's more...

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