How do the two couples—Claudio and Hero and Benedick and Beatrice—compare in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing?
Despite its light-hearted title, Much Ado About Nothing has some of the darkest moments in any of William Shakespeare’s comedies. This somber note is primarily sounded by Claudio. The theme of true love carries through the entire play. Claudio and Hero stand for unchecked feelings and show the dangers that lurk beneath an overly romantic attitude toward love. Benedick and Beatrice, who represent the combination of intellect with emotion, offer an example of a couple who move toward each other to appreciate the other person’s good qualities.
Both couples are deceived repeatedly, but Claudio is hot-headed and prone to jealousy. Hero is presented in strict contrast as sweet and trusting. Benedick begins the play with a reputation as a light-hearted, carefree flirt but shows that he has greater depth. Beatrice has a superior attitude that includes contempt for his superficiality, but she learns the difference between his surface and the substance of his character.
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