What are the differences between Hero and Claudio's relationship and Beatrice and Benedick's in Much Ado About Nothing?

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Noelle Matteson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Claudio and Hero are particularly young. Benedick refers to Claudio as “Lord Lackbeard,” possibly referring to his youth. Claudio was attracted to Hero before he went to war, looking “upon her with a soldier’s eye / That liked, but had a rougher task in hand.” This feeling develops into love, and Hero seems to return the affection. However, Claudio is too unsure of himself to woo her himself. First he asks for Benedick’s approval. Then he consults Don Pedro, who woos her for him. Don John even briefly tricks Claudio into thinking that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself.

When Don John successfully fools Claudio and Don Pedro into believing Hero has been unfaithful, Claudio does not handle the news with dignity. He shames the innocent Hero at their wedding. The meek Hero and insecure Claudio eventually reconcile. Still, their love was born of idealism rather than understanding.

Beatrice and Benedick, on the other hand, constantly fight. They have known one another “of old.” There is a “merry war” between them, and they are very much alike. Both forswear marriage and the opposite sex. However, when their friends trick them into believing they secretly pine for one another, Beatrice and Benedick instantly fall in love.

When Benedick’s best friends accuse Hero of infidelity, Benedick sides with Beatrice. He takes her word that Hero is innocent. More than that, Benedick agrees to duel Claudio to the death in order to defend Hero’s honor, all at Beatrice’s direction. Thankfully, their fight is averted, and the friends reunite.

To conclude, Claudio and Hero have a “pure” love for each other. They never argue, which means they do not truly know one another until it is almost too late. Beatrice and Benedick know each other too well, which ultimately leads to a spirited but strong relationship.

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Much Ado About Nothing

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