In the play, Much Ado About Nothing, William

Ashton Hutson

Mr. Bernard

English 1203

5 April 2018

Essay #2

In the play, Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare attempts to convey through his characters that human nature has an ongoing conflict between the “self” and the “other”. In this romantic comedy, conflict is a key element in conveying Shakespeare message of existentialism to the readers. Many of the relationships between the characters throughout the novel are manipulated by others through emotion. Shakespeare creates these characters to be easily influenced into and out of love by the opinion of others around them. Claudio, for example, is easily manipulated by Don John into thinking Hero is an unloyal women, which is far from the truth. However, Hero stands her ground in front of the men and does not give into their harsh words. A character who stands apart from Shakespeare’s typical depiction of women during these times, is Beatrice. Beatrice is admirable because she shows that she is comfortable in her own skin and is not afraid to show her strength. By analyzing the relationship between Hero and Claudio and the character Beatrice, one can conclude that Shakespeare is trying to display the conflict between the “self” and the “other” through emotion of the characters. The character’s emotions shift throughout the novel when they let the opinion of others influence them. In the play, central characters Claudio and Hero experience “love at first sight” and plan to get married very soon, however things take a turn for the worst and the wedding is called off. These two characters cause much tension and comedy throughout the play. The character Claudio is a victim of his identity being changed due to minipulation by Don John. Claudio loves Hero dearly, however his entire perspective of her changes drastically when he falls under the trap of Don John’s wicked ways. Claudio is tricked into thinking Hero is talking to a man at a late hour through her window. Claudio can not seem to trust anyone in the affairs of love, even someone as trustworthy as Hero. This scene of the play shows that Claudio is a gullible and unforgiving person. It is cruel of Claudio to not trust what Hero is telling him and instead of forgiving her, he seeks vengeance. Don John stands out as the villian of the play by his constant attempts to make Hero look as though she is being unloyal to Claudio. These false accusations against Hero cause a huge stir of conflict within the relationships of the characters. The characters face conflict throughout the novel of their identity being taken unwillingly, however also willingly. Claudio is an example of his identity being taken unwillingly. Claudio is influenced into thinking the woman of his dreams is now someone he does not want anything to do with.

In Much Ado About Nothing, when conflict strikes, the genuine personalities of the characters begin to be shown. Once Hero is bombarded with the false accusations of being unloyal to Claudio, she begins to show her weakness. Hero does not do a good job at defending herself in front of the crowd. Hero displays her first sign of weakness when she asks if Claudio is okay, instead of defending herself and proving to him that she is innocent. When Claudio “witnesses” Hero being unloyal, he immediately becomes spiteful of her and changes his whole view on their love. Claudio is quick to believe the things he is told by Don John.