Much Ado About Nothing

Male Emotional Instability and the Criticism of the Conventional Relationship in Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing focuses on the emotional development of two relationships that endure various levels of deception. Although both couples marry at the end of the play, the deception that occurs during the play exploits the emotional instability of Benedick and Claudio: “One deception leads to social peace, to marriage, to the end of deceit. The other deception breeds conflict and distrust and leads even Beatrice to desire the heart of Claudio in the market place” (Henze 188). Many critics discuss the emotional flaws of the male characters and suggest that the trickery is necessary in order to expose their true feelings. For example, Benedick must be deceived in order to admit his true love for Beatrice; on the other hand, when Claudio is deceived, his “love” for Hero is revealed as superficial and destroyed. Moreover, critics argue that the Claudio/Hero relationship is conventional compared to the Benedick/Beatrice relationship; yet, as the deception establishes, the Benedick/Beatrice relationship is based on true love while the Claudio/Hero relationship is not. By doing this, not only is the emotional instability of men exploited, but Shakespeare may have also intended to criticize the conventional nature of marriage...

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