Much Ado About Nothing

The Problem with Claudio: A Unsympathetic Character in Much Ado About Nothing 10th Grade

Shakespeare’s light-hearted ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ explores both the triumph and tragedy which presents itself in the love of Hero and Claudio, using the latter as an easily deceived character whose errors almost culminate in a tragic ending to the play. Claudio’s character is presented initially in a virtuous light, though his many flaws and wrongdoings surface throughout the play, thus leaving an audience with little sympathy for Claudio at the end of the play.

A primary way in which Shakespeare explores Claudio’s foibles and renders the lack of sympathy for him is by Claudio’s use of words or phrases which insult or shame another character. The most prominent of these examples is ‘But you are more intemperate in your blood / Than Venus, or those pamper’d animals / Which rage in savage sensuality,’ which is said to Hero in Act 4, Scene 1. Both the hyperbolic reference to ‘Venus’, and the harsh alliteration of ‘savage sensuality’ portray his true anger, and the inanity of the insults. Because the audience members are aware of the truth, Shakespeare deliberately uses the dramatic irony to over-exaggerate Claudio’s insults, therefore rendering sympathy for the unknowing Hero, yet not the brashness of Claudio and his...

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