Much Ado About Nothing Reputation Analysis

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William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” has long been lauded as an excellent comedy about deceit and romance. However, throughout the play there is undercurrents of reputation and a need for acceptance. This is especially demonstrated through the characters Don John and Claudio. In “Much Ado About Nothing,” Shakespeare uses Claudio and Don John to show how a desire for a good image and to be wanted can affect morals and skew judgment. Claudio begins the play obsessed with appearances. He’s smitten by Hero’s beauty alone. He says in Act 1, Scene 1, “In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.” When Don Pedro says he will woo her in disguise so that Claudio can have her, Claudio is told by Don John “The Bastard” that they are in love, sees them dancing, and believes it. Claudio simply looks at the visuals and takes them at face value. Claudio’s worst offense is when Don John and Borachio play their trick on Hero, making it seem like she was engaging in pre-marital sex. Claudio instantly believes that it is Hero, even though it is actually Margaret, going to the point of publicly shaming her at their wedding and causing her “death”. He says…show more content…
Claudio gets Hero in the end, but he doesn’t instantly get his happy ending. Instead, he has to suffer, believing Hero is dead. This serves as Shakespeare’s warning sign about a concern with image rather than what comes from within. If Hero and Claudio are compared to Beatrice and Benedick, the latter have a much better relationship, based on years of traded witticisms and shared experiences. It is tested throughout the play, but remains solid. Meanwhile, Claudio jumps ship at the first sign of trouble because of how it might affect his image. Claudio and Don John also sober up the play. While “Much Ado About Nothing” is a comedy, the themes of self-image and reputation make the reader question if it really will end in a marriage or sex, as comedies are wont to
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