Saturday, September 29, 2012

Act 4 Comedy turns into Tragedy

--In Act 4 we see a major turning point; the play starts off as a comedy and turns into a tragedy. In the beginning of the wedding Cladio completely bashes Hero; telling her friends and family that she is unfaithul. With all these accusations I can only imagine Hero's reputation, it's completely ruined? Not only is Hero's reputation squashed, Leonato's is too. How dare he pass off a woman like Hero? Claudio embarrases Leonato by bashing Hero, "Give not this rotten orange to your friend. She's but the sign and semblance of her honour."

Because Hero is portrayed as the shy character, Cladio doesn't even give her the opportunity to speak up and defend herself? The one time she desperately needs to speak up she doesn't really get the chance. She blushes in humilation and Claudio responds, "Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty." He continues to put her down, refusing to let her speak. She tries to speak up by saying, "I talked with no man at that hour, my lord."

Act 4 is also the highlight of Beatrice's and Benedick's relationship; the woman who claims she'd never get married finally admits her love for Benedick. "I love you so much of my heart that none is left to protest."

I think it's interesting how the beginning of the play deals with the aspect of being unloyal; towards the end Benedick proves his loyalty to Beatrice and agrees to kill for her.

I felt bad for Hero in this Act, the embarrasment was heartbreaking. I'm not surprised the Friar came up with a plan to seek revenge. These characters are always seeking revenge and playing trickery on eachother, it seems to be an endless cycle?

--In Act 5, I noticed Shakespeare really emphasizes the pain and agony Leonato is facing. She’s obviously not dead but her reputation is. Claudio's words has caused major pain on his family. "My griefs cry louder than advertisment."

When Claudio learns Borachio confesses he realizes Hero's innocence. He begs Leonato for forgiveness, Leonato then tells Claudio to clear Hero's name to the entire city and offers Claudio Antonio's daughter. At first I asked myself why is he offering his niece? Perhaps offering his niece will give the play some kind of happy ending? ( We then learn towards the end the niece is Hero, ending the play on a happy note)

We also see Benedick's and Beatrice's relationship grow which is quite comical; here they were bickering back and forth making fun of eachother and now they're speaking sweetly to eachother; completely head over heels for eachother! I thought it was funny that they both deny their love for eachother towards the end but Claudio catches them in a lie and the two confess and marry.

Despite all the chaos, I feel as though the dance at the end represents happiness being re-established and all is well at the end?


Stacy Carter said...

I think that yes, the celebration at the end of the play is meant to give the reader a sense of positive resolution with the ending. We see the play shift from remedy to tragedy in these acts, and then Shakespeare tries to bring redemption to the play with the celebration and with the truth being revealed about Hero. We spoke in class about comedy and tragedy, and in comedy sins are forgivable and people can be redeemed.

Cyrus Mulready said...

These are great comments on Leonato, Liz, and the effect of Claudio's accusation on him. I think it's easy to lose sight of just how devastating it is for Leonato to believe his daughter has, in essence, betrayed her family. Many people noted this week how quiet Hero is in facing these charges. It occurs to me that Shakespeare may have done this in order to put more emphasis on Leonato's response--perhaps that is the character he wants us to pay attention to as the play comes to a close?