Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 5 (Much Ado/Acts 1-3)

I think that one of the most impressive aspects of Shakespeare’s writing is his ability to create a fully developed character. In addition, he uses his supporting characters to effectively further develop and reveal more about each of the other characters. In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare uses the other characters’ understanding of Beatrice and Benedick in order to allow insight into their motivations. When their friends try to convince Beatrice and Benedick that the other is in love with them, they use character-specific methods that are affective and also revealing about the characters. Beatrice’s friends appeal to her combative and spiteful nature; they allow her to overhear a conversation about Benedick and challenge Beatrice to love him. Her friends question whether or not Beatrice is stupid enough to turn him down, but ultimately conclude that she is too harsh and would make fun of Benedick. Because of Beatrice’s nature, she decides to fall in love with Benedick out of spite, in an effort to prove her friends’ assumptions about her wrong. Shakespeare uses this scene in order to reveal more about Beatrice’s character; not only does it show her motivations for loving Benedick, but it also uses the supporting characters, who know Beatrice better than the audience does, in order to show more about her character. Benedick’s friends use a similar tactic to convince him that Beatrice loves him. They allow him to overhear their discussion about her love for him; however, they implore him to take pity on her. These scenes give the reader an additional insight into Beatrice and Benedick’s character, while also commenting on the gender roles and relations of the time. Beatrice is basically shamed into giving him a chance- her friends challenge her femininity based on her strong opposition to Benedick and she gives in out of spite and to prove them wrong. It was easier to convince Benedick because he was already so full of himself that it wasn’t difficult to lead him to think that Beatrice was desperately in love with him. Because he’s a big, strong man he found it in his heart to take pity on poor, little love-stricken Beatrice. Shakespeare uses the supporting characters to reveal not only gender relations, but also the motivations and a deeper understanding of the characters. 

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