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Love in Much Ado About Nothing

Exploring Love in Much Ado About Nothing

In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare depicts different kinds of loving relationships – romantic love, family support and loyal friendship – and shows how various characters react to love and marriage. By exploring the effects of this powerful emotion Shakespeare highlights its universal relevance, a relevance that transcends time.

The main plot of Much Ado About Nothing is that of the relationship between Claudio and Hero. Their story is a melodramatic saga concerning the realities of relationships based on love at first sight. Claudio has no sooner seen the pure face of Hero than he professes his undying love and seeks her hand. This gesture could be regarded as the quintessence of romantic love. However, Claudio’s admiration for Hero comes across as a school-boyish crush, rather than deep felt love and respect. He seeks the opinion of his friends to reinforce his judgment on Hero, thereby showing that he is not convinced of his own feelings. Claudio sees Hero as a flawless angel, a naive, boyish assumption.

Benedick. Would you buy her [Hero], that you inquire after her?

Claudio. Can the world buy such a jewel?

The sincerity of Claudio’s love is thrown into question by the fact that his ‘soft and delicate desires,/ All prompting him how fair young Hero is, are not confessed until he has ascertained that she will bring her husband a fortune.

Claudio. Hath Leonarto any son, my Lord?

Don Pedro. No child but Hero; she’s his only heir.

Claudio’s interest in Hero is on account of her wealth, but her outward beauty also attracts him. Claudio is hence revealed to be a slave to social assumptions. He regards love and marriage as a sensible way in which to obta…

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…hing” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 8 (1968): 235-251.

Lane, Robert. “‘Foremost in Report’: Social Identity and Masculinity in Much Ado About Nothing” Upstart Crow 16, (1996): 31-47.

Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Samuel Goldwyn Company and Renaissance Films, 1993.

Much Ado About Nothing. The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997. 366-398.

Ranald, Margaret Loftus. ” ‘As Marriage Binds, and Blood Breaks’: English Marriage and Shakespeare” Shakespeare Quarterly 30, (1979): 68-81.

Rossiter, A.P. “Much Ado About Nothing.” William Shakespeare Comedies

Storytelling in Eavan Boland’s In a Time of Violence

Storytelling in Eavan Boland’s In a Time of Violence

In her 1994 collection of poems, In a Time of Violence, Eavan Boland presents her readers with a very focused set of controlling ideas. These ideas, centered around the concepts of family, history, legends, and storytelling, fluidly intermingle and build upon one another as the work progresses until one notion, above all others, is clear: that the telling and retelling of stories and legends is not only a great power, but a great responsibility. In this collection of poems, the poet consciously accepts this responsibility as a reteller of stories, thereby appropriating to herself the power to strengthen familial bonds, question conventional histories, and create new legends for women of the future.

The single poem that best represents the controlling ideas of In a Time of Violence is a short poem entitled Legends. This poem is concerned primarily with the relationship of stories and legends to familial bonds among women; in this case, the bond between a mother and her child. The poem begins by, in effect, telling the story of storytelling: “…they [storytellers] begin the world again, / making the mountain ridges blue / and the rivers clear and the hero fearless…” (Boland, 50). It is clear that Boland is assigning large amounts of power to storytellers within the context of the speaker-listener relationship; in the eyes of the listener, they have the God-like power to “begin the world again”, and to remake and purify elements of the storyworld as they see fit.

The third stanza of the poem both examines this power further and creates a common link between all tellers of stories—“and the outcome always undecided / so the next teller can say begin an…

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…continue, no matter how difficult. At the heart of In a Time of Violence is the need and responsibility to re-imagine and retell old stories that no longer work; to bring women closer together by doing away with the repressive female images—the beautiful heroine, the unseen seamstress— that saturate the current and past stories of our culture. By creating and retelling these stories, Boland explores what she has termed “the meeting place between womanhood and history”, and creates a communal discourse between all women who care to listen to her.

Works Cited and Consulted

Boland, Eavan. In a Time of Violence. New York: Norton, 1994.

Weekes, Ann Owens. “‘An Origin like Water’: The Poetry of Eavan Boland and Modernist Critiques of Irish Literature,” Irishness and (Post)Modernism, ed. John S. Rickard. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1994.

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