A Couple of Couples Coupling

October 2nd, 2011


In Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing we are given two couples who essentially exhibit two different polarities of nature and love.


This coupling is interesting in the fact that it is almost so magical that its boring. The starry-eyed couple is almost a caricature of what love ideally can be. There is no art, nor cleverness in their love, it is simply an all encompassing feeling that consumes them. Claudio’s assertion of his love when he’s talking to Benedick is breathless and enchanted, but at the same time makes him sound like a child. That the couple is almost solely defined by their love makes them ripe for exploitation by evil forces that would seek to destroy the definition of love itself. They are almost too tempting of a target.

Because they are controlled by the strength of their feelings rather than any reason, Don John can easily pervert their love and change Claudio into a jealous beast. Though the truth is eventually uncovered and their love restored, it is a little disconcerting that they can just pick up where they left off. It’s almost too saccharine. Though I understand that love heals all wounds, if I were Hero’s friend, I’d probably tell her to get out of that relationship and marry someone more stable and less naive–like maybe the Prince or even Dogberry.



As a couple, Benedick and Beatrice have far more going for them than Claudio and Hero. They’re older, wiser, funnier, and look better in their respective outfits. The thing that they don’t have at first is the ability to humble themselves and give themselves over to the natural process of coupling.

Shakespeare exaggerates their reliance on reason rather than feeling to both set them apart from the sweet high-school couple like Claudio and Hero, and to set the stakes of their fall into love comically high. Their bloviation and declarations against love are quickly undermined as they tricked into falling in love(or admitting their love). That they are so quickly converted to the cause of love suggests that nature will always triumph, even over the most ardent critics.

In General-

If I were to have to go out on a double date with either of the couples, I’d probably choose the latter. It’s not that I’m against the love that Claudio and Hero share, it’s just it’s boring and ultimately uninteresting to anyone who is not involved in their coupling. It almost feels as if Shakespeare is creating a parody of the famous couples of literary history, like he is pointing out that all encompassing/starry eyed love is ultimately pretty naive.

Going out to dinner with Beatrice and Benedick, on the other hand would be interesting because even in their “couplehood” their is an assertion of the individual. It would feel like you are not talking to a massive blob of love, but rather to to two rational people who finally joined together in spite of themselves.


I would go on a double date with Beatrice and Benedick.


I think there would be some fighting about where the dinner would take place, so we’d probably just end up at Applebee’s or something.



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September 7th, 2011

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