As illustrated by the two plays Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare was a true romantic. In each play, his characters suffer great hardship, but in the end, he delivers them to a life of eternal love. Characters plot against each other in each play. The relationships of the people in his plays are not always what they seem. Whether it be a tragedy or a comedy, Shakespeare encompasses three elements into his plays: love, intrigue, and identity. Love is the biggest theme in both Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing.
In both plays, hate acts as a force that attempts to tear both lovers apart, but their love holds them together. In Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers’ families hate one another. As a result, Romeo and Juliet are not allowed to see each other so they have to meet in secret. Despite their families’ attempting to interfere, Romeo and Juliet end up with one another for eternity in the after-life. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio and Hero plan to be married. Don John deceives Claudio into believing Hero is having an affair with one of his men.
Claudio then calls off the wedding. When he discovers the truth, they marry immediately. In both plays love is the bond that holds the lovers together, in spite of many obstacles the two face. Intrigue is shown in both plays by the characters that act as liaisons between the lovers. For example, Romeo and Juliet cannot simply go out for a walk in the park because they are forbidden from seeing each other. Instead they use Juliet’s nurse to act as a messenger. The nurse makes it possible for Romeo and Juliet to be married by relaying information between the two.
In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick also have liaisons. Friends of Beatrice give the illusion that Benedick is madly in love with Beatrice and Benedick’s friends do the same. Eventually, Benedick and Beatrice realize they are in love. They would have never gotten together if the liaisons had not intervened. Identity also plays a major role in both plays. In Romeo and Juliet, the lovers would never expect to fall in love because they have been raised to hate each other’s families.
Romeo never would have taken it upon himself to court someone in Juliet’s family because in those two families it is considered forbidden. Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing insulted each other every chance they could. They considered their relationship as a friendly one, but until their friends set Beatrice and Benedick up, they never thought they would fall in love with each other. Had both couples taken their relationships at face value, they would never gotten together.
Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, two very different plays; however, they both contain love, intrigue and identity. Even with forces working against them, Romeo and Juliet and Claudio and Hero fell in love and were married. Characters were able to fall in love with the aid of the liaisons who helped them make sure things worked. Lovers would not have fallen in love if they had not looked beneath the surface. Although Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, and Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy, they both have similarities.