Comparing The Hero Of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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The Hero of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was not the only Hero of the time. Christopher Marlowe’s poem Hero and Leander, a retelling of the Greek myth and published in the same year that Shakespeare began writing his own Hero, featured a female protagonist with the same name and a similar story to the scorned bride-to-be of Much Ado. Both women are set up initially as the embodiment of chastity. Both are pressured by men that they have just met in regards to that chastity, men who later drop their romantic language for the language of transaction and rape. The two Heros of Marlowe’s and Shakespeare’s work both serve as symbols to represent the situation of women in regards to their own chastity and the authority that men hold over it. Marlowe’s Hero is a chaste priestess of Aphrodite (an irony considering…show more content…
She worships in the temple where she is seen by the youthful Leander, who immediately decides that he must have her. Shakespeare’s Hero is also chaste, the only daughter of a governor and the heiress to his fortune. Claudio encounters her at her father’s house, where he is staying as a guest, and immediately decides that he must have her. Both narratives challenge the concept of love at first sight. It becomes apparent that romantic love cannot be sustained from a single glance. Both Leander and Claudio, once they have decided that they must be in love with their Hero, immediately act. Leander approaches his Hero immediately, using the language of romance to convince her to be his and, ultimately, to sleep with him. He seduces her with fine language until she finally agrees to light a lantern for him so that he may swim to her home in the middle of the night to meet her. Claudio approaches his Hero much more indirectly, but employs the use of romantic language all the same. In describing her to Benedick, he claims “In mine eyes she is the sweetest

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