Much Ado about Nothing in the movie by Kenneth Branagh
Despite the law that exists to protect women in the society against inequality, men still look down upon women and still nothing is done about the oppression. This is a concept that is evident in the two plays as we can be able to see women in the play ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ being manipulated at will and the ones in the play ‘the trifles’ also being looked down upon by their male counterparts. Much Ado about Nothing is a comedy that was initially written by William Shakespeare and was later on presented in a movie by Kenneth Branagh. It revolves around two pairs of lovers with contrasting characters and values. The two pairs of lovers in the movie are Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice are talkative and always proclaim their contempt for love, matrimony and each other while the other couples, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are almost rendered wordless by the love they have for each other. However, as the play progresses, Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other while Claudio is tricked into refusing Hero at the altar. It is quite ironical that Claudio loved Hero at first sight and used his friend Don Pedro to win her heart. However, later on in the play, Don Pedro convinces Claudio to reject Hero at the altar.
Contrast in Much Ado about Nothing
There are lots of contrasts in the play that involves characters and various circumstances in the play. The biggest contrast in the play is in demeanor whereby we see Claudio as an affectionate character while Benedick is a rational one. Claudio is swept away with the idea of love but later on is tricked to reject Hero while Benedick on the other hand does not value love but is later on tricked to love Beatrice.
Claudio and Hero experiences love at first sight then later they take time to know more about the other partner while in the case of Benedick and Beatrice, both of them have known each other for quite sometime and takes them time to appreciate each other.
The two pairs of couples are tricked into acting contrary to what was expected. Claudio and Hero who loved each other are tricked to hate while Benedick and Beatrice who did not love each other are tricked to love. The nature of love and affection between the two couples differ immensely as one couple show love for each other while the other couple do not show any sign of love. However, later on the situation changes and the couple that showed love for each other are involved in a tussle while the other couple that did not value love are tricked into loving each other.
Don Pedro who is a Prince of Aragon is a kind and good prince who assisted Claudio to win Hero. However, in contrast, he tricks Claudio to reject Hero at the altar as the play progesses. He again tricks Benedick and Beatrice who did not show any slight sign of love for each other even after knowing each other for quite some time to fall in love. He acts in contrary to what could have been expected of him. He is no longer kind and good but is now seen as a cunning person who is able to trick and make couples change their perspective about love.
Benedick is a buddy of Don Pedro and is also very cynical. He swears that he will never marry but later on falls in love with Beatrice and marries her thus breaking his pledge. This is alos one of the contrasts that are depicted in the play as characters act in contrary to what they had swore never to do.
Leonato who is the governor of Messina believed that Hero desecrated him and he is therefore ready to kill him. However, when he believes his innocence he considers killing Claudio instead.
Beatrice who is Leonato’s cousin also swore never to marry but as the story progresses, she is tricked and decides to marry Benedick thus breaking her pledge. This is very ironical as a person who declared publicly never to marry decides to marry another person who had also declared not to marry.
The pay ‘The Trifles,’ revolves around the theme of love gone sour when a wife decides to murder her husband after a domestic disagreement. After the murder of Mr. Wright by Mrs. Wright, the Sherriff and the country Attorney went to visit their home to investigate the murder and the circumstances behind the death of Mr. Wright. Mr. Hale who discovered the dead body is questioned by the two officials (Sherriff and the Country Attorney) and they poke some fun in the process of the questioning. After some time of questioning, women at the scene head to the kitchen as men head upstairs to the scene where the murder was committed. The women discover some clues that could reveal Mrs. Wright’s guilt. As they continue moving around the house, they discover more clues in the house but men simply dismissed them as mere ‘trifles.’ The investigators have some condescending attitudes towards their wives and these makes the women hide the evidence that they had found in the house that could be used to determine the murderer.
Comparing the two plays
The two plays revolve around the theme of love and the contempt that one gender had for the other however in dissimilar circumstances. In the play “Much Ado about Nothing,” men in the two relationships look down upon their companions. Claudio decided to reject Hero even though Hero loved him so much. Benedick on the other hand swore never to marry and showed a lot of contempt for Beatrice and this notion changed only after he had been tricked into loving her. The two plays have lots of contrasts and ironical situations surrounding the occurrence of events in the play. In the play “Much Ado about Nothing” for instance, the relationships between the two pairs of couples is very different. One pair loved each other while the other one did not show any slight sign of love for the other. In the play ‘the trifles,’ women are able to discover more evidence than their male counterparts but the men claim that they are serious investigators who are able to unearth the truth behind the murder. Even after the women have discovered some evidence linking Mrs. Wright to the murder, men simply dismiss them as just mere trifles and ends up concluding the investigations without having any proper evidence linking Mrs. Wright to the murder.
In the play ‘the trifles,’ we realize that men do not value women in any way but are instead disloyal to the sense of self-importance. Men present themselves as harsh serious-minded investigators while in real sense they are just simply onlookers just like their female counterparts. Men in the play have an arrogant attitude that causes women to feel cynical and form ranks. This makes the two women who were involved in the detective work decided to hide evidence so as to show their compassion for Mrs. Wright. They also decided to steal the box with the dead bird so as to depict some loyalty to their gender. This was also a show of an act of disobedience against a coldhearted patriarchal society.
The central issue in this play is the acquiescent role which is held by female characters. The docile nature of women in the play is the one that triggered Mrs. Wright to kill Mr. Wright since they were looked down upon. There is a lot of domestic abuse in the play as we see Mr. Wright with an oppressive behavior that angered his wife to kill him. Misuse of women is also obvious in the play even though there is law that is in place to uphold gender equality. It is ironical that the investigators miss all the evidence that they could have picked from the scene of crime simply because they disregarded women and were not able to take in the pieces of information that they had.
In the two plays, women are looked down upon and men view themselves as superior beings. In the Much Ado about Nothing Claudio’s companion helped him get Hero since the companion was a prince. It was common in those days for a prince to help his buddy get a lady of his choice. However, as the two stay together, Don Pedro who is Claudio’s companion, tells Claudio to reject Hero. This shows that men could play with the women’s emotions at will. In the play the trifle, we also see men as superior characters that look down upon women. They could not take the evidence presented by the women and simply dismissed them as just mere trifles. The two plays address the gender inequality in the society and how men look down upon women yet they are just the same as women. Despite the law that exists to protect women in the society against inequality, men still look down upon women and still nothing is done about the oppression.
Work Cited list
Much Ado about Nothing in the movie by Kenneth Branagh
The play Trifles by Susan Glaspell.