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Analysis: Genre

Comedy

The plot has two classic Shakespearean tip offs that this play is probably a comedy: nobody dies, and there are some marriages. Also a good sign that we’re dealing with a comedy: the play is funny. There’s probably a temptation to call the play a romance, because the play is technically centered on love, but really, the love is more funny than romantic. The love between Claudio and Hero is laughable in the sense that the lovers never have a single on-stage conversation until their wedding (which turns out not to be a lovey-dovey affair). Their feelings are stereotypical representations of young love – handed over easily and taken back just as easily. The lack of depth and development in their relationship is clear; they end up being caricatures of what happens when a relationship isn’t internally strong, and is impacted by external stuff. Troublesome fun abounds as a result, forming the action of the whole play.

The love between Beatrice and Benedick is funny in a different way. Beatrice and Benedick are hysterical in their own right, but their relationship also highlights the comedic side of love. Their initial interactions are sparky because of how much they hate each other, and it’s rather funny to watch them suddenly come to terms with loving each other. Benedick and Beatrice’s hatred of each other is so perfect that it’s even more ludicrous that they might love each other.

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