Throughout both “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Midsummer’s Night Dream,” much jealousy is demonstrated. Not only do Claudio, in “Much Ado About Nothing,” and Oberon in “Midsummer’s Night Dream” become jealous of the woman they love, but they actually will succumb to revenge, embarrassment and rage to try to overcome their jealously. Even though by the ending of both of the plays both characters get what they want, they have a constant battle with jealously to get there.
Claudio, a very highly decorated general, arrives home from battle to Messina to greet Leonato, the governor, who is pleased with his accomplishments. In no time at all, Claudio meets Leonato’s daughter Hero, falls madly in love with her, and confesses his love to his dear friend Benedict. In no time, Don Pedro, leader of the army finds out this news and promises to woo Hero for Claudio. Leonato is also informed of Claudio’s love for his daughter and is delighted to know that Don Pedro will woo his daughter for Claudio, and sends Don Pedro to tell Claudio that, when asked, Hero will accept his hand in marriage.
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This is where all the trouble begins. Don John, Don Pedro’s bastard brother, also hears all the news about how his brother will woo Hero for Claudio. Since Don John despises Claudio, he devises a plan to make Claudio think that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. Don John does all of this with the help of Borachio. The two tell Claudio that Don Pedro plans to steal Hero for himself and Claudio becomes crushed and jealous. A good example of how he acts upon rage is when Benedict comes to invite Claudio outside, but Claudio refuses and snaps at Benedict, his good friend.
Benedict approaches Don Pedro and tells him that it was not very nice that he wooed Hero for himself, and finds out that Don Pedro never had any intention of doing so. In fact, Don Pedro leaves to tell Claudio that Hero will accept Claudio’s hand in marriage. Claudio is so happy about this that he jealously diminishes momentarily.
The second wave of jealously approaches quickly as Don John devises another plan to break Claudio and Hero apart. He makes Claudio think that Hero has cheated on him with Borachio. Even though it is really Margaret, Hero’s maid that he sees in the garden window with Borachio, he still thinks that it really is Hero and flies off into another jealous rage and plots himself to get some revenge.
At the wedding, the friar asks if Claudio will take the hero’s hand in marriage but he replies “no,” and then goes off into telling all the attendants at the wedding that he has witnessed Hero with another man, and Don Pedro is there to back him up. This was Claudio’s way of getting revenge for Hero’s supposed infidelity, but when Hero faints and fakes death, Claudio is heartbroken when he finds out the truth that Don John paid Borachio one thousand ducats to pretend that he was with Hero, not Margaret.
Claudio became very embarrassed over the way he acted and felt guilty that he caused Hero’s death. Leonato secretly brings Hero to the wedding masked and Claudio finds out that she is alive and they are to be married. All of Claudio’s guilt and jealousy had subsided as soon as he found out that his love had returned to him.
Much like Claudio’s battle with jealously, Oberon the lord of the fairies finds it hard to gain control over his rage when he becomes jealous over the love of his life, his wife Titania who is the queen of the fairies. When both Oberon and Titania are introduced into the play, followed by their respective fairy followers, we find out through an argument that both Oberon and Titania believe the other to be guilty of infidelity, which results in immediate jealousy by both.
Oberon’s jealousy is also based on the fact that Titania has stolen a young boy from an Indian king and spends all day crowning him with flowers and makes him her joy. This really annoys Oberon because Titania spends all of her time with the boy and not with him, so he demands that she give the young boy to him. Titania refuses to hand the boy over, so Oberon sees in his fit of rage, seeks revenge on his wife partly due to his jealousy and partly due to his embarrassment in front of all the fairies.
Oberon devises a plan where he sends Puck, to fetch some pansies, the juice of which is supposed to make a person fall in love with the first thing he or she sees upon waking up. Oberon’s plan is for her to fall in love with an animal, so it will give him time to steal the boy from Titania, and also so it will also cause her embarrassment. Puck is successful in the capture of the pansies and Oberon puts the juice in Titania’s eyes after a dance in the woods with the fairies and they sing her to sleep.
Meanwhile, Puck, off being an imp, puts a spell on Bottom the weaver for a joke, which turns his head into an asses head. One can almost predict what happened next without even reading the play. Titania is awakened by Bottom and falls instantly in love with his “charming” new looks. It was a mistake on Puck’s part but instead of Oberon becoming mad, he is actually tickled pink when he sees how funny Titania looks chasing after a man with the head of an ass. Oberon, happy to see Titania humiliating herself, begins to overcome his jealousy through this revenge.
At this point, Oberon decides to take advantage of his wife’s uncontrollable handicap and asks her to give him the boy, which she does without even realizing what is going on. Since Oberon gets the boy, he tells puck that it is time to take to spell off of Titania. Titania thinks that everything was just a dream but then sees Bottom on the ground sleeping next to her.
The next day, Oberon, who had completely overcome his jealousy, was on good terms with his wife Titania, who now was paying more attention to him. They proceeded to dance at the wedding that night to Theseus and Hippolyta and all was well that ended well.
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