Shakespeare presents friendship as a key part of the play. Male friendship is presented through Don Pedro, Claudio and Benedick, along side the significance of honour and reputation. Throughout the play, it is noted that the bonds between these characters are very malleable and weak and can easily be overpowered by other matters.

  • Shakespeare presents friendship through the men.

In the play, Beatrice casts some doubts over the depths of Benedick's friendships, claiming 'he hath every month a new sworn brother'. This mocking tone suggests Beatrice is insulting Benedick, however the use of the phrase 'sworn brother' suggests that Benedick is often very close with his friends. In contrast, the word 'new' suggests Benedick is very fickle and changes his attitudes towards men easily. 

Both the characters of Don Pedro and Don John have followers and characters whose status is lower than theirs but to whom they are close with. Claudio gains status through Don Pedro having 'bestowed much honour' on him, in an act of friendship. The word 'bestowed' suggests that Don Pedro bequethed and entrusted his friendship into Claudio, meaning that even though they are friends, Don Pedro is in a position which outranks Claudio, suggesting a more professional friendship between the two men. Conrad is described as Don Johns companion and it is in his company that Don John is able to express fully his complaints and desires and in turn, Conrad offers him advice: 'you should hear reason', suggesting a more emotional friendship between them, even though Conrad is the subservient to Don John and refers to him as 'My Lord'. The word 'should' suggests that their friendship is more professional and the hierachy is more clearly enforced between them.

This is contrasted to when Don Pedro agreed to woo by proxy, and support Claudio in marrying Hero. Don Pedro says that he will 'break with her, and thou shalt have her'. This suggests that Don Pedro will…


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