o before he transgress’d. She would have
o About Nothing EssaysFinding Hercules in Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers of all time, uses Hercules as a persona of excellence throughout his play, “Much Ado About Nothing”.
Hercules, in Greek mythology, is a hero known for his strength, courage and legendary adventures. This gives the impression that Shakespeare liked the tales of Hercules. In order for us to understand what he meant by using Hercules’ name and amount of background would need to be known. The first time Shakespeare uses Hercules name is with his character Benedick. This takes place in Act two, Scene One: Benedick: “..
.I would not marry her though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgress’d. She would have made Hercules have turn’d spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too.” Shakespeare uses this to connect with the one of the tales of Hercules. When a centaur (part man and horse) by the name of Nessus captured Deianeira, Hercules shot the centaur with a poisoned arrow. With the centaur’s dying breath he gave Deianeira a vial of his poisoned blood telling her she could use it to rekindle Hercules’ love for her if it ever faded.
Hercules fell in love and married Deianeira (Hercules second wife). One day when she felt that his love was fading, she made him a robe that was dipped in the blood of the centaur. When Hercules received the gift from his wife he was overjoyed and put it on, almost immediately his skin started to burn and he caught on fire. The club that is mentioned is Hercules’ weapon. Benedick says Beatrice would harm him, even if he used a weapon, he wouldn’t be able to stop her, even though she may not mean any harm. Shortly after Benedick spoke of Hercules, Don Pedro mentions his name but for good use instead of the unhappy end of Hercules. Don Pedro: “.
..I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules’ labours, which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection th’ one with th’ other. I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.” Shakespeare has his character Don Pedro use Hercules name from another story.
Hercules was punished for the murder of his family. His sentence was to perform twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible. Fortunately, Hercules had the help of Hermes and Athena. So from this Don Pedro will overcome this difficult task of bringing Beatrice and Benedick together as a couple but it will take the help of his friends to do so. Another time Hercules name is used is by Borachio, one of the villains in this play. Shakespeare has Borachio use Hercules name for a different purpose.
Borachio uses his name for his nakedness that is displayed on artifacts in Act Three, Scene Three: Borachio: “…
sometime like the shaven Hercules in the smirch’d worm-eaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?” Borachio’s character makes it clear that he is similar to Hercules, which he has big balls to do something gutsy. He can use his sexual parts as a weapon. The character that would not likely use Hercules name is Beatrice, yet Shakespeare even has her using his name. She would use it cynically of course in Act four, Scene One: Beatrice: “But manhood is melted into cursies, valour into compliment, and men are only turn’d into tongue, and trim ones too. He is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie, and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing; therefore I will die a woman with grieving.” So with this said, Beatrice is stating that she cannot do anything about Claudio lying about her cousin because everyone looks at him as a war hero and she is yet but a women.
Out of all the many stories told about mythology, Shakespeare liked the tales of Hercules the best. Shakespeare used his name to fit not just one character but several. He incorporated the tales of Hercules to exemplify his point and feelings of the characters. In order for someone to understand what Shakespeare meant by using well known names in his plays, they would have to know the stories behind them.