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A Marxist Study of Much Ado About Nothing. The ideology perpetuated in Much Ado About Nothing revolves around, centrally, ensuring the needs and insecurities of the aristocratic the need for a patriarchal power, the need to reject, stigmatize and dom

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Introduction

A Marxist study of Much Ado About Nothing Using the Marxist approach to one of Shakespeare's comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, this essay deals with the unconscious of the text in order to reveal the ideology of the text (as buried in what is not said) so as to discover the hegemony behind the text. The ideology perpetuated in Much Ado About Nothing revolves around, centrally, ensuring the needs and insecurities of the aristocratic - the need for a patriarchal power, the need to reject, stigmatize and dominate the lower class and women. According to Elliot Krieger in A Marxist Study of Shakespeare's Comedies, there is a "primary world" and a "second world" in each of Shakespeare's comedies. The second world is a location towards which "the characters, hence the action, move" (1). The primary world is the actual location which the characters originally inhabit, while the second world is where the characters escape to. This second world is an alternative to the primary world, a different perspective for the characters to see the objective reality. It represents a state of mind which "shelters or separates them" in the primary world as the protagonists "circumscribe all of objective reality with their subjectivity" (3). ...read more.

Middle

(In the second world of Don John, deception is employed to slander Hero and defame her honour. Its destruction goes as far as providing an unconscious imaginary land for men to relieve their fears about women, suggesting their sadistic desire to attack women so as to affirm their virility. After being publicly shamed, Hero can do nothing but swoon; Beatrice also suffers in great frustration; as she feels the constraints of a woman, she cries: "Is he not approved in the height a villain, that/hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O/that I were a man! ...O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart" (IV. i. 212-214). Masculinity is portrayed as an exclusive power possessed only by the men who could fight back in the face of injustice.) Marriage not only ends the war between Benedick and Beatrice but also maintains the purity of the blood of the upper class. During the time when the play was written, it was unlikely for one, especially a woman of the lower class, to marry one's social status up. The concept of marriage between members of the same class is unconsciously promoted so that the blood of the lower class would not enter and stain that of the upper class. ...read more.

Conclusion

Under arrest, Borachio only makes his confession to Don Pedro as he recounts, "Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:...I have/deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms/could not discover, these shallow fools have brought/to light" (V. i. 171-176). The ideology that aristocratic class holds the key to settling disputes and injustice permeates and they hold the legitimacy to rule the community. Contrary to a traditional reading of the play, the Marxist approach involves a close analysis of the minor character Don Pedro and also the absence of certain events, such as the punishment of Margaret, as well as the displaced rage of Beatrice. The "development of a second world" in Shakespearean comedies "manifests aristocratic privilege". In fact, the "second world functions as an ideological system" and "hide[s] class struggle" (Kriger, 6). The struggle presented in the play is the disturbed power relation between men and women, upper class and lower class. The success of the second world of Don Pedro, who belongs to the aristocratic, replaces the social conditions of the primary world which is previously upset by the dominance of Beatrice and the intrusion of Don John the bastard. The hegemony, which is the second world, is set up by Don Pedro and is privileged to remain as the objective reality in the new primary world of both the aristocratic and the lower class. ...read more.

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