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How effectively is the theme of deception introduced in the first two acts of Much Ado About Nothing?

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Introduction

How effectively is the theme of deception introduced in the first two acts of Much Ado About Nothing? Much Ado About Nothing is a Shakespearean comedy about love, jealousy, trickery, convention, female virtue, male honour, patriarchy and deception. This essay will be discussing how the theme of deception is introduced and how it is portrayed in the first two acts through means of disguises, language, secrets, eavesdropping, and misunderstandings. However while lots of the deception is meant as humorous and with good intentions, some of it turns into malevolent and dark and almost ruins the relationships between characters in the play. The first deception introduced in Much Ado is planned by Don Pedro and concerns Claudio's sudden love for Leonato's daughter, Hero. Claudio tells Don Pedro that when they were going to war he "looked upon her with a soldiers eye, that liked, but had a rougher task in hand" but now that they are back he has noticed "how fair young Hero is". After hearing this, Don Pedro plans a 'love campaign' with Claudio where Don Pedro "will assume thy part in some disguise and tell fair Hero I am Claudio, and in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart". Even though this plan is meant to have a good outcome and a happy ending it implies that Claudio is a coward when it comes to love and Don Pedro does not mind tricking someone to help his friend. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare included a masked ball in this play as it is a perfect opportunity to create confusion as everyone is wearing masks. The audience also see people like Hero be more outspoken because she is wearing a mask and she says things she would not usually say. Also at the masked ball you find out Don Johns plan, he pretends to think Claudio is Benedick "Are not you Signor Benedick?" Claudio is intrigued and so plays along completely oblivious to the fact that Don John does know Claudio is himself. Don John manages to trick Claudio into believing that Don Pedro is only wooing Hero for himself and not for Claudio and so more deceptions are introduced. The next deception the audience learn of is Don John and Borachios plan to ruin the marriage of Claudio and Hero. The plan is for Borachio and Hero's servant, Margaret to be up at Hero's chamber window together and while this is going on Don John will bring Claudio and Don Pedro to Hero's window so they can witness for themselves Hero supposedly being unfaithful. The language used in this scene is dark with lots of disease and death imagery being used such as "sick in displeasure" and "What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?", language like that is used to help the audience associate the two characters as being malicious. ...read more.

Conclusion

They criticise and flatter their subject, report what someone else has supposedly said and invent extravagant stories of the other in love. In both scenes there is also lots of metaphors and fishing imagery such as "Bait the hook well; this fish will bite", there also is trapping imagery for example "Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps" and hunting imagery like "stalk on, stalk on, the fowl sits". The purpose of these are to illustrate how both Benedick and Beatrice are being hunted and trapped in love. In conclusion the theme of deception is introduced very effectively into Much Ado About Nothing and it is very clear throughout which characters are deceiving with good intentions and which characters are just doing it for their own malicious purposes. The men seem to be the most obvious deceivers in the play even though it is them who are the most worried about their women being faithful. On some level every character is deceived even if it is meant to be for their own benefit and it appears to be an everyday occurrence in Messina society. The dramatic irony is that in fact the only people that do not get deceived are the audience, who know throughout what is the truth. This makes it quite humorous and is essential for the plays comedy genre. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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