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How Is The Theme Of Deception Apparent in Much AdoAbout Nothing

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An exploration of the ways Shakespeare presents the theme of deception The theme of deception is ever-present throughout 'Much Ado About Nothing'; the majority of the plot is based upon purposeful deception, some malevolent while others benign. The play itself, although set in Messina, Italy seems to echo the culture of Elizabethan society in which William Shakespeare lived; the importance of honour and pride at that time induced the need for the people to uphold this status through the constant deception of those around them, whether this was with appearances or words. Shakespeare creates a world where deception is used throughout the play and on many occasions it was intended for desirable effects; deception for positive effect is known as benevolent deception. One of the first instances where the gap between appearance and reality is portrayed is in the first dialogue of the play. The messenger has come to give news of the return of the men from a battle and speaks of how Claudio was 'doing in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion'. This illustrates the gap between the appearance of Claudio and the reality of Claudio, of how he exceeds the expectations of his age by his actions on a battlefield, and demonstrates how he deceives those around him of his true capabilities. ...read more.


demonstrates how he realises the truth of the situation because he believes that 'their wisdoms be misled in this' and that the 'practice of it lives' in Don John, the bastard brother of Don Pedro. Nonetheless, despite Benedick's wisdom and astuteness he also falls victim to some benevolent deception himself. A particularly complex example of deception occurs as Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro act as if Beatrice is head over heels in love with Benedick so that the eavesdropping Benedick will overhear it and believe it. Luring Benedick into this trap, Leonato ironically dismisses the idea that perhaps Beatrice hides her desire for Benedick, as he and the others disguise this love themselves. This scene includes links to other themes including the gap between the appearance of a situation and the reality, an example of this is when Benedick states how he would think it to be a 'gull' but does not think so because the 'white-bearded fellow speaks it' indicating how he is deceived by the appearance of Leonato because he believes that 'knavery', which itself has connotations of youth, could not hide itself in such ' Another character in the Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' who is strongly involved with the theme of deception is Don John, the Bastard brother of Don Pedro. ...read more.


She makes innumerable comments on how Signor Benedick of Padua is not how he appears; according to her 'he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat' pointing out how he is ever changing like fashions. Beatrice, as I mentioned before, makes many remarks regarding Benedick's deception including in the first scene of the play when she calls him no less than a 'stuffed man', meaning that he is superficial and that he has nothing within him i.e. no character or verity. A further observation that I made regarding Beatrice's regular implicit accusations of Benedick's infidelity and deception may be interpreted as a sub-conscious confession, on her part, for the feelings for Benedick which she has hidden and with which she has deceived all by. In conclusion, as we can see, deception, facades, foolishness and the like were nothing but the social graces of that Messinian world and this fashion is echoed in the essence of William Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The justification for the innumerable amount of deception includes the upholding of one's honour and status among several other reasons. Through this play Shakespeare portrays how deceit is not inherently evil, but something that can be used as a means to good or bad ends. Word Count: 2,047 ?? ?? ?? ?? Haris Shuaib Coursework Mrs Lee ...read more.

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