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Much Ado - How do the speech patterns of various characters add to our understanding of them?

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Introduction

In the play Much Ado About Nothing, speech and conversation are an integral part of the play. The way the characters converse with each other tells us a lot about the characters and also their relationships with each other. Sometimes their conversations with each other intend to amuse, sometimes intend to impress, and sometimes intend to conceal their true feelings. One prime example of a character that uses different language around different people is Hero. Hero is a character who adjusts her speech and conversation depending on which other characters she is in he company of. Being a conventional upper class woman, she uses courtly language when around men. Infact, when around men, Hero rarely speaks unless spoken too. However, when she is among the women her character really comes out. In Act 3 Scene 1, Hero and Margaret trick Beatrice into thinking that Benedick loves her. In this scene Hero has more lines on one page than she does in the entire previous acts. ...read more.

Middle

This banter shows the audience the relationship they both have. It is a way that they can conceal their true feelings for each other. Although it may appear that they despise each other, the audience can clearly see that there is a spark of something there and this is shown later in the play when they are both tricked into falling in love with each other. They both show off their intelligence by using lots of word play. Beatrice says 'civil as an orange' which is a play on word of Seville orange. Their language is like a battle, and although light hearted, sometimes people can be hurt. The intention of their language is to amuse and is used cleverly. The manipulate language and amuse characters in the play as well as the audience. Beatrice herself is outspoken. The way she speaks to most of the men is very contrasted with the way Hero speaks when she is in company of men. This really reveals a lot about Beatrice's character and how she is not conventional of women of the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shot of comedy often follows a deep scene to bring the audiences spirits up. Don John also has a specific way of speaking that really reveals a lot about his character. Don John speaks very little during the play, infact, Borachio, who should be considered a small part than Don John, has more speech. When Don John does speak his language is very dark. He has no real skill for wit and his speech lacks playfulness as other characters do have; yet his words have a purpose. The way he speaks suggests that he has planned it and that his thoughts and feelings are clearly set out in his mind. Perhaps this is intended to show the audience that his character does have depth and he is not merely the token villain in the play. Shakespeare has used speech and conversation to show us deeper into the characters own personalities. We must remember that one large aim of this play is to make the Elizabethan audience think about their own social codes and rules. The emphasis on 'speaking well' is shown by the way different characters speak among different companions. ...read more.

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