• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“A play much concerned with appearance”. Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ ”

Extracts from this document...


Nina Tite 17.12.01 "A play much concerned with appearance". Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in 'Much Ado About Nothing' " In Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing" there are many forms of appearance and reality and various devices used to portray them. The question of what makes a real man/woman is shown through their physical appearance and the presentation of their character. Shakespeare challenges the reality of friendship in terms of trust, love and honour, as well as the reality of the characters through out the play. The use of fashion as a source of imagery enhances this. The deceptions appear in the play in different ways, self-deception and the deception of others. The play places emphasis on the character's frailties and inadequcies that hide beneath the social persona created by them with the use of honour and dignity. However this does not just apply to characters or people as society, too, tries to hide its own pretensions from itself. The characters in the play are very much concerned with their physical, and therefore outward representation to the general public. Physical attraction is key to all the loving relationships the audience sees in this play, demonstrated by couples, Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and Hero. ...read more.


This is demonstrated again in the last act when the sonnets written by Beatrice and Benedick are taken to be more meaningful then even their words. Both deny their love for one another, indicated by the coy response from Beatrice, "troth no, no more then reason" when Benedick asks if she loves him. Two sonnets are then produced, one "containing [Beatrice's] affection", and the other "fashioned to Beatrice", and eventually, Benedick submits to his feelings and says "here's our own hands against our hearts". Perhaps this is what Beatrice and Benedick wanted to see so that what their minds wanted to believe, their eyes saw accordingly. This cannot be entirely blamed on the individual as this particular society gives a great deal to noting and over-hearing and trusting in surface truths are the causes of many of the confusions and muddles in the play. The irony of this is the fact that whilst society pays so much attention to "noting" the characters fail to note what is happening around them, and this is only pointed out for the first time by the friar in Act 4 Scene and his choice of words, "by noting of the lady" is significant. ...read more.


The most obvious example of this is when masks are used at the ball to let people take on different appearances and identities, and this is the second muddle of the play, Claudio took on the identity of Benedick and thought that Don Pedro wanted Hero for himself. The dance is a major symbol in the play as it is the conventional metaphor for the process of courtship. It also makes provision for another dramatic effect, the masking, a formalisation of this theme, the deception of appearances. Fashion changes constantly, as do the characters. Benedick and Beatrice have a love-hate relationship, constantly changing according to other people. Leonato's opinion of Hero changes when Claudio and Don Pedro tell him of Hero's unfaithfulness which he believes but then in turn shifts from thinking Don Pedro and Claudio respectable young men, to villains who slandered his daughter's name. In Shakespeare's time social persona was an important part of life and in this play he portrays the importance of them through the characters and the use of fashion as a source of imagery. Much Ado About Nothing is set in a real social world where rules are not subverted and as a result sexual and platonic relationships are constantly changing, being real or fictional. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Much Ado About Nothing section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Much Ado About Nothing essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Explore the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing

    3 star(s)

    This instantly grabs the audience's attention as we know that this is definitely not true from our past knowledge of Beatrice which is that she hates men, this gives evidence that what Don Pedro says is false. They use extremely exaggerated language to describe Beatrice's love for Benedick such as "enraged affection".

  2. 'How does the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick develop in ''Much Ado About Nothing

    Throughout the film, their relationship differs but never gets any higher than 'annoying each other'. As Messina prepares for the wedding of Claudio and Hero, Don John, the bastard, arranges to have a woman resembling Hero's image making love to a man in their window.

  1. Gossip in "Much Ado About Nothing".

    intemperate in her blood "than Venus, or those savage animals that rage in savage sensuality. Finally, in lines 84 to 88, it is Don Pedro who informs Leonato that, Claudio, Don John, and he "did see her, hear her, at that hour last night, Talk with a ruffian at her

  2. Compare and contrast the characters of Benedick and Claudio in

    ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none." This is an extract from a conversation with Beatrice, the woman he ends up marrying.

  1. Act 4 Scene 1 is often considered a key scene in 'Much Ado About ...

    Leonato's honour is important to him like it is to the other characters but especially it is important to him because he feels horrified at the thought of what his daughter has done and is aware of what it could do to him.

  2. How Beatrice and Benedick's relationship is presented in Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado about Nothing?'

    like a lapwing runs' Beatrice moves with a bobbing motion, sometimes seen, sometimes concealed, and this remind hero of the motion of the lapwing attempting to distract predators from its nest. This is a hunting metaphor which Shakespeare uses to explain to the audience that this deception all a game,

  1. Compare Shakespeare's Presentation of the Contrasting Relationships between Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and ...

    Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself to you, and dote upon the exchange." It seems Claudio expects instant forgiveness for doubting Hero even though he was able to dismiss her so easily before, reflecting his temperamental attitude towards the relationship.

  2. Trace and comment upon the development of Beatrice and Benedick's relationship in "Much Ado ...

    When she too has departed, Don Pedro comes up with the idea of rekindling their love, He asks his friends to help him trick them and thus he will play "Cupid" and at once entertain his friends. At the start of the garden scene there is a soliloquy from Benedick

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work