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

Deception Is One of the Main Themes of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

Extracts from this document...


Deception is one of the main themes of 'Much Ado about Nothing'. Discuss. The plot in 'Much Ado about Nothing' is based upon a series of deceptions and lies. There are good deceptions and bad deceptions throughout the play, but in the end, good wins over evil. In Act I, Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon, returns to Messina, Italy from a war with his bastard brother Don John. Count Claudio of Florence and Signor Benedick of Padua accompany Don Pedro. Don John is accompanied by his followers, Borachio and Conrade. Signor Leonato is governor of Messina, and with him is his brother, Signor Antonio. Leonato's heir is Hero, his only daughter, and his niece is Beatrice, an orphan. In Act I scene i, we see the 'skirmish of wit' between Beatrice and Benedick. Throughout the play, there are not many mentions of why Beatrice and Benedick continue their 'merry war', although in Act II scene i, Beatrice speaks of how she gave 'a double heart for his single one'. This suggests that they have had a previous encounter where Benedick broke her heart. The first of the deceptions take place in Act II scene i, the masqued ball. ...read more.


Hero and Ursula then proceed to deceive Beatrice into thinking that Benedick loves her. When Hero and Ursula have gone, Beatrice says: "And Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, taming my wild heart to thy loving hand." This proves that Beatrice believes the deception, and now loves Benedick herself. In Act III scene ii, Don John begins the worst deception in the play. He invites Don Pedro and Claudio to see Hero's disloyalty, and they do. However, in Act III scene iii, the watch overhear the drunken Borachio confessing, to Conrade, his part in Don John's deception. He tells us of how he pretended that Margaret (Hero's maid) was Hero while he 'wooed' her in Hero's bedchamber. He also speaks of how Don John showed Don Pedro and Claudio this, and of how he was paid a thousand ducats for doing so. The watch then arrests the two villains. In Act III scene v, Dogberry, constable of the watch, tries to inform an impatient Leonato of the arrest of Borachio and Conrade. However, Dogberry, as always, mixes his words, and never gets to the point. Leonato impatiently leaves. If Leonato had been more patient, and Dogberry had spoken more clearly, then the play would've had a happier ending, but would have been two acts shorter. ...read more.


Don Pedro and Claudio arrive, and Antonio brings in the four masked women. Hero is brought forward, as Beatrice, and Claudio agrees to marry her, whom he thinks is Beatrice. When the deception is revealed, Claudio graciously accepts Hero. Then Beatrice and Benedick publicly admit their love for each other, and marry. It is then the end of the play, despite Don Pedro remaining alone. Punishment of Borachio and Don John are left until after the festivities, so that the happy mood of the play is not disrupted. The deceptions in the play, especially Don John's, have enormous repercussions on the rest of the plot. If there were no deceptions in 'Much Ado about Nothing', then the play would be very short. As the play's name suggests, noting, or spying, also has an important effect on the play, and without it, some of the deceptions could not take place. In the end, the play had a happy ending, but it could easily have been a tragedy, if Don John's evil plot had been successful. Even though good won over evil, the bad deceptions still did a lot of damage, Benedick and Claudio's friendship may never be the same again. During the play, the audience knows about all the deceptions because the aim of the play is to entertain an audience, which it succeeds in doing. ...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

    Much Ado is a play of wit, deception and slander. Although the play consists ...

    5 star(s)

    However Beatrice's energy and wit challenges all masculine values. She is a mature woman who is deeply defends her disrespect of the masculine solidarity which can so easily destroy a woman's reputation. She explicitly means it when she says "Kill Claudio." So why has Shakespeare introduced this type of attitude in Beatrice?

  2. “A play much concerned with appearance”. Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in ...

    It is ironic that in everything other than her relationship with Benedick, she deals in realities rather than appearances. Due to this emphasis on physical appearance, all four characters describe and note all the things that were important in those times in acceptable society and what a man/woman should look for in a partner.

  1. Shakespeare's presentation of deception in Much Ado About Nothing.

    For example the constructive and balanced language form present in the oxymoronic phrase, 'Thou pure impiety and impious purity'(IV,I,145) is used to convey Claudio's passionate reaction to Hero's defiance in Act IV. Another form of deception, being self-deception is another important theme that runs through the play.

  2. Explore the themes of deception in "Much Ado About Nothing". How are these themes ...

    masked ball, each possibly aware of the other's presence, and yet pretending not to know the person hiding behind the mask. This can be seen as a very minor piece of deception that Shakespeare uses in an attempt to create humour and light relief.

  1. Much Ado about Nothing. There are many different themes of this play such as ...

    These themes come out through the characters actions, and their words. Shakespeare uses metaphors such as, "the smallest twine my lead Me." and oxymorons such as, "...die to live..." Also Shakespeare uses blank verse in bits of his play like when Friar Francis was speaking his views and saying he was right about Hero's innocence.

  2. From your reading of "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Much Ado About Nothing" ...

    Soon, Don John learns of Claudio's engagement to Hero. Still hoping to foil their marriage, he and his servant Borachio plan to brand Hero as a prostitute and thus compromise the marriage. In the orchard, Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio discuss Beatrice's "love" for Benedick.

  1. The whole of Much Ado About Nothing depends on illusions and deceptions: they are ...

    He says she seems to blush like a maid, but she blushes out of guilt. He then uses a simile saying "You seem to me as Dian in her orb", then goes on to say she is really a vicious animal.

  2. In 'Much Ado About Nothing' deception

    This all seems simple enough but there is malevolent deception planned by Don John when he learns of this from Borachio in Act 1, Scene 3. He plans to trick Claudio into believing that Don Pedro wants Hero for himself.

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