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Examine the Character of Don John.

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Introduction

Examine the Character of Don John. The play Much Ado About Nothing was written and performed in the Elizabethan period. It was set in Italy in a place called Messina. As expected the play has an happy ending with a marriage, as it is an comedy, except throughout the play you think it may end as an tragedy with lots of talk of death and misery. The mood swings from light comedy to dark tragedy. The play appealed to the Elizabethans because it mirrored life of that time. The play includes love, status and relationships between men and women. Shakespeare play was popular because there wasn't many sources entertainment and he wrote it in a style that provided them with varied emotions. Shakespeare's plays wouldn't entertain us as much today because of the racist comments; prejudice against women, as they were treated as a possession and had no use beyond being a wife or mother. Today we have different views on what's entertainment. We are generally more equal today, where as men (particularly farthers) dominated Elizabethan society. This period was racist and to be an illegitimate child you were seen as evil and malicious. This is why Don John adds excitement; tension; drama and a dark side. ...read more.

Middle

It shows that he has no respect for him. In respect of his aggressive character, the audiences are aware of his cruel character and yet the characters are blind to how evil Don john really is. He shows outward politeness but really feels vicious anger. "I'm trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog, therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage...If I had mouth, I would bite: if I had my liberty, I would do my liking..." is how Don John describes himself. He wants to infect all possible. He wants to satisfy his desire to be evil. That was one of many animalistic imagery references that are used throughout the play. As well as him described as 'dog trusted with a muzzle', not being able to bite, he describes himself as a disease. "...Will be median able to me, I am sick with displeasure to him, and what's over comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine." This is Don John's reaction to Claudio when he discovers that he and Hero are happy. Don John is jealous of Claudio and Don Pedro's relationship. "Who the most exquisite Claudio?" At this stage in the play you cant help but like Don John's villainy character. ...read more.

Conclusion

I discovered that he's cowardly, which is ironic considering he's an apparent brave soldier and so cruel to others. "He is composed and framed of treachery. And fled opon this villainy." Shakespeare uses animalistic imagery throughout the play. He portrays Don John using imagery as a dog, "I am trusted with a muzzle..." and a bird, "I have decreed not to sing in my cage..." All of these metaphors give an image of a vicious character. These images portray John as being imprisoned and suggest that he is a victim. This increases our sympathy for John. Through the use of dramatic irony Shakespeare allows us to feel closer to John because John reveals his true self to the audience and not the other character within the play. While other characters use soliloquies to connect with the audience John uses dramatic irony. An example of this is "...it must not be denied but I am a plain dealing villain." In this quote he cant hide that he's a villain, this makes the audience aware of his darker side, whereas the other characters are oblivious to his evil side. To conclude John is portrayed as a sinful, malicious character and by Shakespeare adding this dark side that Don John adds he gives a contrast of good and evil, with his brother, Pedro. He varies the mood from light to dark; and finally gives the play drama, tension and makes the audience more intense. ...read more.

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