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Explore the way that Shakespeare uses Deception in the Play 'Much Ado About Nothing'

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Introduction

Explore the way that Shakespeare uses Deception in the Play 'Much Ado About Nothing' In the Play 'Much Ado About Nothing' the role of deceit is an important one that is played to its fullest. The play is based upon deliberate deceptions and numerous schemes that are used to manipulate the thoughts of nearly every character and the characters deceive themselves by putting on a different public facade instead of showing their true feelings and personalities. The play also involves an elaborate arrangement of trickery to achieve a humorous effect that perhaps portrays deceit as something that is not necessarily corrupt, but rather as a means to an end. The first example of deception in Act 1, involves Beatrice and Benedick. Although the main plot focuses on the drama between Claudio and Hero, Beatrice and Benedick are vital characters that provide some of the wittiest dialogue in the play. They are more worldly and both of them protest that they never intend to marry. This makes the audience enjoy even more, their rapid acceptance of each other's affection when they are tricked into falling in love with each other. In the opening scene, Beatrice begins a sequence of insults by asking Benedick why he is talking as no one listens to him. He responds "Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?" and she replies by asking how could such disdain die when Benedick is there to feed it? ...read more.

Middle

This makes Claudio feel 'something of a jealous complexion' and infuriated with Don Pedro. However, as soon as Den Pedro announces 'Here, Claudio, I have wood in thy name and fair Hero is won' Claudio does not even question Don Johns motive or intentions. This gives the audience a better knowledge of the character and helps the audience to understand the way he acts when he is told of Hero's infidelity later in the play. In Act Two, out of pure amusement Don Pedro asks Leonato and Claudio to assist him in bringing Beatrice and Benedick together, 'If we can do this Cupid is no longer an archer and the glory shall be ours'. Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro notice Benedick in the garden an attempt to trick him into falling for Beatrice. The three men do this by loudly discussing Beatrice's unrequited love towards him and in his eavesdropping, he believes them and shows his feelings in his soliloquy. 'This can be no trick . . . I will be horribly in love with her.' Benedick realises that he loves Beatrice also when he says 'Why, it must be requited.' In Act Three, Hero, Margaret and Ursula perform the same trick on Beatrice to make her fall in love with Benedick. They speak highly of Benedick 'praise him more than ever man did merit' and say that 'Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Friar Francis suggests that 'Let her a while be secretly kept in, and publish it that she is dead indeed' to make Claudio feel guilty and realise his mistake. This is an essential part of the play because otherwise Claudio would continue to believe that Hero was 'a rotten orange' and her reputation would be ruined. In Act 5 the final example of deception in the play is yet again conducted against Claudio. After Claudio has been told of Hero's innocence he feels a vast amount of remorse. And asks Leonato to 'Impose me to what penance your invention, Can lay upon my sin.' To which he replies that as 'you could not be my son-in-law, Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter'. Leonato proposes that Claudio marries Antonio's daughter as a way of redeeming himself, although it is Hero that will marry him. At the wedding the women come out wearing masks to hide their identities, believing that he is about to wed Antonio's daughter, Claudio asks 'Sweet, let me see your face'. This is a great scene because it builds up excitement within the audience, as they know that Hero will be the one to marry him instead. When Hero unmasks, Claudio is overjoyed to witness 'another Hero!' In 'Much Ado About Nothing' deception is used tactfully to manipulate the thoughts of nearly every character. It is ironic and a comical essential in the play that nearly every character is too distracted by trying to deceive other characters to realise that they are being deceived themselves. ...read more.

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