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Explore the ways in which Shakespeare combines comic and tragic elements in Much Ado about Nothing.

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Explore the ways in which Shakespeare combines comic and tragic elements in "Much Ado about Nothing". Introduction In this essay I will explore the ways Shakespeare has combined comic and tragic elements into his play "Much Ado about Nothing". I will analyse different important parts of the play to show the comedy and the tragedy. Comedy in Much Ado about Nothing doesn't mean funny like it is nowadays, but love themes, romance and marriage and other happy times were thought of as comedy in Shakespearean times. Tragedy involved death, disgrace and evil (e.g. Hero's "shaming" and "death" and Don John's plot). But, the modern day idea of comedy is also present because some parts of the play are actually funny. For example, in Act 2 Scene III when Benedick is alone talking to himself in the orchard, he makes his speech about how he will never marry in his life and die a bachelor. But after his tricking, he than makes another little speech about how he would think of his life only beginning when he married. This makes the audience laugh as he is taking back everything he just said. The beginning of the play is set up to show how the play will be comic. It is light-hearted, sarcastic and happy. Beatrice's "war of wits" with Benedick is not really set up to be menacing. ...read more.


(Lines 19-21 Act II Scene III) But after his tricking, he then does another little speech that totally contradicts himself. He has taken back most of what he said before: Benedick -"...I have railed so long against marriage...When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married...I do spy some marks of love in her." (Lines 193-200 Act II Scene III) This makes the audience laugh that he can be so gullible and selfish to change everything he said to suit what he thought were facts. But in fact it was all lies, a plan to get Beatrice and Benedick together. Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio see Benedick hid his self from view: Don Pedro - "See you where Benedick hath hid himself?" (Line 32 Act II Scene III) As they know that Benedick is listening in, they play a little game with him: Don Pedro - "Come hither, Leonato, what was it you told me of today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick?" Leonato - "By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it, but that she loves him with an enraged affection, it is past the infinite of though." (By this, Leonato is saying, "it is unbelievable, but true") ... Don Pedro - "May be she doth but counterfeit." ...read more.


But this does not dampen anyone's spirits. Benedick orders people not to think of him. But it is already a bit late to no think of him. And Claudio I don't think can be forgiven, and I don't think Hero should have forgiven him either. He is too gullible so there's no knowing if another plot could push him over the edge again and believe that someone else has done something they haven't. The play actually ends with a dance so it is a happy, comical ending rather than a tragic ending. The ending was not satisfying as it seemed to just come to a quick ending. If the ending had explained a bit more about certain things in the play, it wouldn't be as confusing. Conclusion The play can be categorised as comical because the constant themes of love, marriage and happiness are very strong and sometimes overpowering. But, also, the tragic themes can overpower the comical themes. Don John's plot is going on at the same time as the Beatrice and Benedick saga. The audience gets more involved and can get frustrated by the constant change of events and the constant change from comedy to tragedy throughout the play. If the play just had one theme and one genre then the audience would get very easily bored and could switch off. But being continually entertained and involved keeps the audience interested and awake. Shakespeare's methods of keeping the audience's attention do seem to work well, and the drama in the play is typical for a Shakespeare play. Lauren Pettit 11MD ...read more.

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