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In what ways is Act 4 scene 1 a significant scene in, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’?

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Introduction

Chris Ramsdale Much Ado About Nothing C/W In what ways is Act 4 scene 1 a significant scene in, 'Much Ado About Nothing'? The witty comedy Much Ado About Nothing (1599) is marred, in the opinion of some critics, by an insensitive treatment of its female characters. The play Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy, which was written in the reign of Elizabeth I. In this era comedy had a slightly different meaning, human folly. This meant that in the time it was written the play was about people with a foolish nature. Although the play is a comedy, it also has a serious nature that is reflected in act 4 scene 1. This often leads to lyricism and ambiguity and shear despair. This makes this scene stand out, and also makes it a turning point in the play. Also Shakespeare played with the words on the title, as the word nothing in Tudor times also sounded like noting, which in Much Ado About Nothing is observing. The punning on 'nothing and noting in the title suggests from the start that the play will be concerned with ways in which people perceive one another. ...read more.

Middle

sweetest lady" He also makes other comments on her looks in the opening scene, " Can the world buy such a jewel"? This suggests that Claudio thinks she is precious, valuable, and beautiful, basing his opinion on her looks. But in act 4 scene 1 his views on Hero dramatically change. He now sees her as nothing but a 'whore' as he believes he has witnessed her sleeping with another man and thinks her to as a 'common stale'. He uses sarcasm through out the scene to express be views on Hero. This can be seen when he repeatedly calls her a 'maid' in which means to be a virgin, when to the audience he means she is no more than a prostitute. It is also seen when he compares her to a 'rotten orange', looks perfect on the outside, but on the inside is horrible and repulsive. The contrast of his initial thoughts of Hero, to what he thinks of her in act 4 scene 1 are clearly expressed by Claudio, when he compares her to two Goddesses, " You seem to me as Dian in her orb... But you are more intemperate in your blood, Than Venus..." ...read more.

Conclusion

The Shakesperean audience and the modern audience would probably responed to the scene very differently. The shakesperean audience would probably enjoy the idea that the powerful characters, like Don Pedro, and leonato being made fools of, where as the modern audience would probably enjoy the slapstick comedy, like the tricking scene. Act 4 scene 1 is probably the most important point in the whole play. It is the turning point for love, in the abandoned marriage and the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. Reputation, as the slander momentarily killed Leonato's and Hero's reputation. And the out come. of the foolishness of Claudio and the Prince. And the punishment of Don John who in the time the play was written , theaudience would have expected to be punished for his crimes.In context of the whole play, this was probably the most serious of any other scene. There was however deception in other scenes, such as the tricking of Beatrice and Benedick, and the scene at the masked party when Beatrice ridiculed Benedick. These hints of deception however when portrayed as comedy where as act 4 scene 1 was the complete oppisite, however all the time the audience knew more than some of the characters. ...read more.

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