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In what ways is the theme of deception explored in Much Ado About Nothing.

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Introduction

In what ways is the theme of deception explored in Much Ado About Nothing. It is clearly visible from the plot in Much Ado about Nothing that deception plays a large role in the social structure of Messina, the city in which the play is set. However, there is a clear distinction between the types of deception used. Malicious deception is used to shatter people's lives whereas benign deception is used to enrich the lives of others. In Act 1, Scene 1 we witness the 'skirmish of wit' between Beatrice and Benedick. Throughout the scene they continue their 'merry war' and a suggested reason for this is that Beatrice once gave 'a double heart for his single one' indicating he may have once broken her heart. This makes their later reunion more realistic. The first of the benign deceptions is in Act 2 scene 1 at the masqued ball. Everyone has their identities hidden by their masks, which is deception in itself. Don Pedro takes this opportunity to woo Hero, Leonato's only daughter and heir, for Claudio by pretending to be him. Don John uses this as an opportunity to begin his malevolent deception. ...read more.

Middle

However he could also have deceived himself purely because he believed his close friends and be genuinely flattered that Beatrice was in love with him. Bendick's gulling scene is written in prose. This is because it is more of a comic scene and is meant to be funny. This is a very comic scene because it is supposed to appeal to a male audience who could relate to Benedick, the situation he is in and the way he is feeling. This is the complete opposite of Beatrice's' scene which is written in poetry. This makes the scene more serious and emotional for Beatrice because after they leave she has a soliloquy in blank verse, which shows that she has taken everything they have said seriously. Later on in the play there is a short conversation between Beatrice and Benedick showing that they are utterly convinced that they are in love with each other. 'I do love nothing in the world so well as you' This deception has worked but in a positive way for all concerned because Beatrice and Benedick are content with the arrangement and their friends are able to watch them being happy. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is ironic that in the play Balthasar sings a song saying 'Men were deceivers ever'. This line describes the structure of the play. It takes the theme of deception and explains it in different ways. It was inevitable that to achieve what each person wanted others had to be deceived but later we discover the different intentions of the deceit. The two brothers, Don Pedro and Don John both deceive people in their own ways, but for different purposes. Obviously, they will both gain from their deceptions. Don Pedro's kingdom will increase as couples get married and have children. However, he does this at the same time as fulfilling other people's lives. Don John has the opposite effect; by ruining other people's lives he enriches his life. However, to get what they want they both have to work against each other. Even when Don John was believed, his plot was revealed and Don Pedro's plans succeeded. The malevolent and benign deception run in parallel with each other so they can be compared as you watch the play. However, it is always the harmless deception which succeeds against the harmful deception. The theme of deception plays a major part in the plot of the play and without it the play would not have a story line. ...read more.

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