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Much Ado About Nothing - Little Humor

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Introduction

Much Ado About Nothing: Little Humor The happy resolution of Claudio and Hero's stormy courtship in Much Ado About Nothing is the primary reason for classifying the play as a comedy, but the scenes involving the young lovers contain little humor. Claudio and Hero are essentially static and stereotypical characters, creating no comedic moments on their own. Nevertheless, they are comedic simply because they are not tragic - their struggle to overcome the obstacles preventing their happiness is successful. Despite the destructive lies concocted by Don John and his follower, Borachio, Claudio and Hero's relationship triumphs and they can be married at the end of the play. Reconciliation and unity are the elements of their comedy; functional but not humorous. ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice: A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor (1.1.123-136) While this quick, clever banter delights the audience, it also acts as a diversion, detracting from the escalation of hostility amongst the other characters. Like Beatrice and Benedick, Dogberry and his assistant, Verges, contribute to the verbal comedic elements in the play; however, their low-comedy is far removed from the cerebral comedy of the warring lovers. Dogberry's misunderstanding and subsequent destruction of the English language is a source of hilarity throughout the play: Sexton: Which be the malefactors? Dogberry: Marry, that am I and my partner. Verges: Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dogberry's incongruous vocabulary becomes the primary comic relief in the play and provides an important contrast to the troubles encountered by Claudio and Hero. Just as Beatrice and Benedick's banter detaches us emotionally, Dogberry stops our lamenting over Claudio and Hero's grave situation by preoccupying us; we are busy with the mental exercise of searching for his absurd mistakes. If the farcical comedy of Dogberry and his men were not present, nothing would exist to combat the evil Don John and his cohorts perpetrate, nothing to reaffirm the fact that everything will work out. The uniting of Claudio and Hero joyously concludes the play, satisfying the requirements of a comedy. However, it is the wit of Beatrice and Benedick, and the buffoonery of Dogberry and Verges that captivates us, prevents our worry, and makes us laugh. ...read more.

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