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Much Ado About Nothing

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Create a Sense of Conflict in the Opening Scene of 'Much Ado About Nothing'? Although it is a comedic play, Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' depicts a continuous underlying sense of conflict, which is conveyed using a variety of writing techniques and skills to develop character and character relations. The theme of conflict is used in examples of dramatic irony, inter-character relationships, the masks and schemes of true personalities and physical conflict to create a witty yet thought provoking comedy. The play also draws to question whether or not deception can be a good thing. Shakespeare creates a sense of conflict in the opening of the play by the introduction of characters, their relationships with each other and the underlying tensions created by physical conflict. Dramatic tension is immediately created by the arrival of the messenger who delivers news of a war to Leonato at his home in the Florentine town of Messina. There is no detail of the war or its cause, only the success of losing no gentlemen of importance, and this omission instantly interests the audience and creates a sense of underlying suspense which is carried throughout the play. Shakespeare's introduction of physical conflict is a dramatic device used to prepare the audience for forthcoming events. However this tension is lifted by the report that 'none of name' have been lost. This lightens the mood and the language used is enthusiastic at the triumph, reminding the spectators that the play is a comedy. Shakespeare emphasises this point by using exaggerated language to create a humorous perception and to heighten effect when the character Claudio is introduced, his feats of bravery in the victory are described as 'the figure of a lamb doing the feats of a lion,' and that he has 'better bettered' expectations. ...read more.

Middle

This is the standard technique used for writing of love in Elizabethan theatre as the sentences are longer and allow for more description than prose. Shakespeare uses assonance and alliteration within blank verse, 'come thronging soft and delicate desires,' to paint the image of a love sick Claudio. Shakespeare presents the character of Don John to continue the theme of conflict within the play 'Much Ado About Nothing' but with a less comedic and more sinister role. Throughout the play Don John acts as a catalyst to inspire collisions between other characters and he is portrayed as a machiavellian and deviant. Don John is the illegitimate brother of the Prince of Aragon, Don Pedro and so is disinherited from title and power, leaving him lacking self esteem and resentful. Unlike the other gaudy characters of his brothers company who put on false pretences and flattering shows to hide behind, Don John is very honest about his malcontent, machiavellian characteristics which is paradoxical, and an example of Shakespeare's genius. Don John's aim is to gain power through deception and deceit and will attack his enemies subtly but ruthlessly, bringing a dark shadow to the comedy. Don John has very few lines within the play which shows that Shakespeare relies on the reaction of others to create drama. His silence is not shy but devious and he is always 'noting' the movements of others, which reflects the title of the play, and when talking privately with Borachio he declares that he is a 'plain dealing villain,' which actually informs the audience of his sinister character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The matter is however solved, surprisingly by Dogberry, who nobody really takes seriously as he is ill educated. Leonato at first tells him to "be brief" and states "neighbours you are tedious". However soon Dogberry and Verges reveal the truth and ironically become the saviours of Hero and Claudio's relationship. As the plays title suggests, many of the characters take part in observing, listening, or 'noting'. In order for a plot based on deceit to evolve the characters note each other often, for example when Beatrice is duped into believing that Benedick loves her the plotters conceal themselves in the garden so that Beatrice can note their conversation. "Look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs close by the ground to hear our conference," notes Hero. Each line is a placed note for Beatrice to absorb and this is also relevant in the ploy to convince Benedick of Beatrice's adoration. Shakespeare explores the theme of deception on a variety of levels by showing how deception can have both positive and negative affects. For example the success of deception is shown in the duping of Beatrice and Benedick into falling in love with each other, and alternatively the use of deception in Don John leading Claudio into doubting Hero's fidelity and ultimately bring about her downfall. Throughout "Much ado about nothing" there are conflicts presented to the audience which address more serious events, including some that border on tragedy, yet bring about excitement and dramatic tensions in the play to hold the viewers attention, all of which are resolved happily as we see at the end the weddings of the two couples. Pia Charters 11G ...read more.

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