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To What Extent is Much Ado About Nothing seen as a Satire?

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Introduction

Alex Ezrati 12*6 To What Extent is Much Ado About Nothing seen as a Satire? This essay will analyse the way in which Shakespeare makes this comedy bitterly satirical, and a comment on not only the pretentious style and swank of Spaniards, namely Don Pedro and his gang, but human stupidity as a whole. Much Ado About Nothing portrays the issues of sex, war, marriage and chivalric courtly love in an ironic and satirical way. On a topical level, the play satirises Spanish, Sicilian and Italian aristocrats in the 16th Century, and their comical dress sense, style of speech and general outlook and their anachronistic concepts. The appearance of Don Pedro's group of friends from the outset would be funny, as not only do they affect this aristocratic culture and lifestyle, but also they are complete travesties of it. At the very start of the play, we see Beatrice's satirical nature as she addresses the messenger, bringing news of the wars won, and the bravery of certain soldiers. The mood in this opening dialogue would be deadly serious if it wasn't for Beatrice making a mockery of the brave and valorous 'Signor Mountanto'. "How many hath he killed? For I promise to eat all of his killing." She claims here that Benedick doesn't actually have the stomach to kill anybody, and retorts to every sincere statement with a wry satirical comment about Benedick's courage. ...read more.

Middle

"If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it, and I will break with her, and with the father, and thou shalt have her" Don Pedro says this in reply to Claudio. I think that it is the first we see of Don Pedro's disturbing, rather egotistical and panderous nature. He addresses Claudio in verse form, seeming loyal and noble, but the fact that he is insistent on wooing Hero himself in Claudio's name is rather unusual, and makes us wonder what his intentions are deep down. He seems more and more self-obsessed and unstable as we progress in the play, especially in Act 2 Scene 1 where he displays the same strange traits in trying to get Benedick together with Beatrice. "I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules' labours, which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection th'one with th'other." In this dialogue, Don Pedro says the word 'I' more than anything else. His suggestion is very strange and it seems like he is a control freak, and also very lonely. However, instead of questioning his reasons, Leonato and Claudio, blinded by swank just as much, agree to it wholeheartedly. Just as Claudio believes himself to be a courageous and loving young nobleman, Leonato affects to a father figure role, and believes that he is the wisest of them all, whereas in truth, he is no less jaded than any of the other characters, and is easily made a fool of. ...read more.

Conclusion

reader that in reality he puts on his role of stage villain, and is just a lonely man, upset by seeing other couples get together. "If I had my mouth I would bite; if I had my liberty I would do my liking: in the meantime. Let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me." For someone who claims to be a man of little words, John does a good job of pouring out his heart in this outburst. There are many similarities to Don Pedro's style here. He does not speak in blank verse, but again the number of 'I's and the yearning for power show his egotistical and unstable nature, and also his liking for longwinded pretentious speeches. After studying these different characters it becomes apparent that they all have vital similarities - At some point they are all totally ignorant of the truth, all because of the deception of 'honour' and the trickery and plots, whether benign or malicious, of other people. Shakespeare was very fond of satire. Even famous tragedies such as MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet have strong satirical elements to them, and this play is no exception. In fact, it is probably one of his greatest satires, along with maybe Troilus & Cressida. It is impossible to understand Much Ado About Nothing without knowing the mind of the playwright, and his intentions. Nothing is as it seems and 'much ado' is made of nothing whatsoever. ...read more.

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